July 5, 2006

Industry Watchdog: Sonic Youth, UMGI, Gawker Media

Industry Watchdog>> Here’s something we didn't know until we read it over here at Zoilus: Rather Ripped was Sonic Youth's final record on its contract with Geffen, and apparently Universal does not plan to re-up with the act. So who's going to snap up the band? Do they even want or need to be snapped up? They could probably release new recordings on Smells Like... or SYR and cut one of those distro deals with ADA or somebody a la The Clap. Anyway, with the Youth and Radiohead potentially in positions to make really interesting choices about homes for their next projects, music just might be getting exciting again. Our guess for Radiohead? The forthcoming record gets released in a one-off with XL, who is releasing fronter Thom Yorke's don't-call-me-a-solo-set solo set next week.

>> What's incredibly unexciting if not downright ludicrous is Universal Music Group International's announcement today it was moving to three tiers of CD releases, as covered here at Billboard. Basically the lowest tier is the bare bones CD, the middle tier is the sort of CD release we've all come to know and disdain and the third tier is some sort of premium version of the disc. The details aren't all that important because the most obvious problem hasn't been addressed: pricing. The basic tier in USD still has a suggested retail of $12.70. The deluxe, "super jewel box" version of an album carries a chortle-inducing suggested price in dollars of $25. We recognize that music has always been substantially more expensive abroad. But we also recognize that we try not to pay more than $10 for a single CD if at all possible, even if it means buying used off the Internets. Our prediction: this initiative will fail, or at least European CD pricing will eventually fall in line with U.S. pricing.

>> Word on the street, errr, well, here at ClipTip, is that Gawker Media is about to roll out a music blog. Guess they didn't learn anything from the music biz -- it's really hard to compete with free, dogs. Although, for the right price we'll be happy to come on board and ride out the storm. But we bet you won't be online as long as, say, Webnoize.com.

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