Tag Archives: Music

Sales charts and the lies they tell

8 Jan

by Mike Hansen

Michael Jackson Thriller zombiesNow that comics shops have only one nationwide distributor that carries the major U.S. publishers, it’s easy to look at Diamond’s sales figures and assume they’re pretty accurate. Except that Diamond adjusts the numbers for comics with various sales-incentive schemes, and doesn’t release figures on returns or overseas sales.

There are ways of tracking actual sales to customers (not just to retailers). The music industry used to certify Gold and Platinum albums based on how many albums were shipped to stores, not how many sold to customers. Then along came SoundScan, which revealed that a lot of so-called hits were getting returned unsold to the record labels.

Bookstores have a similar program called BookScan, but it doesn’t cover Walmart or book club sales, among others.

A friend shared with me a recent New Yorker article about the top-selling albums of all time, worldwide. It turns out that Michael Jackson’s Thriller didn’t sell anywhere near a hundred million copies, as Sony Music (remember them?) has claimed. Here’s the actual top ten sales (click on the article link for more):

1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”: 66,200,000
2. Soundtrack, “Grease”: 44,700,000
3. Pink Floyd, “The Dark Side of the Moon”: 44,200,000
4. Whitney Houston et al., “The Bodyguard”: 38,600,000
5. The Bee Gees at al., “Saturday Night Fever”: 37,200,000
6. The Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975”: 36,900,000
7. Bob Marley, “Legend”: 36,800,000
8. Led Zeppelin, “IV”: 35,700,000
9. AC/DC, “Back in Black”: 35,700,000
10. Shania Twain, “Come on Over”: 35,400,000

We already know Continue reading

Why a sequel to Watchmen? (Answer: $$$)

26 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Cover art for the 1987 U.S. (right) and U.K. (...

And then there was world peace, and they all lived happily ever after, The End (Image via Wikipedia)

Looks like it’s happening. DC’s throwing some high-level artists on Watchmen spinoff projects, and the general consensus is that it might be interesting, and that even the people who are complaining about Watchmen sequels (or prequels, or whatever, Who Cares) are gonna buy them. (I really need to find more comics to praise on this site, because it’s hard to keep up with complaining about the news coming from the comics world…)

I’m not surprised that DC is doing more Watchmen without Alan Moore; what surprises me is that it took them this long to pull the trigger. After all, Marvel didn’t touch Elektra after Frank Miller left Daredevil – until they decided they could make money off the character. Publishers that own characters will always put exploitation of their property before giving the creators the respect and control of their creations. (I wonder if Marvel’s ever going to pay Jack Kirby‘s heirs for all of the reprints of his work – not to mention all of the comics by others featuring his creations…)

The problem with sequels is that they’re rarely as interesting as the original vision, Chris Claremont’s first X-Men run notwithstanding. The more dependent a project is on previous material by other authors, the more I wonder why it even exists (from an artistic standpoint: obviously, with company-owned material, the reason is simply To Make Money).

Sure, in the Continue reading

Ice-T Goes White & Nerdy

25 Oct

by Mike Hansen

Cover of "Pimp to Eat"

Well, if not white, then he’s still light enough to go Incognegro…

This was a strange-but-good surprise: Ice-T and friends going Nerdcore, rapping about technology and comics characters in addition to smacking a bitch. It’s weird to hear the Godfather of Gangsta like this, but it’s cool that he still has tricks up his pimp coat’s sleeve.

On my last CD-buying spree in San Francisco, I picked up the stellar album Pimp to Eat by Analog Brothers, a side project from 2000 featuring Ice-T, Kool Keith and others. The tracks are filled with tight old-school sounds from 808s and 909s, with the kind of crazy dope flow typical of Kool Keith’s all-over-the-place eclectic approach. With lots of comic-book references, like track 6 (“Analog Anilalator vrs. Silver Surfer”) and track 2:

(obviously NSFW lyrics)

 

Some more classic cuts: Continue reading

ALL WEEK: The Week’s Most Popular Stories

25 Sep
Logo of Marvel Comics

You'll get your turn, don't worry. (Image via Wikipedia)

Once again shamelessly stealing this idea from Bleeding Cool

Based on the stories on this site so far, you’d think I was a hardcore DC fan: Not true! I AM a hardcore comics fan, but I’d say less than half of the comics I’ve held onto are from Marvel or DC. I’m just a fan of good comics, of good storytelling in our perfect medium of Words ‘n’ Pictures, and DC has been doing a lot that’s worth talking about lately: The New 52 is bringing a much-needed sales boost into many stores, which means that comics buyers are spending more and/or that lapsed DC readers are returning to comics to see if the New 52 will hold their excitement. Probably both. We’ll see if DC’s current approach (which so far hasn’t done much for me as a reader) works in the long term…

Anyway, I’ll get to Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Boom, and all of the other fantastic (and not-so-fantastic) publishers soon – promise!

Here are the week’s most-clicked-on stories: Continue reading

The Most Awesomest Music Videos You’ll Watch Today (NSFW Audio)

21 Sep

Scott Kurtz’s simple-yet-elegant takedown of the return of bad, ’90s pointless poses reminded me of this incredible series of videos on YouTube.

An unknown person (or persons) took all of the tracks from Girl Talk’s genius mashup album Feed the Animals (which features hundreds of incredible and unlicensed song samples) and created mashup videos for them. Without anyone’s permission. He/she just did it, and it is AWESOME.

Here’s the first one:

There are Continue reading

Free Friday Fun (Plus One Non-Free-But-Still-Cool Thing)

16 Sep
The box art for the PC version of Portal.

Unless you're blind, you should get this. NOW. (Image via Wikipedia)

A few things to start our weekend – all without spending a dime! Continue reading

MUST-HEAR Videogame Theme Song

13 Sep

No words can do it justice.

Via Comics Alliance, the most insane rock ‘n’ roll theme song for any superhero videogame EVER:

This started a LOLocaust in my house…

Lots o’ Links

12 Sep
The Brave and the Bold #28: Debut of the Justi...

Digital comics are one of the many tentacles of the comics market... (Image via Wikipedia)

After a week of blogging, I’m quickly figuring out that there isn’t enough time in the day to talk about everything that catches my attention. So I’m going to borrow from Drew McWeeny at Hitfix and just post a quick round-up…

Let’s go!

This could be one of the biggest stories of the year: CNet is reporting that Amazon is considering e-book subscriptions that would be, in essence, digital libraries. It’s like Continue reading

IKEA Redesigns the Iconic Billy Bookcase: Where Will All the Books Go?

11 Sep
Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT. (Cover via Amazon)

As more and more people switch from physical media to digital, the marketplace is starting to notice.

Time is reporting that Mega-retailer IKEA has redesigned is classic Billy bookcase:

The storage mavens at IKEA have noticed a shift in what consumers are storing in their bookshelves. After all, a Kindle can hold thousands more books than a wooden tower in the living room. According to The Economist, IKEA will release a new version of its classic BILLY bookshelf next month, one that’s focused less on storing books than storing, well, anything and everything else. The company is finding that customers use their shelves increasingly for “ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome,” and less so for reading material.

I’ve got a ton of IKEA Billy bookcases in my house, covering most of the available wall space. Graphic novels, manga, books, DVDs, CDs: my home practically looks like a library, and it’s gotten to the point where we have to be picky about what to keep and what to get rid of.

Billy Bookcases with Comics

Just two of my comics bookshelves... (Photo by Mike Hansen)

Where could this end up? With local communities Continue reading

New Model Army (or, Who Doesn’t Love Free Stuff?)

11 Sep
Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

The beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning? (Image via CrunchBase)

I love free stuff!

I can get free comics on Free Comic Book Day. I can get free gaming stuff on Free RPG Day. My arms are still recovering from lifting all of the free swag from Comic-Con. I love listening to all of the free music on the internet (legal or otherwise). I love watching free videos and movies online (thanks, YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, etc.!).

And there are a lot of people, especially younger folks, who love getting illegal copies of stuff for free online: music, movies, comics, books, you name it. What can be done about it? Honestly, not much: it’s just a giant game of whack-a-mole, and there are too many easy ways for people to disguise their IP addresses so they don’t get caught.

So how does an artist make money in this brave new world of Continue reading

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