Column from June 14th, 1999 edition

Seems to be quite a few good Christian releases on the way: Michael W. Smith is hard at work on the follow up to the interesting "Live the Life" album and is expected to have it ready in September; Big Tent Revival is also busy in the studio and should have their new album out in September; Geoff Moore has a new one scheduled for a September 21st release; and the (over-rated) Jars of Clay will have a new album out "in the Autumn".

German band Winterland, has a new "advance CD-R" of their second album "Blind" available from their website at Not only does the CD-R include the first album it also includes two unreleased instrumental tracks, plus five live tracks. The band’s first album was a little on the heavy side for me, but I’m reliably informed that the new material is much more melodic.

Canadian singer Phil Naro is getting his old band 24K back off the ground after a chance meeting with guitarist (and current Von Groove main-man) Mladen. 10 new tracks are being worked on with lots of well known Toronto musicians. Billy Sheehan (who used to be in Talas with Naro) guests and Peter Criss (whom Naro has also worked with) co-writes one of the tracks.

In overall music industry activity, BMG and Universal Music say they will have joint internet sales venture in the US, expanded to cover other international markets by the end of this year. Though they neglect to mention that the US service still has been launched yet itself! Anyway, sites for Germany, France and UK are due to open before Christmas with Asia and Latin America to follow at a slightly later stage.

And proving that no major record label can think for itself: Sony Music and Warner Brothers and expected to launch a similar joint venture in the near future too. 10 out of 10 for being reactive rather than proactive! Sony is also messing about with proposals with Microsoft to sell digital versions of its releases with direct internet delivery – sounds like marriage made up in some weird psychotic heaven! Some day soon a major label is going to remember that the industry is actually about music, but I won’t hold my breath….