Monday, 19 May 2014


I Am A Worthless Piece of Shit

Alcopop! Records
Rating: 4/5
It's hard, when dealing with a band with as impeccable credentials as Brawlers, to ever full divorce them from whatever came before.

In the case of frontman Harry Johns that's especially true; following his stint as one half of the phenomenal Old Romantic Killer Band, his next project Wingman then penned one of the best grunge songs ever written ('N64', in case you're curious). Rather than plug away at the blues-inflected grunge forever, he then took a left turn and released an incredible, intimate folk mini album, 'Post Breakdown Blues' under his own name, before quietly releasing another rock track 'End of Days' as a video.

Brawlers, as I'm sure you've sussed out by now, is his new project - and they're rather a different beast, even if they bear some surface similarities to Wingman. The tempo is fast; the drums are big, dumb pop-punk, but the riffs and chords sound like classic Johns. His vocals are maybe a bit more polished and less raw than they've been in the past, but his sense of humour and caustic honesty are still intact; this EP is called 'I Am A Worthless Piece of Shit', after all.

If you're into punk rock in the Lawrence Arms/Asian Man Records vein (as I am), you'll probably like this. It's very polished compared to a lot of that stable, but the attitude behind it certainly isn't dissimilar. If that's too mainstream for you, then perhaps check out one of Johns' previous projects as they are more similar in tone to Jeff Rosenstock's poetic catharsis with Bomb The Music Industry!.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bo Ningen - III

Bo Ningen
Rating: 4/5

Challenging at best, completely obtuse at worst, Bo Ningen's records have always trodden a fine line between fuzzed-out psych punk genius and shredding, aimless noise. For the most part it's a divide they've stayed on the right side of, and on 'III' they deliver their most coherent listening experience yet. 

Though 'DaDaDa' kicks things off in typically heavy fashion, it doesn't set the tone for the entire album. The following four tracks - including excellent stoner rock cut 'Slider' - continue the theme, in doing so also capriciously capturing the essence and spirit of a Bo Ningen live show, so much as such a thing is possible. 

The second half of the record is a surprise, however. On 'Mukaeni Ikenai' the band toy with soundscape-rich shoegaze for nine glorious minutes. 'Maki-Modoshi' and 'Mitsume' pick up where the heavier tracks left off, but bring with them a more confident groove and rhythmic hooks. 'Ogosokana Ao' also shines, bringing the tempo back down for a gauzy electronica interlude. 

The danger with Bo Ningen is that for all their unpredictability, they nevertheless have a clearly defined sound of their own. Their challenge is making all of the elements within that work together consistently in harmony and without letting the secret formula for it all lead them to stale or facile work. The triumph therefore of 'III' is not only that the parts which sound most like Bo Ningen are as good as ever, but that they sound fresh enough to rub shoulders with the unexpected.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Carefully Planned 2013 - Review

Carefully Planned Festival, Various Venues, Manchester
19th & 20th October 2013

Now in its third year, Carefully Planned Festival has quickly become an essential date in the Manchester music calendar. With the demise of In The City and dissolution of other similar city-centre events, it's really the closest thing remaining to Liverpool's Sound City and Leeds' Live at Leeds. What perhaps sets it apart the most however is that it's not billed as an 'emerging bands event' in the same way; yes, these bands are for the most part smaller, but there's a notable absence of the crass 'music industry chasing its own tail' effect that the dedicated showcase events are prone to.

In any case, kicking the weekend off in fine form were Cleft, on first at the Castle, and presumably timed to get people out of bed and to the festival. Playing to a packed room, the two-piece 'turbo prog' outfit dazzled with a wilfully schizophrenic set of math-inflected heavy rock cut through with eccentric and atmospheric space rock.

Gizeh signings Shield Patterns at Kraak Gallery are another highlight of the early afternoon, creating the kind of lush shoe gaze you'd expect of School of Seven Bells, except with perhaps a slightly less percussive edge. It's the perfect counterpoint to Cleft's racket, and a far cry from Suffer Like G Did, who follow at Soup Kitchen. Drawing attention on the math and post-rock scene, the band take a more chordal approach than outfits like ASIWYFA but do manage to slip a few decent riffs in their tunes. It's not mind-blowing, but it's solid enough festival fare.

Vasquez, on the other hand, are mind-blowing. Off the back of awesome new release 'EP246' they play a blinding set composed of tight rhythms and head-banging riffs. They have a satisfying sense of when to let the rhythms lead and when there needs to be a clear melody, and as such each member gets his time in the spotlight as they nail one of the performances of the festival.

Lovecraft at Night and Day are an indie band very much in the post-Joy Division mould, and perhaps stand out a bit more at CP for that as math and post-rock bands broadly tend to be the order of the day. Afterward, Crash of Rhinos at Soup Kitchen score one of the biggest crowds of the weekend to showcase debut album 'Knots'.

Live their old-school post-hardcore is much more immediate and provocative than on record, and the band really throw everything they have into their set. It's breathless stuff, and after seeing them live you get a sense of why comparisons are made to luminaries like Rival Schools.

From the Kites of San Quentin close the Night and Day stage in style, drawing heavily on excellent new EP '7.73Hz: Earth Chorus' to deliver a stunning set of the best future electronica in the city right now.

Finally, a dash to Gullivers finds math-noiseniks JazzHands making an unholy racket with two drum kits, bass and sax. Luckily they stay fully clothed for this performance, but it's undoubtedly the most abrasive and bizarre set of the weekend regardless.

Kicking off the Gulliver's stage on Sunday is local duo Bad Grammar. With a rising profile in part due to a superior live show, the boy-girl duo look poised to do great things if only they do not collapse under the weight of bullshit White Stripes comparisons. Though there is a noticeable blues twang at the edges of the guitar tone, cut from that cloth they are not. They're really more like a punk band masquerading as a grunge band that hangs around with math bands - if indeed that makes any sense at all. A melting pot of styles, they are at heart quite straightforward, and that's no bad thing.

Something completely different is found in the form of Base Ventura at Soup Kitchen. Fried psych rock in the vein of White Hills or perhaps Gnod, they make an arresting racket. There's a few giddily satisfying moments when all the elements coalesce into a perfect whole, but as is often the case with live psych, it's not clear if that's as a result of deft composition or serendipity. Next up are Sparrowhawks, whose poised folk stylings are a breath of fresh air after such an intense beginning to the day. There's a gentle intensity and drama to what they're forging under all the vocal harmonies, and it'll be interesting to see what their compositional efforts create when they turn to a debut album.

The Slaughterhouse 5 at Soup are completely baffling. The more cabaret-like parts of their live show suggest a group like The Flaming Lips but underneath it all their music is eclectic indie-rock with a pronounced post-rock twist. They sound like The Crimea might have sounded, in fact, had they not been so bloody-mindedly apocalyptic about everything and actually capable of smiling on stage.

After that, it's a prog double-bill with longtime stage-sharers Cyril Snear and Trojan Horse at Gulliver's. Debuting some new material after the release of this year's excellent 'Riot of Colour' album, Cyril Snear are best described as sounding a bit like Oceansize. That is, they don't really sound like Oceansize, but they have the same knack for pulling together disparate strands of experimental guitar music and presenting it like it was supposed to be played that way all along.

Trojan Horse, meanwhile, are very much further down the organs and capes spiral of nonsense. An absolutely brilliant live outfit, like their closest comparison The Mars Volta they're a hardcore band turned prog, and as the three Duke brothers interlace three-part harmonies with shredding punk riffs it comes as very welcome news that their second album is on the way.

Johnny Foreigner put in a solid set on the de facto main stage at Soup - which sounds markedly more punk rock than their records - before it's time for the final band of the weekend. Known for their occasional moonlighting performances as Well Weezer, local punks Well Wisher have drafted in some members of Alcopop! records buddies Doctrines for tonight's performance, and an awesome weekend is seen out in style with sing-alongs, crowd-surfing and the world's tiniest stage invasion. Brilliant.

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Time to break the long silence on here - have been rather occupied with other things of late. So Elohymn were an incredible post-rock/math-prog band I wrote about years ago back when I first started hammering away on the keyboard. I think I could be forgiven for assuming that after a long period of silence, few gigs and some missed emails that they had given up... but no. As it turns out, last year they released not one but two excellent EPs, and rather than bore you to death with my opinion, I'm going to do a one word review and then direct you to kindly go and fucking listen already

Review: insanityawesomeghostintheshellfutureprog


Saturday, 6 October 2012

Back This!

What can I say, I still love Asian Man Records. Watch the video, read the blurb and get really excited about this project.

Monday, 10 September 2012

New Music Roundup

This is a city blog that I wrote for DIY with my city blogger hat on - but as it's a bit too general it ended up not getting used. It's got loads of new (and a lot of free) music in it, so if you want to check out some new music, read right on. So, without further ado then....!

Hello again. In this instalment of the city blog I was rather hoping to have brought you front-line reports from 2000 Trees and Tramlines in Sheffield, along with some choice local gig action, but in the end an unexpected hospital visit kind of fucked that plan all to hell. Instead therefore, you get a run-down of great free music that I crawled through Bandcamp to find while I was off work recovering. Hooray!

First though, it's time for a bit of gushing praise: two demos sent in after my last column have been firmly on repeat – the first, by Tall for Jockeys is publicly available free from Bandcamp. It's called 'Get Japan on the Phone' and is like an awesome, angry, super-raw Reuben all up in your face. ( There's plenty of subtle hints at inner depth but ultimately it's a rocking, hollering slab of unpretentious brilliance. Second is Embers, who have this whole kind of industrial-post-rock-lo-fi thing going on that's a lot harder to describe. It is, to use an NME word, 'anthemic'; however, unlike the calculated edges of boring hype music like Wu Lyf, Embers' edges are real, born of shitty home recordings that capture so much attitude and menace I almost don't want to hear the result of them in a proper studio (this from somebody who distrusts the lo-fi movement and thinks that all drums should be legally required to be recorded by Chris Sheldon).

A band that don't suffer from under- or over- production on the other hand are Glasgow's Crusades, whose new EP is going to melt faces when it hits in September; for now get free track 'Pseudo Andro' free from their Bandcamp and get blown away like the guy from the Maxell ad by their ATDI-meets-Dillinger Escape Plan insanity. Insanity, I tell you!

Now, on to the free stuff. A band I really have been frankly rude in overlooking until this point is Alpha Male Tea Party, who deal in the kind of mathy heaviness that a good portion of Yourcodenameis:milo fans are probably still craving to claw themselves back from cold turkey. If you count yourselves among that – let's be honest – elite team, then get their album 'AMTP' from their Bandcamp for free or a delicious physical copy.

While Giants Sleep are a Swedish rock band with post-rock elements that have honed their craft down to snappy alt-rock songs that are practically lethal on their second EP, 'You Are A Landscape'. With hints of everything from The Verve to At the Drive-In, it's a pretty eclectic offering, and it's proven very hard to topple from top of my playing pile this month. That the opening track is the weakest speaks volumes for a release with such a great opener, but it really does progressively improve – by finisher 'Titans' you'll be standing on the sofa hollering the chorus too. Their first EP is also free, and while it may not be quite as accomplished it's an interesting post-hardcore affair that signposts the steps the band were yet to make with their newest material.

For those of a djenty persuasion, I recently came across this utter gem – Aion by Lithium Dawn. Though it's surely got to be at least a runner up for worst album artwork ever, the music will absolutely blow you away – doubly so since I guarantee the album art will set your expectations real fucking low. Part in that school of melodic atmospheric rock that includes Perfect Circle, Failure, Far and Ashes Divide, part firmly in the progressive metal territory of Tool or djent of Periphery, it's a thrillingly-executed modern metal album with such consistent quality that there's not a dull moment on it. Quite probably one of the albums of the year – it's that good.

Not really a new band, but Australia's brilliant post-rockers Sleepmakeswaves – currently on tour with Karnivool, have put up the majority of their back catalogue up on Bandcamp for free. If you've not already heard them, they're probably best for fans of This Will Destroy You, Oceansize and Hammock. Check it out here.

Masaka are a band from Canada, and they sound sort of like veteran grunge bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur's first album, with added fuzz. Strictly if you're into 'Siamese Dream' era Smashing Pumpkins and that whole attendant scene, but a lot of fun nevertheless.

Best song title this month goes to the track 'Dinner and a Movie on a Post-Apocalyptic Earth: 12 Bottle Caps, Successfully Repopulating the Human Race: Priceless' by Californian math band The Speed of Sound in Seawater, who according to their bio are “BFFs” - cool. Coincidentally, you can get this weird math-rock ballad here.

Penultimate thing: October's Carefully Planned festival has announced its line-up, and it is shockingly good. Aside from AMTP there are a ludicrously huge number of great mathy and progressivey post-rock bands playing, so check out the event listing on Songkick here. (

Finally, a brief hype alert: after seeing them live twice (with Yeti Lane in June and Plank! last week), it appears that Leeds' Hookworms are as good as the hype. That is all.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Rival Schools

United By Fate


I'll admit, I'm pretty late to the whole Rival Schools party; in hindsight it seems almost like sacrilige that a band so close to the bands I like the most should have so wholly and totally missed my attention, but ho hum, there it is. Anyway, a lot of words have presumably been penned about this record at one point or another, and I have no desire to add a huge number more to them. What I will say is that if you're into any number of vaguely interesting or experimental bands that namecheck post-hardcore bands from the late 90s, you'll probably love Rival Schools. Except of course you already know this; it's only me that's late to the party.

So, Travel by Telephone, the opener is a brilliant trainwreck of rock attitude and pop melodies, a theme that extends to oft-checked highlight High Acetate. Used for Glue is very much at the other end of the Rival Schools spectrum; heavy and emphatic, it's probably the sort of track that inspired so many emo bands to list them as a reference (and probably help towards me not checking them out at the time). That said though, I actually kind of prefer that full-tilt sound. Tracks like Good Things may have a seductive groove and an attractive post-grunge single chorus, but in truth when I want that I'll go to Silverchair instead, thanks.

Right then, Rival Schools. Get a copy, introduce yourself to the four named tracks above and then delve deeper if you like; I'll post a review of their long-awaited follow-up Pedals on here soon. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Claw the Thin Ice / Pooch - The Bay Horse, Manchester

It's not often that you get home from a  gig and immediately feel compelled to put pen to paper (as it were), but tonight's performance by Claw the Thin Ice and Pooch simply had to be shared. I'm not going to mention headliners NASDAQ – not because they weren't excellent, for they were – because I've already written about them here and elsewhere at some length.

Anyway, so Claw the Thin Ice then. It's pretty much a given that anything Ian Breen (he of Well Wisher and Day for Airstrikes) goes near will end up being pretty good, but Claw the Thin Ice are probably the best thing he's currently involved with. Essentially a power-pop band drawing on the coolest modern punk around, they've added to this template a shoegaze sensibility and wall-of-sound attack. Consequently, although they have many of the trappings of a contemporary pop punk or US indie group, they actually sound more like Velocity Girl – the sort of band that Sub Pop was signing in the early 90s. A tight rhythm section and catchy, aggressive drum riffs recall My Vitriol, while washed out, earnest vocals with great, simple melodies round things off. They don't have any music recorded yet, so you'll have to catch them live if you want to hear.

Second up were Pooch – who were also sick. Wholly instrumental, I'm not sure exactly how to describe their sound; there's bits of bands like Don Caballero or Battles in there, and their bassist certainly knows how to play to the strengths of a three-piece setup. I'm not sure if a) I just want to talk about Rush or b) they actually sound a little Rush-like, but, well, Rush. Yeah, I went there. Like I said before, the fact their bass player isn't afraid of the higher frets frees up the guitar for greater and more expressive experimentation, and a focus on sharp melodies is welcome. Rounded off by another aggressive drummer and the occasional “whoa” vocal, there's a little bit of the hardcore early ...Trail of Dead in there too – and of course, that is no bad thing.

(I've got some photos of the show too, so I'll upload them when I get the chance)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

First Thoughts on Bloc Party - Four

I doubt I'll get around to a full review, but given I've got some spare time while proofreading my friend Jake's novel I thought I'd stick on the stream of the new Bloc Party album (here, in case you didn't know) and scribble something, so here goes. 

Well, on Four it's so obvious that Russell has been playing with Ash for two years and listening to Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins and Deftones all day for starters. There's also a heavier vibe in the rhythm section and some more mathy tendencies (think early Biffy or ATDI) - but then, Gordon being in Young Legionnaire will clearly have resulted in a lot of 'milo records being played... so probably that shouldn't be a surprise. 'V.A.L.I.S.' bears the hallmarks of their compromise between electronics and guitars that increasingly took over the band first time round, but it's very much the exception to the rule. Bottom line is that track aside the new album almost sounds like a different band!

That's about it really. 

For the record, I actually quite liked all of the random electronic stuff they did on Intimacy, but this genuinely is more of a break for them than anything they've done before - and dare I say it, I'm actually excited about this coming out. Shit, I might even pre-order it. Madness.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Piracy is Dead

Piracy is Dead
...or at the very least, why the music industry isn't either.

On this blog I'm no stranger to sweeping titles. Some of the most popular content on here (as Google Analytics has it, anyway) are my two articles "Spotify is Dead (Long Live Spotify)" and "The End of Music?", so it's in the spirit of those pieces that I have decided upon the name for this piece. To counter my own title: no, piracy is not dead, nor is it dying; but its threat to the mainstream music industry may now be truly at an end, and I would argue soon the act of music piracy itself will gradually fade back towards being a niche activity, with a corresponding economic impact. Let's break this down.

I: Piracy as Niche and the Torrenting Music 'Fan'

In the biggest, most self-righteous arguments (and yes, I have been guilty of this many times) about the relative morality of illegal downloading, a 'fact' is often trotted out by pro-downloaders: music fans that illegally torrent are more likely to pay for music more often than the norm. Great, you might say - and I'll put my hands up at this point and state that Chinese whispers aside if anybody can locate a more empirical version of this annoyingly vague truism then I'd be glad to hear it - but is there any evidence of that? Well, the two or three most likely examples are probably Metric, Nine Inch Nails or Radiohead, and I'm not going to bore anyone by going over those case studies again. What I will say is that all three examples rely on not just the act of downloading to build a business model, but that interaction itself being directly between fan and band; that is to say, the band as brand is benefiting from the free download. This 'free, legal' download model was briefly in vogue enough that Sub Pop suggested monetizing t-shirt sales and offering free downloads, and we started a record label based on the concept; but from what we've seen, all the goodwill in the world can't bypass a rough rule of thumb: it takes ten free downloads to get a paid one, and the paid download is often not worth enough to make up the shortfall.

Now, there are several things wrong with my assumptions there, so let's dive in: yes, we don't pay distro costs so actually our 'loss' is minimal; no, there isn't a marginal cost, so we don't 'lose' anything in the strict material or financial sense; yes, we do get increased exposure (presumably) due to people being able to get hold of the release for free. The problem we have is that we're trying to build bands up from scratch and logic dictates that both early evangelists and close friends and family are those the most likely to dig deep to support a young or new band - when that release (as it often is) is released for free, then while the amount of money sacrificed may be small, it has a big potential effect in terms how that could be reinvested. Anyway, I digress.

So, the point to take away from this is that the torrenter is interacting with a torrent site that are experiencing value being added to their brand rather than the band, and that's kind of a shame.

The point that's relevant to my argument is this: these people are a small niche and they do not matter in a commercial sense. Whatever their behaviour might or might not be in practice, 99% of people are not 'true fans' anyway; 99% of people do not 'torrent a lot'; 99% of people will not re-purchase legally. The people that would 'kill the music industry' are the people who buy an album a month, or every six months; the casual fans. If these casual fans turned to torrenting by default, then we'd have problems. They haven't all done so, and since we know that it's only a niche continuing to do so ('true fans' or not), there will continue to be an avenue to monetize music to an audience. If piracy had become the norm then the music industry would die, but neither has come to pass - the problems are more about record labels now being risk averse and pandering more to the mainstream with lowest common denominator music that they can guarantee ROI on through iTunes.

The problem with the alternative free models and a lot of the industry navel-gazing over the past few years is that the 'innovative' artists have already been established, or in the case of Adele and her apps, plugged into a mainstream audience. There aren't many post-Napster indie superstars, and I'll talk about that later.

I would suggest that by bulk pricing - without even breathing a word over range of music - retailers like HMV and the supermarkets are bigger threats to music now.

II: Monetization of Content
Okay, so one of the biggest triggers for this piece is the following situation. Provided by a PR with an MPE for an album I was to review, I found (like many before me) that the PlayMPE system is poorly conceived, patronising and difficult to use. Thus, I took to the internet to find an illegal, DRM-free version so I could listen on my commute and actually have time to write the review. Five minutes searching and an hour of downloading later and I had my album; however, when I clicked to unpack the zip it asked me for a password - pretty standard stuff, so I checked the folder and, lo and behold, there was a ReadMe. Great, I thought, opening that file instead only to be confronted with a url. A little bit pissed off, I copied it and threw it into my browser, only to be taken to a page prompting me to fill in a consumer survey to 'unlock my download'. Oh, ffs. The funny thing is, I've talked to people about this, and it's becoming more and more common. Pirates or people hosting content that's potentially of dubious provenance are trying harder than ever to monetize it, and the bottom line is that if you make it hard or costly to get hold of illegal content, people won't bother.

Demand in this instance is completely inelastic, and though it's a given people won't tolerate the marginal price increase of even a penny, they also will be loath to deal with the marginal time increase of five minutes dealing with a survey - they'll simply go to Spotify instead. Okay, so 'on air on sale' has basically been abandoned (why? Do the majors not get it, or are they simply trying to sell fewer records?) which means there might be a delay in finding it on iTunes, but you can bet it'll be on Grooveshark. Yes, before you point it out of course Grooveshark is a) illegal and b) doesn't pay fees to artists, but it's either going to have to get with the program or be sued out of existence, so I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that in a post-Grooveshark world people will either pre-order or, should 'on air on sale' be adopted once more, just stream the record. It will come to be a trade-off between the poles of time and money - and since iTunes continues to do a roaring trade, I'd hazard a guess that for your average consumer, convenience will eventually win out.

III: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept that I am in an Indie Band, or The Fate of Alternative Music
I know lots of people in bands. The problem is this: there have always been lots of bands, but now the playing field is exceptionally level. The barriers to entry for distributing your music on Bandcamp are non-existent, and besides how professional say your website looks or how many 'fans' you have on Facebook (a complete red herring, but never mind), there's no at-a-glance way of telling bands apart in terms of relative success. What it all means is this - in a DIY world of perfect competition, it's really hard to grow to be a large band. I see this as a writer with slightly niche music taste; I know that all the bands I could ever want to hear are out there somewhere, and just because I know they are it suggests the number of bands that are quite alike is also very large. No longer do you have to purchase only Radiohead or Sonic Youth records as a catch-all for alternative because you can't find bands in between. No, whatever you want to hear is out there, and that's both liberating and terrifying. There's an infamous interview with the Guardian where Field Music reveal just how little they earn, and I think that's sort of the norm now. Even for a creative band that have found their niche, found their audience and convinced them to buy a record, there's a glass ceiling that is very hard to break through even with $99 boxsets (cough, Crosses - who can also play on the fanbases of Far and Deftones). The point is, there's not much money to be made unless you can capture the mainstream in some way, and the majors just aren't interested for the most part.

A sub-point in all of this is the proliferation of what is often called the 'micro-label'; closely tied in with both the DIY ethos and the spread of web services like Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Wordpress, many bands have either transformed into tiny labels of their own or grouped into small co-op labels. Individual tastemakers and scenesters have also created labels, and it seems that a slight bump in exposure generated by curation as well as the validation of being 'on a label' mean that bands are still keen to sign. Even up to small indie status many labels expect bands to do their own recordings, but having promotion and distribution paid for is still attractive enough presumably to generate a small but essential ecosystem of labels that people buy into because of the ethos of the small group or individual behind them. Blogs like Beardrock and Echoes and Dust have recently made the transition, but the spiritual forefathers are labels like Big Scary Monsters, Brew, Blood and Biscuits and Sonic Cathedral (among many, many others) that made the jump a little ahead of the pack.

The problem of course that these artists and labels find is that touched upon earlier - that alternative music fans are more likely to be net-literate and download savvy, so that they are hit with the double whammy of low investment or income and low sales as a result of the combination of self-funding or being on a micro-label and low sales. Ouch.

I remember the guys behind UnConvention telling me that they did a workshop where they went into a school and found that kids had actually paid for something like 10% of the total music that they owned. Shocked by this, they went home and looked through their record collections - and realised that as children of the home taping generation, their record collection at that age probably ran to a similar ratio. As a child of the briefest of fads - home CDR burning - I'm sure this is true of some of my friends, but the thing is we weren't ever interested in Maroon 5 albums (it was 2003-5, hence that blast-from-the-past reference), we were interested in alternative albums, and it doesn't take too many people from a cult band like Oceansize or The Beta Band's fanbase to burn instead of buy to make a real impact on their fortunes. Again, like illegal downloading I'd say that tech-savvy alt kids are most likely to be guilty of it, except that in the downloading age the speed (much quicker than a 4x drive anyway) and ease means they can get hold of more. Even if that increase is only one album a month on what we grew up with, that across a large number of people adds up to a huge hit in lost revenue - and damages the bands that can least afford to lose it.

IV: The Obvious Stuff
a) The UK record industry is now back in growth, largely as a result of digital sales.
b) There will always be a market for sentimental, tacky pap (to quote Jack Black in High Fidelity).
c) Streaming revenues are on the increase, and this will benefit major labels et. al - but the withdrawal of many indies from the Spotify platform shows distrust at other levels in the extent to which streaming is a substitute for ownership. This is clearly not good if you want to heavily monetize a fan base of 10,000 as opposed to generate streams from 30 million users.