The 2012 movie “Searching for Sugar Man” belatedly made a minor star out of the musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. Its basic premise is that somehow his records became hits in South Africa but everybody thought he was dead, so they went looking for him. In fact, he was alive all along in Detroit, pursuing a modest career as a day laborer. Rodriguez was signed to the independent label Sussex Records.
Author: David Kronemyer
About David Kronemyer
Posts by David Kronemyer:
MuseWire COLUMN: Lydia Purple is one of those songs that, for me, encapsulate an era. It is evocative and redolent of the late 1960s. Like a latter-day time traveler, I cannot listen to it without being magically transported back to another world, another moment in space and time. The iconic version was performed by the […]
MuseWire COLUMN: “Eight Miles High” is one of the greatest songs of all time. It influenced me significantly and from what I can discern from multiple sources had major social-cultural impact also. It doesn’t help that I idolize the Byrds and McGuinn is one of my musical heroes. There are different versions of the song’s […]
MuseWire COLUMN: It’s a rainy day in Southern California so I decided to fool around with one of the things I like doing best … experimenting with guitar sounds. I must confess I used to be pretty promiscuous with tonal experimentation. I went through your EL34s, 6L6 and KT66 power tubes, your Amperex, Mullard, Telefunken […]
MuseWire COLUMN: When did the Doors’ records start going downhill? The answer to this question is shortly after their third record, however, the band’s incipient tendency to write bad songs is evident as early as their first, as I will explain. The problem mainly has to do with the band’s inclination to attempt to integrate […]
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: African-American spirituality has been expressed in a profound tradition of music dating back to the first days of slavery in the United States. One of the consistent lyrical themes of this genre is the temporality of life, its transience and impermanence, the problem of evil, and the promise of a better world to come.
Who Has a Better Guitar Sound – Eric Clapton (on Fresh Cream and Disraeli Gears) or Jimmy Page (on Led Zeppelin I)?
MuseWire COLUMN: This is not about who is the better guitar player, viz, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Maybe the question (and their theoretical rivalry) stems from the fact that both of them were in that smokin’ slab of 1960s pop-psychedelia, the Yardbirds; or, that neither of them is quite as good as Jeff Beck. […]
MuseWire COLUMN: The Los Angeles Times recently has carried several stories about a series of tuba thefts that have plagued local area high schools, colleges, bands, orchestras and other performing aggregations. A quick www search reveals that L.A. is not the only jurisdiction victimized by this spate of thievery. On further review it turns out […]
MuseWire REVIEW: Yes, OK, it took him a long time to get them done, and some people still haven’t gotten theirs from the initial production run. I am pleased to advise, though, that it is well worth the wait. Ours arrived from Europe in good order with sturdy packaging, nothing to be worried about as […]
MuseWire COLUMN: For immediate dispatch from the wild and wooly frontier south of Disneyland – after a decade of resisting the blandishments and imprecations of colleagues I finally re-attended this year’s NAMM convention (Jan. 19-22, 2012). NAMM of course stands for the National Association of Music Merchandisers. Its annual soiree is held at the Anaheim […]
MuseWire COLUMN: The Sundance Film Festival begins today (January 19th) in Park City, Utah, and runs for an exhausting 10 days through January 29th. When I was an executive in the independent film business I attended Sundance regularly. I’ll never forget the frisson of excitement I experienced when a film I financed and produced – […]
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: Somehow the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia managed to get backed into a political corner where it had to shut itself down for a day (January 18th) in order to demonstrate solidarity with those protesting proposed legislation to restrict the prerogatives of web site owners.
MuseWire COLUMN: A press release today (January 17th) from Clear Channel announces a new division called Entertainment Enterprises, to be headed by John Sykes. I think Sykes is a nice guy; I used to work with him when I was at Capitol-EMI and he was at Chrysalis Records. The premise of this new venture, however, […]
MuseWire COLUMN: By 1984 I had become gravely concerned (of course along with other key executives) about the profitability of Capitol-EMI’s U.S. labels. I met with Bhaskar Menon, then Chairman of EMI Music, and told him we needed to re-start a distributed labels program. The concept of distributed labels, of course, was not new; indeed, […]
MuseWire COLUMN: Part of a continuing series on the history of Capitol-EMI Music. One of the themes I pursued with Bhaskar Menon (then head of EMI Music) in the early 1980s was the logic of forming a separate distribution company that would operate autonomously (but in close coordination with) Capitol-EMI’s labels. “It makes complete sense […]
MuseWire COLUMN: This note is about what I have come to characterize as the entropy or misalignment of how information gets transmitted in the music and film businesses. I will define what I mean by this, and then illustrate it with two examples. I will conclude with a brief theoretical sketch of how and why […]
MuseWire COLUMN: At the end of the previous post in this series we left the Koppelman regime “in full affect.” It was a truism that at Capitol-EMI during the late 1980s – early 1990s, every six months or so something dramatic would happen (this maxim still pertains). Thus, even as Koppelman came to dominate the […]
MuseWire COLUMN: The history of Capitol-EMI in the late 1980s – early 1990s is one of constant turmoil and upheaval. Management devised, attempted to implement, and then discarded different strategies as it tried to respond to the dynamics and exigencies of a rapidly-changing market for the origination and delivery of recorded music. A. Joe Smith […]
COLUMN: For some time Billboard Magazine published a “Top 200” chart, which purported to identify the 200 best-selling records in the country. It used a variety of methodologies over time to comprise this data. Initially it relied on “store reports” from a limited (“small-n”) sample of retail record stores, together with feedback from local radio stations ….
COLUMN: In April 1971 Joseph Lockwood (then chairman of EMI) fired Stanley Gortikov as president of Capitol Industries and Sal Iannucci as president of Capitol Records. As Lockwood expressed in EMI's 1971 annual report, there was â€œevidence of ineffective management and lack of strong cost controls. â€¦ For some years the company had enjoyed a […]
The Last Days of United Artists Records (with Comments on the Thirteen Colonies Syndrome and the Masterpiece Theater Effect)
COLUMN: I thought it might be interesting to recapitulate the last days of United Artists Music and Records Group, Inc. (“UAR”) and the circumstances under which Capitol Industries-EMI, Inc. (“Capitol”) acquired it. The information set forth in this note is based on my personal knowledge of what happened and my independent analysis of events; an […]
COLUMN: Johnny Mercer was Capitol’s first president. Glen Wallichs succeeded Mercer in 1947. Alan Livingston succeeded Wallichs in 1961. One of Livingston’s main accomplishments was creating the cartoon character Bozo the Clown. Livingston got fired in July 1968 and was succeeded by Stanley Gortikov. Gortikov also succeeded Wallichs as president of Capitol Industries in 1969. […]
COLUMN: Johnny Mercer, Glen Wallichs and Buddy DeSylva founded Capitol Records, Inc. in 1942. For a history of Capitol see Grein, P. (1992) Capitol Records – Fiftieth Anniversary 1942 – 1992. Mercer initially capitalized the company with $25,000 (later reports credit both Mercer and DeSylva with contributing to Capitol’s initial financing, but in the total […]
Deconstructing Pop Culture: Which would You Rather Own – Warner Music Group, Warner Bros. Studio, or maybe neither?
COLUMN: It always is entertaining to look at Warner Bros.' financial results. Throughout its various permutations and incarnations it has remained a diversified entertainment conglomerate with interests in both music and films. It always has been subject to the financial reporting requirements of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, which has tended to make its […]
COLUMN: Busy savoring that new, close-in parking spot? Well you'd better read this if you want to hang on to it. Hollywood long has been known for its cunning business tactics, callous ruthlessness, cutthroat entrepreneurialism and all-around gleeful back-stabbing. OK, Sammy Glick gained the world but lost his soul, so what else is new? No […]
Deconstructing Pop Culture: Why Do People in the Movie Business Look Down on People in the Record Business?
COLUMN: People in the movie business historically view people in the record business as some kind of inferior beings. Just ask David Geffen when he became Vice-Chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures after a successful career as head of Elektra/Asylum Records. As described in Tom King's book â€œThe Operatorâ€: â€œGeffen, who had succeeded stellarly at everything […]
COLUMN: The conflict between CBS Records and the Warner Music Group is the stuff of record business legend. During the 1970s â€“ 1980s they dominated the U.S. record industry. Walter Yetnikoff was head of CBS Records from 1975 â€“ 1987. Mo Ostin was head of Warner Bros. Records, one of the three labels then comprising […]
COLUMN: My previous post on sales of Beatles albums in the U.S. seems to have precipitated a lot of interest so I thought I'd briefly discuss the history of the Beatles contracts. If you're interested in reading them, copies of the pertinent agreements are posted at deconstructingpopculture.com. These are a matter of public record having […]
COLUMN: I thought I would make a list of propositions that everybody in the music business can agree on, regardless of their stance on various philosophical, economic and theological issues. In other words these are supposed to be completely neutral and not biased towards any particular ideology. If anybody disagrees with any of these, please […]
COLUMN: The Fab Four once again is in the news with the announcement that remastered versions of their catalog will be available in September 2009 (source: Allan Kozinn, “Beatles Fans Await Re-Releases,” New York Times, April 8, 2009). The Beatles were Capitol Records’ most famous recording artists. Although their mercurial career spanned but a few […]
COLUMN: The answer is $5.1 billion pre-tax operating income on $83.6 billion of operating revenue, which is about how much people spend on French fries during one year in the U.S. I went through all of the Warner Communications, Time Warner and AOL Time Warner annual reports since 1968 and pulled the segment financial data for the Warner Music Group or its predecessor companies.
COLUMN: The Recording Industry Association of America (“RIAA”) is the trade association for the U.S. record industry. The Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”) is the trade association for the U.S. film industry. One of their pretend jobs is to compile and disseminate statistics pertinent to each of their respective businesses. Their favorite hobby, however, […]