December 2003 - January 2004
  Music
MARK WINTERS 

Well, it's that time of year again! I know I say it every year, but where have the last twelve months gone to?

I suppose we all reflect on the year that has gone, questioning what we have done with our lives. I sometimes think that the leaders of the world never change, no matter what country you are from. I do think that all of us should stand up more for our rights against them. I do believe we only get the leaders we deserve.

A bit heavy, I know, for a Music Column, but I suppose traditionally Music has been used for protest, so I do think that gives me the licence to talk about it.

I just hope to God, or any other superior being, to give us peace on earth, no matter what your beliefs are, we should all be able to live in harmony, hopefully, we may see some calm and understanding of each other's differences next year.

Christmas is a time for the family, and I know there is sadness for a lot of families who have lost loved ones, from no matter what, including myself, as my father died a few months ago and my mother 8 years ago, just before Christmas. So I understand the sadness that may be in your heart, it never goes away, but all I can say, is that as time goes by it does get less painful. So, with that said, I do wish you all a very happy Christmas, no matter what religion or culture you are. It is a time for unity and mutual understanding.

Now to the Music

Over the last twelve months there has been a lot casualties in the business, lots of people have lost their jobs, and are about to. There has been talk of some majors amalgamating or taking each other over.

As I said it many times before, it is about time that the Government stepped in and stopped theses mergers and takeovers.

If there are less of the powerful majors in the business there will be even less competition, and more price control, plus more control of what the record company pay an artistes.

They moan about downloading of music, but if they reduced the price of CD's and made certain that the shops stock more, then it would be a lot healthier. Let's face it the reason a CD , album that is, is priced say at £14.99 is because it is paying for the inefficiency and lack of productivity of the major record labels.

I haven't got the space to explain fully where the money goes to, but let's give you a précis: the artiste is say on a 10 point dealt, which is basically 10 per cent, gets their royalty on the dealer price which is the price the dealer pays for the CD, in the case of the above is say £7.99 therefore the artiste will receive a royalty of roughly 80 pence, but it is not as simple as that, because the record company will take the " contractible " costs from this figure so the artiste could end up in the worst case scenario with nothing ! When also you take into consideration the major record companies generally own the biggest distribution companies, and in some cases the record shops as well! You can see why artistes are always taking legal action against the record companies.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for record companies making profit, but not on the basis of inefficiency.

I know some people might say well why doesn't go and do it himself, well I am one of those writers that does. I have just had two hits myself, both beating major record labels who have invested, I am using the term invested here lightly; millions of pounds into their artistes!

One of the tracks has been in the Top 30 in the UK for 4 weeks and was in the Top 15 for 2 weeks, so it can be done!

So let's hope that we can see an emergence of independent labels, which are true independents and not just imprints of the majors. We need it, whether you are into any genre of music.

As you all know I never criticise any type of music whether it be Bubble Gum Pop or Thrash Metal, I only criticise it, if it is bad within it's genre.

Here's something to ponder on:

PHIXX



Now the PHIXX, the who were the runners up for the boy band in Pop Rivals, Concept Records, interestingly enough their first single went into the charts at No 10 on the first week of release, enabling them to get Top of The Pops, which generally helps to increase sales, or at least helps you dropping out of the Top 15! However the PHIXX track dropped out of the Top 20 on it's second week of release, which very rarely happens ! So you are probably asking yourself why has this happened.

Well, you will have to draw your own conclusions, as I cannot say what I think.

But you can see why the industry is falling apart. I mean, what happened to the allegedly next big thing TRIPLE 8??? Even a playlist "setter" from a major group of radio stations, told me they were going to be the next big thing. Mind you I did ask her what planet she was living on.

Universal Music must have spent at least a £1,000,000 on them. And it is you the consumer that is paying for these big mistakes. I think the head of A&R who signed them should be looking for a new job!

Anyway, I have moaned so much I feel like Victor Meldrew. And I have used my allocated amount of space; it is after all, only once a year I can be Mr Misery.

Hopefully, I will see you all in 2004, God Bless you all

Keep the e-mails coming in: markwinters@btopenworld.com and check the links below
For the budding artiste and songwriter

www.songlink.com

www.wightweb.demon.co.uk/bandit

www.kashmirklub.com

Also don't forget the song for little Sarah, who was so brutally murdered www.asongforsarah.co.uk

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