For those that know me, I live on the East Coast. I just spent the past 3 days out in California. So maybe it is the time difference, maybe it is the jet lag, but do the "journalists" that write for music blogs have any credibility any more? Because I am going to call a lot of them to the carpet. Which is sad, because these are a lot of blogs that I like to read, so this disappoints me. And all it would have taken would have been a quick phone call/e-mail to get an answer.
What I am talking about is the Flaming Lips Heady Fwends 2LP release for Record Store Day. On March 20th, Warner Brothers issued the following press release (bold text highlighted for a reason):
The rest of the press release discussed the tracklisting. Now what is FUNNY, is that this release is the LARGEST RSD RELEASE IN 2012. Meaning, that there will be more copies of this available than ANY OTHER RSD ITEM released. With over 300 items being released on April 21st, that is IMPORTANT. 10,000 copies of this will be made and what is the number 2 release? The Bruce Springsteen 7", with 8,000 copies. Yet you didn't see Columbia make a press release about how limited that 7" was, did you??
So let's look at how the blogs handled this press release and what insightful commentary they either cut and pasted from the release, or added themselves. BECAUSE IT IS VERY OBVIOUS THAT NOT *ONE* "JOURNALIST" EVER ASKED ANYBODY AT WB PR WHAT THE PRESSING AMOUNT WAS!
No big deal, you may think. But it creates a false sense of rarity and exclusivity, by copying and pasting that (not to mention, it is just flat out MISINFORMATION). Plus, if they had done their homework, they would have found out that the set WAS GOING TO BE RELEASED ON Compact Disc (CD) LATER THIS YEAR (without the Chris Martin track!).
Let's see what TOM at STEREOGUM had to say:
"For a while, we’ve been hearing bits and pieces about a forthcoming album of collaborations that the Flaming Lips plan to release on Record Store Day, April 21. Well, they actually did it, cobbling together two LPs’ worth of big-name collabs in time for the big day. The album is an extremely limited Record Store Day exclusive which apparently won’t be repressed, and it’s being pressed on high-quality, multi-color discs, with no two looking exactly alike, so show up really, really early if you want this thing."
COMMENT: Gee Tom, I guess I'll run right over, since I need to get to the store *really, really early*.
Let's see what Rolling Stone wrote, since apparently their entire "staff" contributed to this:
"The set, which will only be issued as a double multi-colored vinyl set, includes previously released tracks that have appeared on the band's recent EPs. The band claims there will only be one pressing of the set, so hardcore Lips fans ought to get to their local shop early unless they're ready to spend big bucks landing a copy on eBay."
COMMENT: Really? I'm going to have to resort to Ebay for an item whose suggested retail price is nearly $40 and 10K copies are available? Amazing.
Let's see what Jenn Pelly at Pitchfork said:
"The recordings document "a series of unique and experimental sessions," according to a press release, and will be released in a very limited edition and never pressed again. The album comes as a 2xLP on multicolored vinyl, each disc with a unique design."
COMMENT: Nice job doing the old cut and paste. I guess at least you didn't over dramatize the release, but does your wrist hurt from hitting the right click button?
How about Hilary Saunders over at PASTE MAGAZINE:
"Though some tracks have already appeared on other limited releases, most of the music on The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends is being pressed for the first time on extremely limited hand-thrown colored vinyl."
COMMENT: Awesome, so vinyl is now being put together like a Domino's Pizza. Good to know. It's obvious that you'll be on Dateline NBC in no time, on "How to Catch a Fact". Again, extremely limited....uh-oh.
But my favorite article, was the one by Maggie Pannacione from ARTISTDIRECT, who turned the limited nature of the release into a whole other animal:
Title of article: "The Flaming Lips Announce Uber Exclusive Record Store Day Release"
Body: "This double album will be very limited and released exclusively for Record Store Day. Once it's gone, it will not be repressed again making this one of the most anticipated RSD release this year."
COMMENT: So now the release has gone from very limited to UBER LIMITED based on a press release from a LABEL.
Other blogs that also failed in this include Exclaim, JamBase, Fuse and many others. Basically you bought into the PR Hype and hyperbole and floated marketing speil as FACT. Not one person reached out to any contact at WB PR (the contact info is at the bottom of the press release) to ask how limited it was or even if the item would ever see a release on CD (yes, towards the end of the year, without the Chris Martin track). I am not a journalist, I am passionate music fan and I just scooped all of you on information that would have taken you less than 5 minutes to obtain. But instead, I guess this counts as journalism these days.
But wait!! There is more!!! Fool me once, shame on me; Fool me twice, shame on you. Let's flash back to the Warner Brothers original Record Store Day press release this year, from MARCH 5th. On that release, it mentions the following two items:
"Eric Clapton: Blues (Deluxe Vinyl Album Box Set) Released to critical acclaim leading up to RSD's Back To Black Friday 2011, this limited edition box set is close to selling out. The set includes all three of Eric Clapton's seminal blues albums, From The Cradle, Riding With The King (with B.B. King) and Me And Mr. Johnson, remastered from original source material for vinyl. First time vinyl versions of these albums afford the listener an absolutely stellar new audio experience. With little more than 1,000 box sets left it's time to get your hands on this audiophile treasure. "
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium (Deluxe 180 Gram vinyl Box Set) On April 14, 2012, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and to commemorate this historic event, this classic Deluxe box set of the band's first number one album will be specially priced for Record Store Day. The Deluxe package was mastered for vinyl by Steve Hoffman and includes two 16-page booklets -- "Jupiter" and "Mars." The Red Hot Chili Peppers won four Grammy(R) Awards for Stadium Arcadium including: Best Rock Album, Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package in addition to Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for their chart-topping, record-breaking single "Dani California."
COMMENT: Not ONE blog, did any fact checking or research about these 2 items. These 2 items are NOT on the official RSD release list and for good reason.
1) The Eric Clapton Blues boxset is still available on his website here: http://www.ericclapton.com/product/blues-box-set-5lp-180-gram-vinylwlitho
It has been available there for several months. But as the Press Release says, only 1000 copies or so remain, so stores better order them fast!
2) The Red Hot Chili Peppers Box Set is the SAME EXACT BOX THAT WAS RELEASED IN 2007. That is 5 YEARS AGO. This is INVENTORY DUMPING. Why? Warner made 2 versions of this box. A standard and deluxe one. The standard one was $40 and the deluxe was $100. Now, since the deluxe has been sitting in a warehouse for a few years, collecting dust, they have generously lowered the price to $40 (which is good), but duped fans into thinking that something "new" was being released. This set is not remastered, nor is it a "re-release". It has the exact same UPC code that it had in 2007.
So ask yourself this MUSIC BLOGS---
a) Does Warner Bros. advertise a lot on my website?
b) Do I get a lot of promo/free adverstising from Warner?
If the answer is NO, then why are you continously buying their BULLSHIT PR? If the answer is YES, then ask yourself if you have any journalistic ethics/integrity.
Because I'd love to see someone hack into the WB PR e-mail account, send out a Press Release saying "Tom Petty prepares to release a Shit Sandwhich on vinyl" and see how many of you would just blindly follow along. Get some balls, do some FACT CHECKING, and do you JOB! Otherwise, go write obituaries for the local paper and get someone who is PASSIONATE about music to write about this stuff
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