International

Fairness Rocks

So, have you guys heard of an independent film called “This Is Spinal Tap” ?

I guess you haven’t heard of this film because according to French media company StudioCanal it allegedly only made US$98 dollars in soundtrack and US$81 in general merchandise sales since it was released 34 years ago.

Yes, the Vivendi subsidiary allegedly stated the vinyl, cassette, compact disc, VHS, laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray sales were that low. A rather interesting claim seeing that I managed to purchase Spinal Tap recordings and merchandise over the past few years, with little to no effort.

Seriously, this is a critically acclaimed film that has had a cult following since it premiered in theatres in March 1984. The quoted figures can’t be right so what happened ?

A lawsuit has just been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by actor, writer and composer Harry Shearer alleging StudioCanal had “engaged in anti-competitive and unfair business practices, as well as fraudulent accounting, directly related to its management of the cult-classic film, This Is Spinal Tap.”

Harry Shearer co-created Spinal Tap with Christopher Guest and Michael McKean in 1978, co-wrote the film’s soundtrack and portrayed the cucumber packing bass player Derek Smalls in the film itself :

“Almost 40 years ago, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner and I created the somewhat legendary band Spinal Tap,” said Shearer. “We thought there was something real and really funny about the characters, and between that inception and the theatrical release of This Is Spinal Tap in 1984, we poured ourselves into nurturing and perfecting the paean to rock loudness that has entertained so many people, even today. But despite the widespread success of the film and its music, we’ve fallen victim to the same sort of fuzzy and falsified entertainment industry accounting schemes that have bedevilled so many other creators. In this instance, the fraud and negligence were just too egregious to ignore. Also, this time, it was personal.” – Press Release 10/2016

As a fan I had hoped that the creators of Spinal Tap had been properly compensated, ensuring the possibility of more sequels. But it as pretty much become the norm in the entertainment industry for creators to get crumbs for their work, making fans like yours truly wonder where content will come from in the future.

Yes, people will continue to write screenplays and compose music but the channels that most fan use to access material are controlled by the major players. And it appears that to have one’s material distributed one must get naked in a desert and hope the vultures won’t come in for a snack.

So what’s a fan to do ?

I, for one, had previously decided to wait for a blu-ray release that included the “Break Like A Wind” music videos, being quite content with the special edition DVD I had purchased years back. And i’m hoping that this will all work out so I will have the opportunity to complete my collection. But for now i’ve decided to only link the official case website, instead of posting links encouraging the purchase of the Spinal Tap film and soundtracks.

I support fair compensation for content creators, whether it is for music or for film, and will actively discuss and promote campaigns for both. I encourage fans to do so as well through their social media accounts.

Phil Collins’ Best on Vinyl

A compilation of Phil Collins’ remastered singles have been released on a double CD box set, triple CD box set and four LP collection.

I had hoped a video compilation would also be released on DVD but there hasn’t been anything official on that from Rhino.

By the way, his official memoirs will also be out on the 25th of this month.

Sting on Vinyl

Sting’s solo albums have been re-released in an eleven LP collection entitled “The Studio Collection”, including both “Brand New Day” and “Sacred Love”, which weren’t previously released on vinyl.

This collection is available from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Secondspin.comicon

Now if only his label would re-release a music video collection on DVD. Seriously, i’d love the “Fields of Gold” compilation with some bonus videos including the “Stolen Car” remix with Mylene Farmer.

The Forever Yours Charity Single

As you may or may not know, I’ve been a member of Youtube since 2006. And today I thought I’d bump a charity single entitled “Forever Yours” by fellow Youtuber Alex Day, also known as Nerimon.

I am particularly fond of the hilarious BillTV-Mickeleh Remix, having known BillTVMacon for a while, and the Stefan Chin Remix, which has already charted at #10 in the Electronic music charts here in Canada.



a-ha will be no more

Having lost track of this Norwegian band after the release of their Lifelines icon album in 2003, I hadn’t heard that the band was going to officially split up at the end of this year, two years short of their 30th anniversary.

Apparently their latest release, Foot Of The Mountain, was quite the success in Europe and the trio had decided to go out with a bang, appropriately naming their final tour the “Ending On A High Note Tour“.

Not only was the album critically acclaimed but it topped the German charts, reached #2 in Norway and had debuted in the United Kingdom charts at #5 last summer.

It’s rather sad to see this pop institution go, Take On Meicon being one of the best known music videos of the MTV generation, followed closely by The Sun Always Shines On TVicon.

These videos, along with the videos for Train Of Thought, Hunting High And Low and their incredible cover of The Everly Brothers’ Crying In The Rain aired quite frequently on Canadian music video networks Much Music and Musique Plus from the mid 80’s to mid 90’s.

But of course these stations had pretty much dropped most of their music videos by the time Forever Not Yours and Lifelines were released in 2002 so their Lifelines icon album didn’t chart higher than the 28th position here in Canada at the time. And this album had topped the charts in Norway, Germany, Latvia and Estonia.

Actually, I don’t even remember hearing anything from Analogue (All I Want) on the radio when it was released in 2005, which was the band’s first UK top ten hit since 1988.

Well, at least Toronto residents will be lucky to see them perform live for one last time on May 10th at Massey Hall. I understand tickets are still available for the gig.

a-ha