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Adele and The Vinyl Delay: What’s the Problem?

Ever since Ed Sheeran spoke about him having to push his new album out quicker because of Adele booking every vinyl factory for her release of ’30’ this week, there has been a huge delay in production getting shifted out of the factory gates. But it’s not solely Adele’s fault.

The huge waiting times for vinyl production – and music production in general – is due to the fact that since the pandemic struck our industry, every avid musician and producer out there is making albums between the dates of September 2021 to 2022. With no avenues to tour and no discernible income from new, hot records – the time to push is now. With record labels setting high standards of lead times and deadlines, it’s come at a cost of getting the music to the consumers.

The real problem lies why this is a real issue. We wouldn’t have to necessarily rely on the manufacturing of vinyls if vinyls weren’t the only thing musicians relied on to earn any aspect of money. Therein lies the problem – the monetisation of the music industry.

If it weren’t for the hideous regimes of streaming services providing ill-health to the pockets of the musicians, the only real way of earning any equivocal value is via merchandise and vinyls (and cassettes, for some.)

It seems that the exponential growth of vinyls since the pandemic has caused the huge spikes in new vinyl releases, classic legacy albums and remastered editions to peak in production and value.

Whether or not this will be subside is another question. One thing is for sure though – this will continue long into next year. The resolution is the issues of music streaming, and certainly not those within the vinyl factories. Where are you at with this one? Let me know your thoughts!

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World of Music Licensing: Field Visit to London

Trepidation, fascination and in-depth insight, field visits for work within the realms of music licensing is certainly no easy feat – but they are exciting.

By fully understanding who we’re working with as venue owners, what we’re working with in terms of venue scale, allocation of music events and spaces, it is a marvellous idea to visit venues in-person. Not only for maximum efficiency in terms of client reports but maximum accuracy in terms of music licensing the venue to the best of our knowledge. All because we’ve seen the venue with our own eyes!

Quite simply, it puts a face, a name and an icon to the black and white data-entry accounts. Above all, it makes it personal, natural and far more enjoyable enjoyable in terms of what we do for music licensing – which really, is all about for the working musician.

For my first field trip as a Live Music New Business Advisor, it was extremely insightful. When we travelled past Knebworth and it’s mighty park – which was put on the map from Oasis’s iconic performance in ‘96 – before we headed into Central London, I knew I would be in for a treat. If such a staple in musical history is dotted just outside the capital of London, what cultural significance is tucked away in the centre of the capital?

First, we headed down within the shadow of the Shard via Amazing Grace, a newly refurbished church-now-turned bar nightclub, it had all the qualities of a fantastic and elusive venue for underplays and musical vibes perfect for a relaxing Friday evening. After that swell visit and a talk with the owners about everything to do with the music licence, we swiftly headed west to Hammersmith. An often quaint but equally illustrious as the glorious amphitheatre of Apollo greets you in the vast stretch of culture, as you step out of the underground station. At Hammersmith, we had the privilege of attending a tour at one Riverside Studios, a circular space for multi-art performances, theatre shows, cinema screenings and a magnitude of musical events. First popularised for its feature filming of Doctor Who during the first couple of series (and the use of stage doors as the noise for EXTERMINATE) it is now a Jack-of-all-trades swivelling circus of party tricks. If you’re around London between Christmas and New Year, I recommend diving in to check out the 360 AllStars variety show they have coming in.

Grabbing a mocha to go, we headed back to the realms of underground during dreaded rush hour. Fortunately, with working from home a viable option for many commuters, it didn’t necessarily seem that bad for a Friday.

Now here I am, lodging notes in my phone as the train heads back to familiar territory. My familiar territory.

It would be an advantageous decision to do more field visits in the future. Covering the scope of the UK, live music new business is ripe for the taking. Especially after the horrors of a pandemic, the opportunity for growth in live music and the entertainment sector is colossal. With ample drip-feedings being delivered from the Government, establishing the premise of music licensing via a friendly face is all-the-more-important for maximum efficiency and accuracy in today’s current industry.

More to come I hope. As always, thanks London.

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Angels & Airwaves: “Lifeforms” Album Review

Europhic with such a love of driven electronica and synth to push it across the line, Angels & Airwaves “Lifeforms” – the first album from A&A where Delonge is no longer a formal member of Blink-182 – is a highly driven, highly powerful pop-punk album of vindication.

Similar to that of the Da-Vinci inspired artwork, Lifeforms is a direct impasse to the theory of The Virtuvian Man where –

“everything connects to everything else.”

Drawing on DeLonge’s past project-influences with Automatic something out of Barker’s side project of Box Car Racer, Restless Souls feeding on a roaring number charting hope and escapism, Time Bomb straight out of the debut-on of We Don’t Need To Whisper and power-house standout Europhia sneaking out of the B-sides of Blink-182’s 2011 album of Neighbourhoods.

Unlike anything released before, this album comes with a gratifying purpose and a cocksure approach to writing larger-than-life songs that weigh up well against one another. Despite a lazier tact by sticking two pre-singles from 2019 on the backend of the album with Rebel Girl and Kiss & Tell, it’s something that can be let off as the album is impressive as it is power-hungry with very little flaws of execution.

Despite upset among Blink’s fans since DeLonge’s departure in 2015, it was certainly a educated ploy – especially if we were to receive Lifeforms off the back of it …

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Sunday Coffee Music: The Cinematic Orchestra

Happy Sunday folks. Ethereal, cathartic and simply beautiful, The Cinematic Orchestra is the perfect soundtrack to your lush hot chocolates, snug blankets and warm fireplaces as we venture into the season of Autumn.

Enjoy their eclectic collection below. The classic 2007 album of Ma Fleur is the perfect place to start.

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Our Record Store: Rough Trade

I had the privilege of visiting one of the many great independent purveyors of great music today – Rough Trade.

Located across four stretches of UK life in Bristol, London, Nottingham – and even a managing to branch itself across the pond in NYC – Rough Trade has been an integral staple in the discovery of modern music mania here on our doorstep in the UK and in the US.

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A somewhat fanciful term for such a warehouse-etiquette but, their ‘headquarters’ are situated in the west of London. They first opened in 1976, right on the doorstep of punk. Now, in their 45th year of trading, they have become a global constituency in the world of music and its industry. Still to this day – as they did in the 70s strife with the punk mania that came before it – they’re celebrating the most exciting new music.

Situated in the most stylistic and cultural pockets of stark cities, their chosen locations were by no means accidental. Diving off main roads into kernels of art graffiti, tapestry and masterful architecture to independent bistro bars, awash with international food stalls and eventually into the crowds who are ready to spring into the new groove of life. Often situated in the most vibrant, culturally contrasting communities in the UK – as well as in the US – they are flagships to the strength of the accompanying cities’ music scenes.

From Portobello Road, Old Truman Brewery to Rockefeller Center itself, it really paints a story.

“As far as we’re concerned, our stores are where the magic happens. 

Sure, we sell great music, but the bigger picture is bringing together artists and audiences within a celebratory, inspiring environment, one that welcomes all ages and taste under one roof.”

Oldest and most iconic, Rough Trade East (of London)

It’s important to note that they are not merely just record stores, oh no no no. They have also become some of the most celebrated music venues, playing host to some iconic acts in past years that put on simply fantastic, immersive and illusory performances surrounded by an arching wave of artist vinyls and band merchandise.

For me today, I was able to notch off another on the list of all four venues as I visited Nottingham’s store in the area of Hockley. With only one UK venue to go in Bristol, (as well as the obvious one in NYC) I’m holding out hope that I can provide myself an opportunity to visit this one too.

With these being such iconic stores within our music retail, purchasing and general perusers of music, I just had to buy something.

With its fitting home of a tote bag to take home in, I managed to pick up The Cinematic Orchestra’s beautiful story of Ma Fleur, pressed on a clear vinyl with a rarity of exclusive art work present – it was certainly one of the more fitting vinyls to purchase.

Fantastic day.