April 16, 2007

Today's Hotness: Wilco, Pole, Amazon, MySpace

Wilco -- Sky Blue Sky>> Alt-rock gigantes Wilco have certainly got album marketing down to a science. Chromewaves here points us to a feature in Billboard that discusses the act's forthcoming record, Sky Blue Sky due May 15, and it lists off various planned sales permutations. The most appealing to us is the audiophile-grade vinyl that comes with a copy of the CD included. Not because we are a real vinyl devotee -- we're not, despite the fact that we continue to accidentally order LPs instead of CDs every now and again (resulting in our receiving a vinyl version of Kompakt's amazing Pop Ambient 2007 10 days ago). No, the reason we really like the vinyl-with-CD package is because these days we don't really do much with CDs anymore after ripping them to our hard drive, so getting the vinyl as a bonus means we can occasionally throw the record on or frame the album art if it jazzes us in real life. In addition to the vinyl/CD release, there will be a deluxe CD release that includes a DVD with a making-of documentary entitled "Shake It Off;" ITunes gets an exclusive outtake to go with its sales of the record; "indie coalitions" -- which we presume means Insound, Other Music and the like -- will sell a version of Sky Blue Sky that comes with a bonus disc with outtakes and live performances. The Billboard article is very good; read the whole thing here. And of course you can already stream Sky Blue Sky at Wilco's web site here, where they are also hosting a download from the record, a zip file containing the song "What Light."

Wilco -- "What Light" -- Sky Blue Sky
[.zip file; right click and save as]

>> Speaking of Pop Ambient 2007, another disc we received in that shipment was Pole's Steingarten, which Stylus reviews here today. After the disappointing foray into soundtracking a bland rapper on Pole's last outing, Steingarten is a refreshing return to Stefan Betke's dreamy electrodub. We reviewed Pole's 2003 self-titled effort and the EPs that preceded it for Junkmedia here, here and here. Anyway, how about an MP3 from the new and thoroughly satisfying Pole jawn?

Pole -- "Sylvenstein" -- Steingarten
[right click and save as]

>> Amazon.com may finally enter the digital music game next month, after at least seven years of speculation. Billboard reports here that the digital storefront may launch a service next month that will likely include DRM-free Classical music licensed from Universal's catalog. Here's hoping Amazon has gotten its digital act together significantly since the TV On The Radio pre-order debacle we ranted about in all of these places (1, 2, 3, 4). The Billboard article has interesting background about a scuttled launch of the Amazon service last year, as well as additional information about license negotiations with other labels that turn on wholesale pricing and bitrates.

>> This Wired article claims MySpace owns 81% of the social networking market. Interesting, considering our perception is that MySpace is sort of on the wane. Facebook, which we've never even looked at because, well, we're old, owns 10% of the market. There's no overt music angle to the story, just thought it was notable that MySpace's grip on the so-called social networking space is more robust than we had assumed. Now everybody switch over to Virb already.


Ric Dube said...

What percent of the "social networking market" consists of slowly loading page backgrounds upstaging nothing to say?

ric dube said...

I can't claim to know much about Pole other than that the minimalism of its nonetheless very enjoyable first album, 1 made me laugh like hell.

It will be hard to decide between the version of Sky Blue Sky with the bonus CD that I will listen to many times but may not find particularly revelatory compared to the version with the bonus DVD which I will likely watch once but enjoy comparatively more.

jbreitling said...

1) The percentage is easily in the 90s. Although I noted with some curiosity that the few entries of Thespians Anonymous appeared in my RSS reader this morning. Weird.

2) Well, you're more of a maximalist anyway, Dr. Armes.

Yeah, I find I never watch the DVDs much after that first time, or second, if I am reviewing it. But you never know, that rainy day could come. Me, I am going to go with the vinyl+CD, just because I think I will play the record more than I'll watch the DVD.