Friday, May 23, 2008

Skeletons

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

With less than a week before I move to Las Vegas, I spent the majority of this week making necessary preparations for my migration. Lots of writing and lots of pre-writing. I must have gotten five or six columns/articles in the can and also edited several Truckin' stories.

I also put in at least 50+ hours on Coventry in the last week and expect to work another 20+ hours over the weekend. There's a still slew of material that I need to pre-write that can be published in a couple of a weeks. Coventry has evolved into a music blog but at heart, it's still a Phish blog and I write most of the "Today in Phistory..." posts. I'm currently working on a project that involved Phish's tour of Japan in 2000. And that's my main focus the next couple of days.

The good news is that the hard work has been paying off. On Monday of this week, we experienced our highest day of traffic at Coventry... 2,227 visitors. That's peanuts compared to Tao of Poker traffic, however, on consecutive Fridays Coventry actually posted equivalent numbers to Tao of Poker. Those happened to be among the top 5 traffic days since the inception of Coventry while those same days represented some of the lowest traffic this year on Tao of Poker.

A tale of two blogs. I never get excited about certain things with Tao of Poker. It's been a job for a couple of years now and will continue to do so. Whereas Coventry is still a "cool website that I write on with my friends." I love the community aspect of Coventry and the music scene. After spending three plus years in the poker industry, I was reminded of how much I missed music.

Coventry grows every day and with that comes growing pains. We got our second ever cease and desist order earlier in the week when an indie record company was in a hissy because BTreotch posted a link which had a download to a band's upcoming album that had not been released yet. They left passive aggressive comments. The Joker and I didn't want to give in. We were ready to take a hard stance since we were like the fourth or fifth website to mention the link and we didn't even upload the original. Why were they getting on our case? We were trying to promote them.

In the end, I left the decision up to BTreotch since it was his post. He elected to take it down and we supported his decision. Of course, they blew it.

BTreotch is also a musician and has an amazing musical ear. He's particular in the stuff he recommends. His mixes are infamous and weird and refreshing. He went out of his way to say amazing things about the band. They would have gotten a lot of new fans and converts had they left us alone. They underestimated the power of BTreotch and Coventry. Their loss, not ours.

What pisses me off the most is that Btreotch mentioned that band no one ever heard of on the highest trafficked day in the history of the site. Our coverage was heavy on Radiohead and Phil Lesh & Friends (since hey just finished two big tours) and that band no one ever heard of got mentioned in the same breath as one of the most popular bands on the planet and in the same breath as one of the original members of the Grateful Dead. That tiny little band was mentioned among legends in the music industry. And instead of thanking us, they were threatening us with lawyers. We're web hippies and they want to stomp us with lawyers. Talk about blowing a chance to be discovered by sincere music lovers. It's that sort of antiquated thinking that will run that band into the ground.

There is a major paradigm shift happening in the music business. The power is no longer within the record companies since no one is buying albums these days. Kids are spending their money elsewhere and get their music for free on the internet. Only hip hip and country sales seem to be driving the market and ironically those genres also represent purchases from a fair amount of people on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder. Aside from niche tastes (Classical and Jazz), only people with an aversion to technology actually buy CDs... and those seem to be people 40+.

When was the last time you actually bought a music CD?

I have picked up a couple of albums on iTunes in the last few months. And that's my last resort if I can't find a copy somewhere on the intertubes or have a friend of mine upload a copy to a file sharing service like mediafire, megaupload, or send space.

I bought a Live Phish release on CD a few months ago because it came with a bonus CD and a cool t-shirt. I just wanted the t-shirt. I recall that my brother bought me a series of Jazz CDs a couple of Christmases ago. My buddy TC gave me an Ali Farka Toure CD for my birthday. But I really can't recall the last time I went into an actual record store and bought a CD.

I get a lot of promotional CDs from PR companies. Just before I left NYC, I got a copy of Steve Winwood and Newton Faulkner's CDs. I couldn't even give both away.

The first CD I ever bought? I was in high school. It was the summer before my senior year. A friend of mine went away to college and since his roommate already had a CD player, he loaned me his. He also loaned me few CDs that he didn't take with him like Van Halen, The Cars, and The Band. At the time, I was on a Grateful Dead kick. I went to Tower Records in the Village and bought Skeletons from the Closet. I was obsessed with Uncle John's Band and Casey Jones... both songs that the classic rock station WNEW played all the time.

That was almost 20 years ago.

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