Homer’s Mike Fratt on ‘New Music Friday’ (spoiler alert: He doesn’t like it); new Protomartyr; Melvins tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:53 pm July 14, 2015
Melvins play tonight at The Waiting Room.

Melvins play tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When the first New Music Friday happened last week — forever changing release date for new albums from Tuesdays to Fridays — I asked Homer’s General Manager Mike Fratt for his take on the change. Here’s what he had to say, via email:

“I fought very hard against this while on the Music Business Association board. The idea came from Universal’s Global head of digital sales. There was no research to support this move and when we pushed back they presented this trumped up nonsense they called research. Funny to see it mentioned in the NPR piece as it was total bullshit.

“I am against removing a traffic driver from the middle of the week to the weekend. As the face of the fight against this I was on the cover of the Wall Street Journal back in November of 2014.

“It is stupid to move the dependency to just the weekend and to move away from the release date we shared with books, movies, comics, video games, etc. Doing so creates logistics issues for our suppliers, who ship all the products to stores together. Now they will have to manage new release shipments twice a week to accommodate music separate from the other categories.

“There is also concern about sales. Currently, if a new release blows up stores can easily restock for the weekend. Now, if something blows up on Friday there will be no restocking ’til Tuesday at the earliest. Dumb.

“We were for a global release day, just not Friday. We (U.S. retail) and the trade association for music retailers in the UK (ERA) agreed to both use Monday in an effort to keep it during the week but align to one day.

“Universal threatened to leave the Music Biz Association if the board approved the move to Monday as they were invested in it being Friday. I had the votes on the board lined up to approve Monday. That threat would have crushed Music Biz Assoc as Universal is the largest member and pays the largest dues. I was so disgusted by this unprofessional action that, after nine years on the board, I resigned.

“Soundscan has yet to get all retailers to alter their reporting of sales dates (during the week) to reflect this move to Friday through Thursday from the current Sunday to Saturday, so the first eight weeks’ sales numbers will be royally fucked up and very likely just made up.”

I asked Fratt, in this new streaming age does the release date matter to anyone except brick-and-mortar stores? Are we headed toward an age when music is released digitally whenever? His response:

“Regarding your question about digital, this aligns digital and physical even more so. So, I don’t see digital going rogue and releasing on different days than physical. But pay for digital album sales are falling faster than physical. And if all indie stores sales were actually counted (only 60 report to soundscan) we would see physical sales are actually pretty healthy.

“Streaming is the new radio, as you so often write. It creates awareness for releases, artists, music. We’re seeing it positively impact physical sales.”

A post script to all of this:

Last Friday the Saddle Creek Shop, located in north downtown in the Slowdown complex, announced it no longer will stock non-Saddle Creek Records titles, and that the store will only be open one day a week — Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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In other news, Protomartyr released the first song from their upcoming album, The Agent Intellect, out Oct. 9 on Hardly Art. Check it out.

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Iconic ’80s/’90s/today doom/sludge/stoner/metal/grunge band Melvins plays tonight at The Waiting Room. If you’re wondering if you should go, here’s a review of last Wednesday’s Melvins show in Chicago, complete with set list, to help you decide. Le Butcherettes opens the show at 9 p.m. $17.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New release Friday; Conor plays for free; Big Wheel, Nathan Ma tonight; Ceremony, InDreama, Gramps, Omaha Girls Rock! Saturday; Ataris, Little Brazil Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm July 10, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

NPR had a solid feature this morning on New Music Fridays — the shift of release schedules for new albums from the traditional Tuesday to Friday. It began today. I think it’s probably a mistake, but what do I know? Record stores “owned” Tuesdays because there was nothing else going on that day. Fridays are crowded with film releases and the general hub-bub that surrounds the weekend…

But in this new streaming age, does the release date matter to anyone except brick-and-mortar stores?

Are we headed toward an age when music is released digitally whenever? Probably not, at least not while record labels continue to exist because they depend on that bulge of sales/stream traffic that comes with release dates, and market for it.

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Yesterday right after lunch the PR folks at Omaha Performing Arts announced that Conor Oberst will be the headliner for the first-ever Holland Stages Festival on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Sez the press release: “The free all-day performing arts event is a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Holland Performing Arts Center. The festival will be held on five stages inside and outside the building at 1200 Douglas St., with family-friendly performances, followed by a variety of jazz, roots, world and blues artists until 5 p.m., and ending with the Holland Stages ‘After Dark,’ which will include Oberst’s performance at 8 p.m. and a House of Loom dance party afterward.”

It’s free, but you’ll still need a ticket to get in. How they’re going to pull that one off without pissing off a lot of people is anyone’s guess, but we’ll find out how they’ll do it “at a later date.” And if they need an opener, I can think of a certain band from the North Carolina region

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Tonight’s really big shoe is the Big Wheel CD release show at Reverb Lounge. Big Wheel was born of the musical collaboration of songwriters Jason Churchill and Kevin Hiddleston, who just happen to be sound engineers. Believe me, if you go to shows, you’ve seen these dudes running around making sure everything sounds good. Anyway, they added Bill Nanson on drums and Mike Matsui on bass. “We don’t play emo, we don’t play metal; we play guitar-oriented rock songs with hooks.” That it is. We’re talking traditional rock ‘n’ roll here, and considering the personnel involved, you can imagine how well recorded it is. Opening is The Sons of Reverb Lounge and The Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck. $7, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Nathan Ma and the Rosettes headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Madison band The Minotaurs and Navy Gang. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And if you’re hanging around downtown early in the evening, check out Matt Whipkey playing at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Lee Bowes also is on the bill, which begins at 6 p.m.

BTW, the Down Under has moved to where the Side Door Lounge used to be at 3530 Leavenworth. Check out their new stage at a free show tonight featuring Aly Peeler and a bunch of other performers. Starts at 8 p.m.

I realize it’s probably going to be a late night for all of us, but you’ve got to get up early Saturday morning and run in The Indie 5K / 10K race. I’ll be there sweating up a storm. More info here.

Tomorrow night it’s Matador band Ceremony at The Sweatshop Gallery. Read an interview with the band at Hear Nebraska. The band’s new album, The L-Shaped Man,  is indeed a departure from their past metal sound. Now they sound like Interpol. Opening is Tony Molina, Creative Adult and FLAK. This will be a packed show. $10, 9 p.m.

Under the Radar Festival is going on all weekend. You can check the schedule at their website, but Saturday night there’s a special performance by Nik Fackler and InDreama at Sokol Auditorium. The entire show starts at 7:30. Check out the line-up and ticket info here.

Also Saturday night, it’s time for another Omaha Girls Rock! concert, this time at The Waiting Room. The non-profit puts on a special concert with all their summer camp participants annually, and it’s always a hoot. Support this great cause and see tomorrow’s stars today. $5, 5:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Gramps (featuring Love Drunk director Django Greenblatt-Seay) opens for Thinkin’ Machines and Beth Bombara at The Barley Street Tavern. $5, 9:30 p.m.

While over at O’Leaver’s Saturday night All Young Girls Are Machine Guns headline with High Up (featuring the Fink sisters, Christine and Orenda, and a host of heroes) and Manic Pixie Dream Girls. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night at The Lookout Lounge (formerly The Hideout) pop-punk band The Ataris headlines. The band will be playing Blue Skies, Broken Hearts…Next 12 Exists (1999, Kung Fu Records) in its entirety. Also on the bill, local heroes Little Brazil and Low Long Signal and touring act Arliss Nancy. $10, 8 p.m. Never a better time t check out the club under new management?

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.