Column from April 12th, 1999 edition

My conspiracy theory about major labels pumping on-line prospects to manipulate the financial markets seems to be gaining some weigh. Just in the last week, Seagram announced that it plans to join forces with third ranked Bertelsmann to sell discs on-line. And hey presto Seagram’s shares jumped by 7%, while they trumpeted on about making a "major step in building the interactive music channels of the future" and saying they had the "critical mass to create the internet’s premier music destination". The money men in suits seem to have taken to the idea hook, line and sinker without establishing what’s behind the plan or if it has any real worth…..

Seagram will be aligning its Universal Music division with BMG in what seems a rather belated attempt to compete with established on-line sellers like CD Now and the like. Sounds like too little too late! The two also plan to top it off with a terrible name: "GetMusic" (someone’s bound to re-christen it "GetBent"!!!), and aim it at the US market. Initial move appears to be to try and align GetMusic.com to fan club and band sites thought the BMG direct music club service on the internet and then also provide some channel content for specific genres. That shows a real commitment to the concept of the internet if you only aim it at the US market….

On matters that have more relevance for everyday music listeners: think a lot of you will dig a new Italian progressive metal/hard rock band called "Opera", even if they’re a little heavy for me. They’ve just released a five song CD-R which is kinda like a more traditionally influenced version of Dream Theatre. Production has been handled by Daniele Liverani of Empty Tremor and a full album is in the pipeline too. Only weakness is that the vocalist gets slightly swamped by the music at times, and at other points he goes in for a little too much wailing. Further details from the band’s web page at http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/Wing/4006/ or Dario Ciccioni at ciccio@nf.infotel.it.

Another CD some of the broadminded might like to investigate is the debut release from girl singer Vivian Slade. The twelve tracks featured are very diverse, but have a common thread of quality that binds them together. For further details jump to her web site at http://www.vivianslade.com/ .

Further to last issue’s story on Colie Brice’s new CD "The Chameleon"…, it’s release date has now been pushed back to August by Song Haus. Still should be an interesting one.

I’ve been very side-tracked from getting new reviews uploaded to the AOR Basement (http://www.aorbasement.com/) web site, but I do hope to have that put right over the next ten days.