Friday, 7 December 2012

What Value Music?

The other day, in a moment of supreme weakness, I made the mistake of answering my phone without checking that the caller had WITHHELD their number.  This can only mean one thing; a cold call and if there’s one thing I hate it’s a cold caller.  I usually ignore such intrusions but this time I was caught and had to go through the rigmarole of politely telling them to bugger off.  This time it was from an on-line wine seller that I use regularly and whilst it started promisingly with the ‘only available off line to you, mate’ patter, it ended with a price that was no better than their normal on-line prices.  What was the point?

The trouble is, everyone wants something for nothing these days, including me, so ringing me up to offer the same price I could expect to spend elsewhere was never going to hold my interest and what goes for wine goes for music too.  Having said that, I am of a generation that at least expects to pay something for music, unlike many of today’s kids who seem to think it is their birthright to download everything for free, so cheap rather than free is always on the menu.

The old marketing hook of offering stuff at low prices can be a bit hit and miss.  For reasons that I don’t really understand to this day, back in 1973 I declined Virgin Records’s offer of ‘The Faust Tapes’ by Krautrockers, Faust for the miniscule price of 49p – an LP for the price of a vinyl single at the time.  Perhaps it was TOO cheap?  See how difficult it is?  In retrospect this was probably the correct decision as it is a jumble of live off-cuts but nevertheless, at that price who cares?

Yet some years before, in 1971, I had snapped up ‘Relics’ by Pink Floyd, a band I didn’t really know much about, but when it appeared on the cut-price Starline label, I couldn’t resist.  ‘Relics’ is a peculiar mixture of 1967-1969 period Floyd material bringing together the brilliant early Syd Barrett singles, atmospheric tracks from the soundtrack album, ‘More’, a collection of B sides and odd album cuts from their first two albums.  It was my introduction to The Pink Floyd and remains one of my favourite albums of theirs to this day.  As I have mused before, the late sixties was a strange period and the music created against the backdrop of social unrest and end of the Hippy dream still has a slightly haunted quality to it.  Certainly, this has an ambience that no other record I know of has.

So in the case of the budget label release, ‘Relics’ scored a hit and set me on the trail of proper grown-up Pink Floyd LPs.  Just let someone ring me up today and try and sell it to me…grrr.


Adrian said...

Even though it's on Ummagumma - and not Relics (or is it?) -thanks for making me think of "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict". And, who needs linear thinking when it comes to Pink Floyd :)

I can't say I picked up the Krautrockers "Faust" - so, maybe there's just something about that too-low price point. Or, maybe the combination of names?

btw, saw a documentary on television here in North America last night - on the impact of the Beatles on the former USSR.

Fun stuff!! And, finally on point am I - as this doc showed the value of pop music!! When it's real, it can be priceless.

Adrian said...

p.s. I've sent you an email - but, I'm not sure I have an addy that will reach you... should you not receive a message, let me know!

music obsessive said...

Adrian - I'm sure nobody would get 'Furry Animals' past the record company execs these days!

I'd like to think that my six music sense filters out the rubbish at any price but it hasn't always worked for me. I suppose that's the fun?

Adrian said...

Aye, and fun is the one thing that money can't buy. Not even for 49p!

Happy holidays :)