The Null Device


St Kilda Pier Kiosk destroyed by fire. Is Osama to blame?

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Stewart Anderson is shutting down 555 Recordings (or putting the label on indefinite hiatus), citing lack of sales due to the file-sharing culture; and he paints a grim picture of the future of indie labels:

And its clear why this has happened. If I had access to the internet when I was a teen I doubt I would have bought many records either. But consider this kids, very soon there wont be any small labels, so the underground, despite all your calls for bringing down the big guys will disapear along with them.
Of course, I understand its not necessarily 555 things the kids are downloading, but the fact is there are so many tracks being downloaded now means theres no need for traditional shops or distros. So shops order only "indie" records from sure fire sellers like The White Stripes and Belle and Sebastian. Y'know both of those bands where tiny once. Where will the next White Stripes or B+S come from if all the labels like mine give up. The consumer will loose out in the end when the new music stops happening. (You can still listen to the Rolling Stones at least). There will always be NEW MUSIC you say? Well, why bother making a CD if you have a day job and cant tour for 3 months at a time? Why bother making a CD if no distros will take it because its your first release? Why bother when the CD pressing is usually 500 minimum and you end up with 400 under your bed for the rest of your life...

555 Recordings is only the latest label to cease operations. And if Stewart is right, then the musical ecosystem could collapse, with there being no space for new bands and artists to develop, and possibly the "big indie" side of things changing to resemble the major-label world of manufactured bands (what will replace the aging White Stripes when they lose it?). This doomsday scenario, though, is contradicted somewhat by reports of indie labels doing well.

So what does the future look like? Can we expect to see a musical apocalypse? Or will music adapt to the new way of doing things? Will the post-MP3 world be a dark age or a renaissance, or something in between?

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Apparently Parsley Sound finally have an album out in the UK, following on from their excellently chilled Platonic Rate EP (which got them described as "electronic folk"). And it's probably going to get a local release through Remote Control.

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Always wanted one of those heavy, clicky IBM PC keyboards (as opposed to the mushy $5 wonders you can pick up anywhere these days)? These people make new keyboards to that spec. They're expensive, though they'll probably last for ages. They don't make those newfangled USB keyboards though. (I wouldn't mind one myself, to replace my 101-key Honeywell Litetouch, about a dozen of whose key caps have been worn to unreadability.) (via a comment in jwz's gerbil post about that all-X keyboard on Ebay)

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