Thursday, December 20, 2007
Two days ago, Kevin-moneybags Martin chairman of the FCC successfully removed the ban that prohibits a local newspaper from owning a broadcast station in the same market. The FCC commission voted 3 to 2.
Unless we continue to speak out against this sillyness you can say goodbye to any regionality, diversity, and competition in the news.
This decision is essentially the same as the Telecom Act of 96 which was passed by the FCC, Congress, VP Al Gore, and President Bill Clinton to pursue “core public interest concerns of promoting diversity and competition.” What the Telecommunications Act of 1996 did was eliminate the number radio stations a corporate entity could own. The Telecom Act removed barriers for mergers and acquisitions while making it harder for independents to compete in the telecom world. Before the Telecom Act large corporate entities controlled less than 65 stations.
Today Clear Channel owns nearly 1200 stations, 1 in every 10, 99.9% of the top 250 markets. Goodbye originality and hello homogeneity.
As Clear Channel Ceo Lowry Mays says, “If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn’t be someone from our company. We’re not in the business of providing new and information. We’re not in the business of providing well-reasearched music. We’re simply in the business of selling our customers products.”
A Berklee School of Music Study revealed that the biggest stations in th biggest markets were playing the same songs 58% of the time and that the 5 owned by Clear Channel were playing the same songs 73% of the time. Today its no surprise that an entire generation seems to ignore radio all together as lsiternship is at a 27 year low. In 2005 an average of one rock station closed or switched formats per week.
And what Congressman or women could contend with this when $222 million dollars was spent by the broadcast industry to lobby government officials from 1998 through June 2004? Between 1995 and 2003 media corporations and associations paid for 2,500 all expense paid trips by FCC employees.
Folks we've seen what media consolidation has done to music, if you don't want to hear about Britney Spears sister getting pregnant ever again- this needs to be stopped...
Independence and competition in media and business has always nurtured a diverse range of thoughts and ideas.
In other news- Merry Holli-daze. Lots of script writing, filming, and maybe just maybe some edits to be done before 2008 comes.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Howdy all, its been a great week getting featured on the Of Montreal Blog (ofmontreal.net/blog) and thank you for all the comments via email and on the YouTube page (www.youtube.com/ineedthatrecord)! Keep them coming! I read some statistic that 99% of all blog posts receive no comments....
Above is some footage I shot of Trash American Style, a punk record store out of Danbury, Connecticut that recently closed their doors after 20 some odd years of business. They got screwed by the landlord- who gave their lease up to a.... printing shop!?!?!? This footage is a rough representation of their last few days in business.
Out of all the independent record stores I visited going cross country along this mighty land of the U.S. of A- Trash American Style was one of the best and one of the most community oriented stores. They were clearly a vital resource for the Danbury area. People of all ages, tastes, and backgrounds were heartbroken to see this place go. I filmed there for 2 days and spent probably around $100 between my two visits- for a poor student filmmaker that's a hefty chunk o' change!
Today Trash American Style is still alive via the internetz and mobile shows. If you're a vinyl enthusiast and live in the New England area I highly recommend tracking them down...
Happy Holli-daze Trashies,
Friday, November 30, 2007
Our first video post! Woo!
Here's part of our interview with Bryan Poole, aka BP Helium, guitarist extraordinaire from Of Montreal. He talks about record stores, iTunes, MySpace, and the leak of Hissing Fauna...
Thanks to Afton for the editing skillz...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Just when we thought the radio, news, and lack of independent thought couldn’t possibly get any worse in this country- this moron, Michael Powell, Chairman of the FCC wants to lift a 30-year ban on media companies owning a newspaper and TV or radio station in the same market.
This will let Big Media (the whopping 6 companies that own most if it- Disney, Time Warner, News Corp, OE, Viacom, and CBS) control the dissemination of culture and news in the biggest markets- making it harder and harder for the representation of local, diverse, and independent voices to be heard in our media. If this passes say good bye to your favorite radio stations, local TV networks, and newspapers- hell even the nations oldest paper the Hartford Courant (from my home state of boring ole Connecticut) is in jeopardy.
Last time the FCC changed the books drastically was with the 1996 Telecommunications Act. It was a bill that the FCC claimed would pursue, “core public interest concerns of promoting diversity and competition.” This allowed Clear Channel to buy 1200 radio stations - 1 out of every ten in the U.S. Before this bill was passed only 65 stations were owned by large corporate entities.
Ever wonder why radio is flippin’ boring and homogenized these days? It’s because some jerk at the Clear Channel office programs the playlists that are virtually THE SAME all across the country. The Clear Channel CEO, Lowry Mays, has even said:
“If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn’t be someone from our company. We’re not in the business of providing new and information. We’re not in the business of providing well-researched music. We’re simply in the business of selling our customers products.”
In case you haven’t noticed or heard radio is at a 27 year all time low. Only 4% of radio stations are privately owned.
BUT WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?!?!? THIS IS AMERICA- FREE THOUGHT, FREE ENTERPIRSE, RIGHT ?!?!?!
- Big Media has spent $615 million to lobby government officials from 2000-2005- in that same period the oil and gas industries spend $325 million in that same time span.
- From 1995-2003 media corporations and associations paid for 2,500 full expense trips
The decision comes December 18th. Ian Mackaye, John Doe, Toby Keith, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, David Crosby and many other musicians wrote a letter of concern to the FCC.
As Mike Watt told me in our interview a few weeks back “this kind of one thought or one style of music being popular is just so dangerous for any kind of art, life, or creativity in anything.”
Learn more. Get involved!
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
"I Need That Record" is a documentary feature examining why over 3000 independent record stores have closed across the U.S. in the past decade. Are they going to die off? Will they survive?
Since the 1890s the record store was THE place to go for prerecorded music, but today the way we access and consume music has been redefined by technology. Ecommerce, iTunes, the iPod, P2P networks, music blogs, and social networking sites have all had a profound impact on the way we access music and on the state of the independent record store. Downloading and pirating seem to be the easy answers to the chaotic state of the music industry, but higher powers like major labels, big box stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy etc.), and corporate owned FM radio are also shaking things up.
The music industry has always been a unique marriage of art and commerce, but today commerce has proved to be the ultimate influence. Rather than develop great acts, embrace new technology, offer affordable products; the major labels are more concerned with turning the clocks back to preserve old business models- with only one thing in mind- THE BOTTOM LINE.
Keep the full paid expense accounts and 7 figure incomes. Keep suing fans. Keep shoving bland music down people's throats that will sell x amounts. Keep producing homogenized radio programs that play the same 50 songs. Keep supporting big box businesses that could care less about music; businesses that sell music below list price. Keep screwing the consumers and retailers who love and care about good captivating music. Squash new ideas, new innovations, and new possibilities as the future of recorded music, a commodity that supports the artist, vanishes.
While it would appear that the internet is the new force for musical discovery and delivery independent record stores have been, and still are a strong force on the musical experience.
Record stores serve as important community spaces that provide foundations for new musical and artistic scenes and movements, a place where unique under the radar bands have been continuously supported, a place where the underground can thrive, a place where independent thought is encouraged and challenged, a place where people of different ages, races, and taste can mix and mingle face to face.
Unlike the internet, physical stores are a real place, with real people, where community is formed and supported. Not just record stores, but original mom and pop main street stores are all in a fight to stay alive. Independent businesses are hubs for new jobs, new innovations, and creative thought.
Over the past ten years it has become increasingly harder to compete with big chain businesses that have big money and Congress protecting them. The rich and powerful in business and government have thrown a wrench in the wheels of progress. American culture has become more isolated and atomized as a result of homogenous culture and thought. Businesses and establishments that make different parts of America distinct from one another are disappearing. In order to save community, ourselves, and our world what we need are independent creative places where new ideas and thought can be nurtured. Not more of the same...
Through found footage, expository voice over, talking head interviews with artists, musicians, retail owners, and animation "I Need That Record" will tell the story of our connection to independent record stores and the importance of independent thought and culture. What happened to the stores and what will the future bring...
Some interviews include- Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Ian Mackaye of Dischord Records Fugazi/Minor Threat/Teen Idles, Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads, Pat Carney of the Black Keys, Mike Watt of the Minutemen/reunited Stooges, Noam Chomsky, guitar composer Glenn Branca, punk author Legs McNeil, rock photographer Bob Gruen, Bryan Poole guitarist of Of Montreal, Numero Records, Rhino Records, Bloodshot Records, United Record Press (the largest vinyl plant in the U.S.), and many many many indie stores across the U.S. (NYC, Boston, DC, Cleveland, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Minneapolis, Memphis, Nashville, L.A.).