Ron Asheton, The Stooges, Patrick Wolf, Kanye West, Klaxons - More News From Nowhere

Simon Jay Catling 12/01/2009

In the first in a regular series of music news round ups, GIITTV news sub editor Simon Caitling looks at the effect of the credit crunch on the music business, news from the music boards, and the sad death of legendary Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton.

The Music Biz

My friends, I may be typing this with one hand whilst fighting off a couple of burly debt collectors with the other as the credit crunch tightens its harsh, relentless grip around our country's oesophagus, but at least I've the consolation that I'm not going to be alone in being joined living at some squatter's caravan where we're forced to eat tins of pear quarters for meals and play games of 'find the sausage' to keep warm.

The big hums and harrs this past week have concerned Zavvi, now of course in administration, and their announcement that they've closed 22 stores nationwide and cut 178 jobs; Admin company Ernst & Young's spokesman (I wish I had a spokesman who could do all my talking for me, it does become an awful pain having to move my jaw all the time, damned inconvenient really), Tom Jack explained that it was "no longer possible to support continued trading across all of the Zavvi stores". It's no surprise either with an expected announcement later this month that music sales in the United Kingdom will have dropped 10% in the previous twelve months. Considering that last year sales were at their lowest since those black and white days of 1986, things don't look too rosy for the middle market; say what you want about the credit crunch though, it seems to be a booming time for the professional spokesman- here's another one: “Ten years ago, an album just getting in the Top 20 would end up selling 75,000 copies. But today, it's going to sell about 50,000 - and when the market is down like that, it makes finding the big hits more important. It is the middle of the market that is weakening.”

In essence, whilst the top earning artists will remain the top earning artists, the gulf between those and your smaller University touring acts (i.e a lot of artists popular here at GIITV) will get yet again larger, and as the Mystery Jets can no do doubt tell us, bands who thought they were doing rather well for themselves by selling out Academy's just a few months ago should probably start looking over their slim, cardigan covered shoulders.


Ron Asheton (July 17, 1948 - c. January 6, 2009)

The legendary Stooges guitarist was found dead at his house with a suspected heart attack. Having performed on and helped record the band's pioneering brand of punk on The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970), Asheton was cruelly demoted to bassist by the time of third album Raw Power (1973); but after years of acrimony between himself and Iggy Pop, he took up his rightful lead guitar duties upon the Stooges re-formation in 2003. He was 60 years old.

Treading The Boards

It's time to look at what's been rocking the online music community's boat over the past seven days, and where better to start than right in our front living room? The topic at GIITTV towers this week seems linked to the current goings on at Zavvi (here); with board members offering a stiff upper lip in the suggestion that the death of the CD may be near with one user commenting “People said vinyl would die out - yet it hasn't, so I think there's some hope for the CD. Although, of course, there isn't the same indie purist attachment to the CD as there is vinyl..” Over at the relentlessly cynical and bitter Drowned In Sound boards something wondrous has happened with seemingly collective unbridled joy being flourished the way of new application Spotify (here); currently in its beta phase, the free software allows you to create playlists from Spotify's vast library and, uniquely, you can also open them up for other users to add their own songs as well. With major labels reputedly on board it seems the stream site could be on a sharp upward trajectory over the next few months; it's certainly keeping those musical twitchers over at DiS happy at least. Over at Audiojunkies there's outrage at London singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf's revelations that he was beaten up for being gay at Madonna's Autumn Wembley gig (here) with one particularly appalled member announcing that “this sort of fuckery would never happen at a Kylie concert.”

Aside from that, it's just the usual Glastoheads beginning to get excited for the summer already (here) with rumours of potential performers ranging from Kanye West to the Klaxons; see also the rather shit invention of the 'Virtual Campfire'.. What? Glasto gets some cranks going to it? Who'd have thought it eh..