Rock Biz Rock History

Re-issuing your musical past

I noticed that Coolfer has linked to the interesting article Mining the Music Industry’s Vaults – Reissues on CD — from superstars’ vinyl to obscure tracks by obscure artists — have become a cash cow which discusses the veritable treasure trove that re-issues hold for the major labels. One quote that I found interesting was:
“To be frank, marketing costs far less (on catalog material) than the cost of breaking new acts, so it becomes a cash cow for the industry and helps finance much of the new music you see today,” says Bruce Resnikoff, president of Universal Music Enterprises, the division that oversees releases from Universal’s extensive catalogs.”
Somehow I think that this is a load of crap since the major labels aren’t exactly bending over backwards to break in new acts these days or at the very least are not giving them the time to develop. When asked why the old sixties era stuff is so popular, even today Cary E. Mansfield of the label Varese Sarabande points out:
”How many groups coming out today are you ever going to hear from again? It’s sad. The labels are not giving acts time to develop,“ Mansfield says. ”Everybody needs that quick hit, and the artists who might become something get dropped before they get a shot. You need to make one, two, three albums, and then you’ve got a catalog to promote. But too often, you’ve got a hit today and you’re gone tomorrow.“
While I think there are plenty of bands that you will hear about in the future (The White Stripes immediately come to mind) I think his point about the lack of development for acts today is well taken. A good read.