Column from June 7th, 1999 issue

Where the biggest companies go, so the rest of the market was follow. That could be especially true over the next week or so when major label heavyweight (though it’s a lightweight in terms of quality music!), EMI reveals its full plans to distribute digital music directly over the internet.

The UK end of EMI says that it intends to sell selections from "not our whole catalogue but a selection from it". For that read its most commercial acts that hog the most insipid traditional media at the moment. It’s a sure bet for EMI, an easy way to make a quick buck from a captive audience. If they had any guts they’d thinking about how they could use, very cheap, internet deliver to test the market better and find out more about what people want to really hear. Of course, that would involve un-accountant driven thinking with more than a 15 minute planning horizon – so that’s not going to happen!

To compound the point, a supposed forward thinking major like EMI’s release schedule for the rest of the year is heavily skewed towards re-releases. A remastered version of The Beatles’ "Yellow Submarine" will bring assurances of yet more quick cash in their grubby little hands, but continues the downward spiral of the last decade where new music is a side issue…. Still many people think EMI is ripe for takeover and that they’re already being stalked, but for its part EMI says all significant recent trading in its shares "has gone to reputable funds". Here they go again missing the point: they’re results have been poor and despite they’re promises of better times, investors are buying into they because they expect a takeover and they can make their quick buck that way. And so the vicious circle continues….

Minor rant over for the moment! Visitors to the AOR Basement (http://www.aorbasement.com) site over the last month will have been disappointed by the lack of new reviews. I’ve plenty of great new stuff on the way, just been a bit distracted by a new home cinema/DVD set-up – I’m sure Kurt will attest to how that can be a distraction! J Anyway, the new review situation should be put right over the next couple of weeks.