Newsletter November 2006 (2)

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Sprawl Lene Lovich: Shadows and Dust  
The Contessa's Party Mad Sprawl  
Raven Cry  
  Carnival to the

Settle down, everyone.
There's a lot going on here.

Our big fresh news is a major CD price cut.  All are now $8 only, with shipping per order (any number of CDs) just $1.50 (USA and Canada) and $5 (elsewhere).  Even the shortest-playing are a bargain, the longest a complete steal.  Here’s our reasoning.

CD store prices have stayed about the same since they arrived in the eighties, surviving arguments that to sell they should be cheaper. But sales by the major companies, who have always fixed the price point for the rest of us great unwashed, have gone steadily down. As if CD titles were competing among themselves? They may be, but the real competition for shopping favor is with downloads. So our shopping page is all bargain compared with other CDs, and lighter on the pocket than any downloads.

We like our CDs and want you to get them. For this $8, you get much better sound, ease of copying/ripping (spread the sounds by E mail to friends, please), and lavish packaging (check out the scattererd results of a four-CD play session).

It’s a death-or-glory move by us.  But, looking roughly at the economics, we would rather sell three times as many CDs for the same income at the new tiny price margins.  That gets the music out there, our reason for making these crazy things in the first place.  And, of course, if it doesn’t move out there: we can’t continue making it, a growing concern.  Our base with the studio in New York City goes for $3900 a month.  Not casual.

The Stereo Society started on the premise of alternative.  This pricing philosophy is so logically obvious that it should be mainstream.  Whatever – we seem to be among the first.  Hard fact: you get something far better for far less. And you will hold it in your hand even after your iPod autodestructs (current estimated lifetime: three years) or your hard drive goes south (when, not if).

Thorne: The Contessa's PartyWe hope that the new silly prices will attract partial hordes of our devoted newsletter subscribers (5000 of you, thanks).  But we truly appreciate the support of you who bought CDs from us at the old (much) higher prices.  So as a serious thank you from us, if you buy a CD at the new low price, you can demand another one gratis, free and for nothing.  Just go to checkout with your purchase. There, you will see an E mail field where you can tell us which freebie you would like.  We recognize you repeat offenders by your E mail address.  If yours has changed since you bought from us, tell us your old E mail address so that we may match up your details.  BTW, we don’t store your credit card details, just E mails and order shipping details.  Don’t get paranoid, please.

It’s been hard work around here for the last few weeks.  From Thorne’s The Contessa’s Party, Grandma’s Goodbye emerged as a big favorite.  Most of its lyrics are imagined words from the lady kissing her man goodbye when he leaves for the boiler making factory early in the morning, but the chorus is an oral circular folk poem from mid-twentieth century working Yorkshire (England):

To go to work
To make some money
To buy some bread
To make us strong
To go to work

This track is our next club release.  And what else to do?  Rise to the occasion?  You don’t see too many megamixes around these days.  Given the time and effort, this isn’t surprising.  But we did one, coming in at 16’28”.  Curiously, the team isn’t that far removed from the Communards posse which delivered the world record-length single: Don’t  Leave Me This Way (22’55”)Sarah Jane Morris’ forceful vocals deliver the message then and now.

As with Dancing With B, New York ace Latin house remixer Norty Cotto contributes three mixes to complement the megamix.  At over 50 minutes, we think this will be a seriously good value release.  Of course, at $8 we do have to put out.

As we warned you, there’s a lot going on.  Never a crew to do things skimpily, our video release for the title track of the Shirts’ Only The Dead Know Brooklyn CD’s title track has been months in the making, conceived and directed and everything else by JR Rost.  It’s a real tour de force, from a director who has known the band since childhood, paid as many dues as anyone during the life of CBGB’s, and whose career as an experimental photographer/video-er has livened up so much of our site.

As a teaser, but also because we thought that JR’s extraordinary montages flipping between CBGB’s, old industrial neighborhoods and the Brooklyn Bridge were special, we also post a gallery of 16 stills from this exceptional production.  All of this is a massive labor of love.  If we were corporate, we’d be dealing with a six-figure budget.  So go download this high-end piece of work ASAP. It's free, in optimized versions for Mac and PC. You can also choose your resolution, for iPod size or TV feed. All are QuickTime files, so can play simply on your computer with most media players.

Another big free download item is our now-complete collection of long (two minutes or more) bundles of excerpts from our CDs.  Now, you can download a collection of excerpts (some of which include complete tracks) from each of our CDs.  One click gives you an awful lot of music (up to 27 minutes), of excerpts long enough to enjoy on your iPod.  Of course, we want you to get sucked in to buying the CD, business we need to survive.  But enough already of the tacky 30-second streams from the big corporate crew.  We demonstrate our music at your leisure.  We want you to get the plot.

There’s a radical site system change this update, in addition to the header color changing for winter. Way back when, RealAudio was a RealPioneer (and our studio was a beta site for them in 1995 when we were associated with Warner Music).  In 1999, we launched our online label with RealAudio the main streaming music/sound provider.  However, mp3 streaming has caught up and is easier to access.  So we will now offer audio in either pure mp3 streaming, as in the interviews, or as an mp3 file for streaming/download of music tracks. We still offer the pure downloadable m4a (the same size as mp3 but a better sound, the format Apple uses in iTunes).  For guidance, should you feel adrift in techno space, use our Big Help Desk, which has been updated sensitively and includes notes on audio file types and a quickstart guide to playing music.

SprawlFinally, of course, it’s that holiday season again.  You can pick up BETTY’s Snowbiz CD, full of joy and misery as it pops up on its yearly pantomime appearance.  For download only, you can still get Hilly Kristal’s Christmas version of Mud, the little wiggly pigs Ode To Joy (if you like). The original, full-length birthday version is on his Mad Mordechai CD.

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