Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: Auckland's future: Keep calm,…, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    The really dangerous thing about trying to beat up a financial crisis that doesn’t exist is we’re not having a grown-up and reality-based debate about the hard calls and genuine risks down the road. And they are there.

    It screams out for a serious feature in the paper – graphics, timelines, sensible guest commentaries, choices laid out – but all we got was a wildly inaccurate sky-is-falling story quoting the perennially useless malcontents Quax and Brewer. Bah! Bah!, I say.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles,

    Just to note that you can also buy Ian's book in digital form at a price of your choosing, here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles, in reply to George Darroch,

    Another part of the book I liked was Ian's explanation of how to make a basic listings zine by photocopying and folding an A3 sheet.

    I had an interesting discussion with some music publicists at a media lunch this week (we all paid our own way) and I don't think I'd registered how challenging it can be to get press these days, but the Dom Post, for example, pretty much only has Tom Cardy on staff covering music now.

    Things have become quite fragmented: the people who want to know read Cheese on Toast and Under the Radar -- they're a small but very targeted audience -- and student radio is still there, but it seems harder now to get in the papers,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dotcom: Further news of the unlikely, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    To put it quite bluntly, nobody at The Guardian gets to vote in New Zealand.

    True. And I think saving it up till Election Day -5 is an act of hubris.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dotcom: Further news of the unlikely,

    Dotcom announced today that Glenn Greenwald will be in attendance for the dropping of his September bombshell.

    This makes things rather interesting, not least because it guarantees global attention for whatever the bombshell is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles, in reply to Ian Jorgensen,

    Well said. haha, I wish you’d just written the book instead of me.

    Nah. I wouldn't have thought about it it if I hadn't read the book.

    I've actually mulled over doing a thing called The Public Address Early Nighter -- $10 on the door for a DJ, an interesting new act and whatever. Could be a good opportunity for the parents of the latest amazing teenage bedroom producer to get their friends along :-)

    We've had 300-500 people at our Great Blend events, but half of them leave after the talking part, which always makes me a little sad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’m sure this isn’t actually how the collecting system works, but I’ve always understood that every time the All Blacks score a try Jordan Luck makes a dollar.

    Kinda. I don't know the exact formula, but it's a small fraction of gate takings vs logged plays of music at sports games.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles, in reply to Ian Jorgensen,

    People are just staying home and watching TV – they are in control of the timing, have amazing quality entertainment, can drink cheaper, are nice and warm and can control the environment – why go out? Downloading of TV, not music is killing the music scene.

    My essay on that theory is called “Fuck Game of Thrones” – and haha, I chose not to run it in the book.

    I'd run this as a guest post!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles,

    Kinda done with the Apra topic, which is something of a diversion. So, try this …

    Thirty years ago, there was a big, busy live music scene not only in the urban centres but the regions. There was a national touring circuit and some regions, notably the Waikato, had their own circuits. Some of the bands playing these pub circuits were quite shit (ie: their names ended in “x” or “z”) but there was a lot of live music being played.

    In Auckland, it was not unusual for a touring band to play three nights in a row at the Windsor Castle (or for punters to turn up on successive nights). It helped that the pubs shut at 10pm on weeknights and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. In Christchurch, you could see The Gordons sell out the Gladstone and The Swingers sell out the 700-capacity Hillsborough Tavern across town, on the same night. When I was at school in Christchurch in 1979 and 1980, there were fairly regular all-ages gigs in hired halls, some of them quite large. Wellington always had a venue problem.

    It was possible to not only sell records as an independent label, but – thanks in part to a rather dodgy chart returns system – get records by young bands to number one in the charts. The Clean’s early records, especially Boodle, sold enough to get Flying Nun on its feet, even though distribution was pretty basic. There were local record shops in regional centres, and profitable record chains in the cities, and 30,000 copies of Rip It Up went nationwide every month.

    Although New Zealand music other than pop and cabaret styles was absent from commercial radio, there wasn’t as much cultural competition in general for young local musicians, and there was a good sense of mutual support and community within individual scenes. A lot of great music was made and great gigs played.

    On the other hand, what management skill existed was largely a holdover from the entertainment era. Almost no one understood publishing and there was no specialised legal advice available to young independent artists. Flying Nun developed problems maintaining cashflow, paying artists and getting production done in a timely fashion, and had to progressively sell up equity to larger companies.

    With notable exceptions (Split Enz) the only route out was via the onerous Australian industry, which frequently didn’t suit New Zealand artists. It was basically the interest and support of Rough Trade in the UK and Normal in Germany that established a route to Europe and a market there.

    Commercial recording studios were often a problem. While some of the best and most enduring recordings of the era were low-tech, other bodies of work were squandered by inappropriate, expensive production. (The Gordons memorably commandeered Harlequin Studios for a weekend and recorded an album that showed how the place could sound.)

    There was no video funding, but the NZBC might offer to make a probably terrible one for you. Independent DIY clips shot by the band and their friends were fewer but better. Public funding came mostly in the form of the unemployment benefit.

    These days, I’m aware of a far higher degree of legal and managerial competence. Artists themselves plan better and are generally far more in control of what they do. There are different kinds of revenue available to the more ambitious among them, and they seem to understand what they are. And yet it’s sometimes a mystery to me how they sustain themselves, especially when the ability to earn money playing live is so sharply curtailed. Places like the Portland and Golden Dawn are nice, but it must be hard to even cover costs sometimes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles, in reply to bmk,

    It felt like a deliberate unscrupulous ploy. Imagine another business doing a job and invoicing one person then deliberately invoicing someone else in the hopes that they would both pay. So in my limited experience APRA are indeed gangsters practising extortion,.

    To be fair, the kind of gangsters who when contacted say "Shit, sorry, that was clearly incorrect and we won't do it again."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

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