Monday, April 6, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Helpless - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with Joni Mitchell

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 04/04/2009

1. 78 - Harmonica Frank "Rockin' Chair Daddy" / "The Great Medical Menagerist" Sun - $3,606.00 - Start: $700.00 - Bids: 33

2. LP - The Beatles "Yesterday And Today" 1st State Stereo Butcher Cover - $3,000.00 - Start: $3,900.00 - Bids: Best Offer
LP - The Beatess "Yesterday And Today" 2nd State Stereo Butcher Cover - $3,000.00 - Start: $499.99 - Bids: 12

3. 45 - Tommy & The Derby's "Don't Play That Role" / "Handy Andy" Swing - $2,651.00 - Start: $49.99 - Bids: 13

4. LP - The Beatles "Yesterday And Today" 1 State Stereo Butcher Cover - $2,400.00 - Start: $3,000 - Bids: Best Offer

5. 45 - The Rolling stones "Wild Horses" / "Sway" Japanese Pic Sleeve - $1,999.99 - Start: $1,999.99 - Bids: 1

More Beatles make the list this week, offering an amazing opportunity to look at the state of The Beatles' Butcher Cover.

But before we get into Beatles and baby dolls, the #1 must be recognized. This week the top spot goes to Harmonica Frank and a Sun Records' 78 RPM, which bids past $3.6k.

The #2 spot is the most interesting on the list this week, a tie at exactly $3k of two Butcher Covers. Each comes from a different seller. Both are stereo and one is a 1st State, the other a 2nd state cover. The 1st State LP sells from a seller who has sold a half dozen or so Butcher's over the past month. In his ads, this seller has stated that he is selling his many Butcher Covers for health reasons. The 2nd LP in the tie comes with a Perry Cox authentication certificate.

So here occurs an amazing convergence - the eBay market, which many consider the only true measure of a collectible's value, in a negative adjective laden economy (if I've confused you just insert "screwed up" for "negative adjective laden") causes a tie between an Average Joe seller posting his own stuff and a Perry Cox (think Christie's of the Beatles market) authenticated record.

What does the convergence tell us?

Mainly, I've been proved kinda sorta wrong. About a year ago, I posted numerous times that the Butcher Cover was getting far less on the eBay market than the book value (either Goldmine or Osborne's), and I speculated that the Beatles' market was beginning a decline. The book value for these two records are respectively, $5k for the 1st state cover and $2.5k for the 2nd state cover, taking into account the grading given by each seller. The $3k for the 1st state cover is exactly what would be expected for a non-dealer sale. By this I mean an item sold by someone who doesn't sell records for a living, and who would be selling it on eBay, or taking it into a store or convention for that matter. The $3k for the 2nd State cover is $1k more than the book price, which shows just how valuable is a Perry Cox authentication. And more importantly, this convergence demonstrates that collectible records are a damn stable market in this economy.

Record Store Day is coming up this month, and I'll be posting my annual list of top monthly sales for the past year and graphing the last two years of top monthly sales. This will show further that vinyl collecting is in no danger of extinction.

Now, on with the list. In the #3 spot sits an old friend on this list, the Tommy & The Derby's Northern Soul rarity sells for a dollar more than halfway over $2.6k.

From the same seller as the #2 1st state Butcher Cover, the #4 item this week sells on a Best Offer for $2.4k.

And last, a Rolling Stones 45 with pic sleeve from Japan gets its asking price at a penny less than $2k.

As alway, thanks to Norm at Counter Clock Records ( for this great material!

Music News & Notes

Sabbath News

Bill Ward has stated that another reunion of the original lineup of Black Sabbath is not out of the question.

“I have an open mind when it comes to Sabbath. We just haven’t done anything for the last three years. But the door’s wide open as far as Black Sabbath is concerned. Playing, doing anything with the original band, that’s where I would like to be.”


Nothingface To Re-Release Classic Self-Titled Album on Vinyl and Digitally

Washington, D.C. based metalers NOTHINGFACE will release their sought after original debut album recorded in 1995 through indie labels, SICK6 Records and Play The Assassin, later this spring.

Limited to 500 vinyl copies worldwide, the 10 song self-titled Nothingface debut (re-mastered by Drew Mazurek (Hellyeah, Linkin Park, GWAR) will be released on a 140 gram clear vinyl with blood splatter imprints on Tuesday, May 26th. Six of the tracks would show up on the band's DCide Records label debut, "Pacifier," while the other 4 have gone unheard until now.

The album will also be available via iTunes and other digital outlets through SICK6 Records.

The orignal line-up, Matt Holt (vocals), Tom Maxwell (guitars), Bill Gaal (bass), and Chris Houck (drums) are currently writing and recording their first new music with the original lineup since 2000’s TVT release, "Violence," and the last recorded output since 2003’s "Skeletons." The band hopes to have a full length ready for release before the end of the 2009.


McCartney, Starr Wow The Audience

On Saturday, April 4th, Paul McCartney finally uttered the phrase that the 6,000 people in New York’s Radio City Music Hall had been anticipating to hear.

“At this point,” McCartney said, “we’d would like to introduce to you — someone you know, ladies and gentlemen, Billy Shears!”

Then Ringo Starr bounded onstage — to sing “With a Little Help From My Friends” with McCartney and his band and the crowd finally witnessed the closest thing to a Beatles reunion in 2009.


Al Jardine Recording New Album With Famous Friends

Ex-Beach Boy Al Jardine has been very busy in the studio working on his new album, "Post Card From California," which he anticipates to be released this summer.

Jardine recruiteda who's who group of friends to perform on the album, including Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Steve Miller, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Glen Campbell and Stephen Stills. The singer told Billboard:

"They've all been great. Steve Miller flew up, diverted his jet to Monterey to be on it. (Young) wanted to play but the track was done. But he was very generous; we spent all day on it."


CMA Awards

Carrie Underwood won Entertainer of the Year at the 44th Academy of Country Music awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, ending Brad Paisley’s four-year winning streak in the category, Reuters reported. Underwood also took home Top Female Vocalist, while Taylor Swift received Album of the Year for Fearless and a “crystal milestone” trophy for being country’s top-seller in 2008.


BY KEVIN KINDER ~ Northwest Arkansas Times

Where does one get from Aardvark to Zebra? Or from ABBA to ZZ Top? Or from And You Will Know Us By The Trail of The Dead to Zorro and the Blue Footballs?

At a record store, of course.

They are the type of place that serve as a mecca for the criminally obsessed, a place a dedicated collector can, and will, spend hours a day flipping excitedly through rack after rack of square-shaped cardboard sleeves with frayed edges, hoping to find something they don't already own.

While many would argue that all that one needs, musically speaking, can be found in big-box retail stores, there are just as many who believe that obscure CDs and vinyl records are best purchased from local independent stores. That's the idea behind National Record Store Day, which takes place April 18 at stores across the globe. It is a day filled with special, day-of-only items and in-store deals and performances.

And it's promoting what might be a dying breed. In a time of change in the record industry - and the global economic situation in general - records stores find themselves in desperate times. Stores throughout the country are closing their doors, moving online or simply folding, and that's a trend that has been echoed in Northwest Arkansas with two of the more prominent stores in the area - Clunk Records and Spun Records - closing in the past five years.

Which leaves one store, downtown Fayetteville's Sound Warehouse, now celebrating its 25th year, as the only independent music-centric store in the area.

But even such a well-established business, and one participating in Record Store Day, knows the very industry they are supporting is shaking under their feet.

Slumping sales Regardless of the reasons people may cite, such as poor music quality, the growth of digital swapping of music on the Internet or other theories, a fact remains: less music is being purchased year after year.

According to data from Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales, U.S. consumers bought more than 785 million albums in 2000. By 2006, that number had fallen to just more than 588 million albums, a number that included both physical and electronic copies of albums.

The top artists aren't immune from the crunch, either. Nielsen reports the top 10 selling albums of 2000 were purchased a combined total of 60 million times. The 10 top sellers in 2006 sold just 25 million copies.

According to market analyst NPD Group's annual Digital Music Study, the trend continued in 2008, with a 19-percent decrease in CD sales.

As music buyers abandon the CD, many of them are heading toward digital formats, a trend expedited when companies began offering digital rights management-free (DRM) singles, giving the purchaser the ability to transfer the songs from computer to computer or to a portable player, such as an iPod, with ease.

In 2008, according the NPD, the number of Internet users paying for digital music increased more than 8 million to 36 million and the number of downloads rose 29 percent in 2008.

And although it represents a very small part of the overall music sales market, another format - once killed off by CDs - is experiencing a comeback.

According to Time magazine, just fewer than 1 million vinyl albums were sold in 2007, a 15.4 percent increase from the 858,000 that were sold in 2006.

To capitalize on that market, indie and bigname record labels alike are beginning to offer more artists on vinyl, often with offers for free digital downloads of the songs included with the purchase.

At Sound Warehouse, where store manager Randy Thomas sells new vinyl from indie rock artists such as Animal Collective, the Kings of Leon, Beck and hometown favorites such as Lucinda Williams, sales have certainly picked up.

"We can't keep it on the shelves," he said.

Something physical While he works to expand the rack space for new vinyl, Thomas also acknowledges one of his biggest challenges is trying to guess what people want.

Often times, it isn't CDs. Although the narrow building on Block Avenue has a long wall of new CDs for purchase, that isn't where the store makes money, he said. He compares CD sales to convenience stores selling gasoline. They don't make money on gasoline, but rather on the chips, drinks and trinkets inside. Likewise, some of Sound Warehouse's more profitable items aren't the albums sold there but the T-shirts, books, tobacco accessories and other items the store also carries.

As for music, the store carries tunes from a wide range of indie rock, bluegrass, country and local acts.

"You've got to throw a lure, and see what bites," he said.

Which is becoming increasingly tough as musicians diversify and music buyers have other options for obtaining new sounds.

Corbin Otwell, a University of Arkansas journalism major, said he finds himself buying more music online than through other formats, although he also collects CDs and vinyl records.

As someone who often discovers new music from online music blogs, it's often tough to find underground or indie artists in stores, Otwell said.

"That's part of the reason that I turned to the digital medium. ... I wanted a little more instant gratification."

Although he does buy physical albums, especially at live shows or as he visits stores while traveling, Otwell said he is content purchasing music in a digital format only.

Which would never appease some collectors.

Roger Barrett, a member of local rock band The Counterlife and an avid collector of punk and emo records from the '90s, always buys physical copies of music.

"I never [just buy digital music]. I'm a music nerd. I like to look at the music, the artwork," he said.

For him, it goes beyond the thought of just owning the music. In the age of uber-portable digital music players, elevator music and 100-plus-channel surfable satellite radio, he tries to make an effort to listen to songs.

"There is something about the act of sitting down in your room and putting on a record," he said.

He stands behind that in his own music, too. Last year, The Counterlife released a split album with local band Man The Helm available on 7-inch, goldcolored vinyl.

Sounding off But even though Barrett feels there will always be a market for music because of collectors and audiophiles like himself, he's not blind to the changes in the industry.

He worked at Clunk Records in Fayetteville, a store owned by Chris Selby. The music store, which specialized in the independent and obscure, opened in the '90s and was associated for many years with Clunk Music Hall, a music venue on College Avenue in Fayetteville.

The music hall changed ownership in 2002, but the music store remained open in another College Avenue location until late 2006. As an avid collector, musician and former record store clerk, Barrett has certainly seen the fading of sales. He only got the position at Clunk Records after Selby had to take another job to support the store and could no longer staff all the hours, Barrett said.

Barrett said that his music purchasing has also waned in recent years, and he is not optimistic that music sales - his or otherwise - will pick up anytime soon.

Clunk is certainly not the only record store in the area that could not endure the changing market, even within the past few years. Spun Records, which was located on Township Street in Fayetteville, sold its inventory and closed its doors in July 2007.

There are several places in Fayetteville that do sell music, of course, with opportunities at Best Buy, Wal-Mart (who has in recent years worked to secure exclusive deals with topname artists) and Hastings, which also has a collection of new vinyl. As for vinyl, places such as the Flying Dog, Sydney's Emporium, Vintage Stock, the Salvation Army and several other businesses and flea markets in the area do carry used vinyl.

Opportunities As for National Record Store Day, designed to promote indepen-, only has two official participants: Arkansas Record And CD Exchange in North Little Rock and Sound Warehouse in Fayetteville.

The Fayetteville store, which opened in 1983, has gone through several incarnations, which is to be understood in an industry that is so constantly and rapidly changing. It started as a vinyl and cassette store in the Evelyn Hills shopping center on College Avenue.

It has been located in downtown Fayetteville for the past six years, starting not long prior to brothers Randy and Chris Thomas taking over the store.

At that time, vinyl sales were no long in vogue, and the business had become a marketplace for CDs only.

Not long after he began working the store, however, Randy Thomas bought a box of used vinyl from a customer and promptly re-sold much of it, he said.

"It's turned into a really good seller," he said.

So has new vinyl, which barely stays on the shelves. Which is exactly what Sound Warehouse will be offering on Record Store Day. It's special purchase will be a vinyl-only solo offering from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, guitarist for indie prog rockers The Mars Volta.

CDs, on the other hand, aren't going anywhere.

"No one can sell CDs" he said.

Even though that may be the case, Thomas said the store has seen constant, if modest, sales growth. He attributes that to a diverse product base, and also to the local flavor the store has strove to maintain. The store remains the only place where the releases of many local bands can be purchased in a physical format.

Instead of challenges, Thomas sees opportunities in the economy, specifically in regards to the sale of used vinyl.

"I can buy vinyl at a cheap price, and I can sell it at a good price," he said.

Considering the size of the store, Thomas said he's had to be selective about what vinyl he can buy - the shelves are at their capacity.

The business may change in the future, as he and his brother are exploring the possibility of offering online sales, which would expand their market to the rest of the world.

But as for Fayetteville?

"We're not going anywhere," Thomas said.