Friday, December 7, 2012

follow up to the Interpol 10th Anniversary commemoration post, here's Chris Ott having a "Rational Conversation" with Daily Swarm's Eric Ducker about that absurdly premature reissue.

Also discussed is the fact that Saddle Creek recently reissued Danse Macabre, the 2001 album by The Faint. Which tops the Interpol reish for absurdity and then some. Did anyone even remember that record by the end of the year it came out?

Ott, he don't pull no punches, even though he liked the Faint a bit at the time:

"The situation with Danse Macabre is that No Doubt took them on tour as an opener to buy their “cred”, as it were, in 2002. And so, as far as The Faint goes, that was the biggest thing that ever happened to them, in their entire career. But I suspect those audiences don’t remember it that way, and that they didn’t make a lot of fans off that decision. When Saddle Creek and The Faint look back on ten years ago, perhaps they remember that tour and maybe almost getting mainstream attention. But The Faint weren’t My Chemical Romance, and it was never going to happen. There’s a very distorted memory there, in trying to celebrate Danse Macabre and that moment, which I experienced as a complete failure. "

Of course the real point is that both bands were unoriginal, derivative of an earlier age of music, and of specific bands to boot. And just as you can't have a revival of a revival (well, No Doubt as participants in a late 90s ska-revival revival maybe disproves that, but it's the exception that proves the rule), so too an Anniversary Reissue of a piece of music that wasn't in its own time a Broader Sociocultural Event  (e.g. The Slider 40th Anniversary mega-box) NOR has it subsequently become  Iconic through Steadily Accruing Cult Love, Ahead of Its Time Stature and Influentialness (as with the Velvet Underground and Nico's 45th Anniversary mega-expanded box), it just don't make no sense! It's just a record that came out, to modest impact, that has since never been out of print and is still readily available with unsold copies lingering all over the place, and, as Ott notes, is on iTunes and Spotify and the rest.

So why then? It's just a marketing ploy, says Ott:

"I look at the reissue thing as a way for the classic, outmoded music industry to toot its own horn and say, “We might have a way here to force the gatekeeper websites to promote our catalog.” Advertising is everything; so, in a way, the reissue is a very powerful advertisement for catalog sales. Catalog sales dwarf new music sales in terms of physical media: they overtook them this year, statistically, along every measurable line. But it was already the case for ages: that’s why Billboard had the “Heatseeker” bullshit inside the chart, so your new hip-hop protégé doesn’t notice his record is two positions lower than an old Michael Bolton album."

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