Overheard – March, 2008

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Highly Depressing — Citing decreasing advertising revenue, changes in the music industry and the economy, No Depression magazine, which has covered American roots music and more since 1995, announced this month that their May-June issue will be the last print copy of their magazine. The mag’s website www.nodepression.net will continue. In its time the magazine, run by a skeleton staff of three along with a team of freelancers, has featured such performers as Son Volt, Drive-By Truckers, Whiskeytown, Johnny Cash, Ralph Stanley and Elvis Costello, among many, many others.
Clear Channel settles in fire suit — Clear Channel Broadcasting has agreed to a $22 million settlement with survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire during a Great White show. Hundreds of victims sued after the February, 2003 fire at the West Warwick Club, which occurred when pyrotechnics used by the band ignited flammable soundproofing around the stage, killing nearly 100 people. With this most recent settlement, Clear Channel has paid more than $70 million to victims and families. Clear Channel was sued because one of its radio stations sponsored the show by running on-air advertisements.
Blogs over Myspace — A recent study by New York University’s Stern Business School showed that blog chatter, not myspace hits, helped to sell more albums. The study tracked 108 albums for four weeks before and after their release dates. The results showed that if 40 or more blog posts were made before an album’s release date, sales ended up being three to four times the average for both indie and major releases, while myspace had “a weaker correlation to sales.”
That being said, it was also reported last month that myspace, or more directly News Corp., has plans to begin distributing digital music on-line. Reports stated that music may be free, supported by advertising dollars on the site. A time frame has not been officially announced, but one source said that one of the major labels could be “two weeks” away from inking its deal.
Dead get political — Despite coming of age in the ’60s, the Grateful Dead have remained relatively apolitical throughout their career. However, last month, Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart reunited for a concert to support Barack Obama. Billed as Deadheads for Obama, the show was the group’s first since 2004’s reunion tour.
Grammy Schmammy — The 2008 Grammy Awards show garnered the lowest rating in more than a decade and showed a slip of 17 percent from last year. Overall viewers are estimated at 18.2 million, down from about 20 million in 2007.

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