An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Where have I been? What time do you call this?

How long has it been??

What can I say? It's been a topsy turvy set of months. I've been trying to tighten the purse strings for a while and then the smack in the face I really didn't want was the collective genius known as Brexit.

It seems to be a hippy dream ideal to want to live in a world where borders, race, sexuality and gender need have no real profile and are irrelevant, but that seems a dream moving further from reality. In a short period where David Bowie has left us and the world seems to have hardly noticed the legacy that just one man left behind, the country I live in seems to becoming more and more intolerant and regressive as time passes.

Why is this relevant I hear you say? Because the vote by the British public whether to leave the European union has its many sides to argue, but out of it has come an intensity of bigotry and a licence for intolerance. For those that may not know what has happened in this country, the place where I dropped from my mother and therefore am expected to have allegiance in gratitude, every person eligable to vote was asked to decide whether to leave the European Union. While I have my own opinions on the matter, the biggest argument to come out of the debate to leave was to stop the "legions" of foreigners "taking over our beloved country". This seemed to give voice to an otherwise quietly shamed population of ageing racists that revelled in the opportunity to be brash about their colonial attitudes.

But I digress, the outcome of this shameful set of proceedings was the majority vote going to the campaign to leave the European Union. Out of this moment of genius, the British pound slumped making the vast majority of what I needed to collect, stupidly expensive. Just Great! So apart from racism becoming a little more of an acceptable attitude and, of course, the rest of the baggage that goes along with those bigoted opinions, prices in the rest of the world have shot up, including postage rates.

There have been some interesting developments that have not gone by unnoticed in my slow period though. There have been some interesting statements that some of the earlier 4AD releases came in glossy covers and the later ones had a more matt finish. This has only been on a couple of UK releases, but I can't verify at the moment if there is any truth in it, but I am on the case. There was also a release, again from the UK, that came with both the negative and positive female wrestlers photos on the centre label. Again, I have to get this verified myself before I can give any definitive answer as to whether it's true, but I will update my findings here.

Another interesting development over the past year has been the number of music collection exhibitions taking place. These have ranged from photographic collections and memorabilia to actual record collections. These have been rare and scattered over Europe, but an interesting development none the less. I find this interesting because it is what I am aiming to do with my collection in 2030, on 4AD's 50th anniversary. I still have no idea where, or if anyone in the world will be remotely interested in it, but I'll worry about that nearer the time.

I was also fortunate enough to see Sex Gang Children recently as well. As with the Peter Murphy tour done recently, there is a new trend for older bands to play either an old album or do a tour playing the songs from an earlier period. The Peter Murphy gig was mindblowing, playing just the old bauhaus songs. All the songs had so much energy and were so fresh and new, 35 years on. Sex Gang Children did a similar thing, playing songs from the Song and Legend era. The music was just so refreshing and unique and full of ghusto. I was fortunate enough to meet Andi Sex Gang after the show and I just had to tell him how privileged I felt to be able to see himself and Peter Murphy play such material having been too young (just) to miss it the first time around. As I said to Andi Sex Gang, I find it so strange that with the acceptance of all types of music nowadays without the extreme elitist tribalism that always used to be so prelevant that, of all the music styles being performed by the younger bands, hardly anyone picks up and experiments with these styles of music. There is simply nothing like early Bauhaus and Sex Gang Children around anymore, which is such a crying shame.

I also have the knack of coming across the most amazing finds when I'm strapped for cash. It's been a tight year financially and the collection has had to take a back seat. It's always under these circumstances when one of the Lonely As An Eysore boxes comes up for sale. Predictably one has. This is arguably THE 4AD collection piece, a beautiful wooden box, limited to 100 copies, of which only 30 ever went on general sale to the public. It exchanges hands for around £1300 on a few occasions and rarely comes up for sale. Needless to say, once again it's outside my grasp, darn it!!

Finally, in keeping with the spirit of this blog entry and as an "up-yours" to the growing intolerance I seem to be noticing of late, I wish to inform my wonderful readers of the latest book by the author of "Facing the other way the story of 4ad" Martin Aston. He has a new book that came out on October 13th called "BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS OF HEARTACHE: HOW MUSIC CAME OUT" and described as "a comprehensive history – spanning a hundred years, starting in 1920s Harlem – of the queer pioneers of Popular Music with over 90 new interviews."

Hopefully I won't stay away so long next time

Monday, 16 May 2016

Cocteau Twins' Lullabies

I promised to add to this blog whenever I got every version of a release and show all the different versions. This is always tricky as how is one to know whether there are other versions other than than the ones I know about.

I thought I had every version of the Cocteau Twins' Peppermint Pig single for instance, but recently realised that a US version of the CD was released in 1991 and, although outside of the "First Ten Years" remit, still helped me paint a complete picture. So after acquiring that version, I've added it to the blog entry at the end, please reference here for the additional information (at the bottom of the page)

As I said, it's difficult to know sometimes whether there are other versions that exist. I used to think that there were only three versions of the Cocteau Twins first single Lullabies, only one of these being an original from 1982. When this happens, I hold back a little to give myself time to discover any other versions. Thankfully I did wait as I discovered what must be a very rare gem, so much so that I think I must also share this :

This is rocking horse poo and is about as rare to find as one of the these four versions of the Lullabies single. Somewhere out there may be something even rarer than the above, an original poster or postcard for the Lullabies single. I haven't found one yet, but as always, that doesn't mean that one doesn't exist. The image is taken from a book by Stefan Lorant published in 1937 called Liliput Pocket Omnibus

So here we go then, Cocteau Twins 1982 single Lullabies

(1) Netherlands 12"
(2) UK 12"
(3) UK CD
(4) US CD

The two CD's are re-issues from 1991. That is strictly outside of my collecting remit of the first ten years, but it would be a shame not to include them when there are just these four versions.

(1) Netherlands 12"- 4AD / CNR - 151.089 released in 1982

This is the rare one. Lullabies was the first Cocteau Twins single and was released in the UK and can be quite easily found. It wasn't until very recently that I discovered that it was also released in the Netherlands. The item on ebay had no photo and only had a description of the catalogue number. Discogs was a useful tool here, becasue even though it wasn't listed on Discogs, I could go to the CNR Weesp company to see if this catalogue was missing from the listings and it was. Something had to belong to the missing catalogue number, so I took it as a hint that this ebay item may be genuine....and it was!

This version has a slightly darker contrast on the cover than the colouring of the UK version.

The back cover has a slight amendment to the 4AD logo at the bottom :

It shows the catalogue number which is poorly printed and a little blurred (Do not adjust your set)

As is also the text "Marketed by CNR Weesp" in the bottom right corner

The labels are intersesting, as they resemble the 4AD labels of the previous year (1981). If my label history of 4AD is correct (here), 4AD must have distributed left over (possibly??) labels from 1981 out of the UK for the non-uk releases. (4AD labels were still used for Bauhaus releases in Greece even when Bauhaus were no longer with 4AD but by then on Beggars Banquet)

These crumpled paper labels were used on UK releases in 1981 and then they moved onto other picture labels in 1982 (as you will see in release 2). This Netherlands version still has the crumpled paper picture and older black 4AD label design

(2) UK 12" - 4AD - BAD 213

The UK version is lighter and brighter in colour than the Netherlands version

The catalogue number on the back sleeve is at a 45 degree angle (who knows why)

On one side the label has the female wrestlers picture, typical of 4AD in 1982, one of three picture labels used that year

and the other label all in white also typical of 1982 and progressed on from the 1981 black label.

(3) UK CD- 4AD - BAD 213CD released in 1991

As with the CD single for Peppermint Pig, this was released for a singles box set. But either some were sold separately or since then, some scrupulous traders have split them on the second hand market to make more money.

The UK version comes in a slim CD jewel case and the cover is the same as the original 12" a typical single cover that folds over itself and shows the 12" back cover on the inside

(4) US CD- Capitol - C2-15766 released in 1991

As with the UK version, this was part of a set but could also have been sold seperatly. The colour of both the UK and US CD's are a pinky bronze colour. But the US disc is slightly darker in colour than the UK one

The front cover is different to the UK CD version as it only has a single piece with a white back, no folder over with the back cover of the 12".

The inlay is also quite different with both the Capitol and 4AD logos

These are the four versions I have found so far. As with the Peppermint Pig single, if I find any more, or even a postcard or poster, I will add it here and let you all know about it.

Full listing here on Discogs

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Utrecht International Record Fair 2016

I have seen adverts for the Utretcht International Record Fair for a few years now and always wondered what it would be like to see it for myself. I live in the UK, so getting there wouldn't be that difficult, but I'm far away from being a comfortable seasoned traveller. This is not helped by the fact that I have one of the greatest disadvantages of being English. That means I belong to a country where the language is spoken nearly the world over and so, many English people, myself included, don't ever feel the need to even try and speak another language. Don't get me wrong, speaking other languages gives a person great confidence and potential, but my problem, apart from being English and being awfully lazy as well, is that I'm just not cut out for languages at all. I can barely master English (as many of you readers may well be aware of) so I'm awful at other languages. This doesn't help one's confidence when planning to go abroad. I personally would think it ignorant if someone talked to me in England in another langauge and just expected me to understand them and help them. So I think it's ignorant of me to be the same abroad. But then, if I had to learn another language to go abroad, I simply wouldn't travel. So I drag my ignorant arse around other people's countries with no attempt at the local languages. This makes me ashamed to be so ignorant and lazy, which puts me off travelling. Thankfully I have a wife that isn't so ignorant, so she drags my sorry ass to places I wouldn't dare to go myself, because I'm pathetic!!

This holiday was supposed to be different. I really wanted to see if the International Record fair would restore my faith in record fairs in general and in the traders as well, after all it should be the pinnacle in record buying. So I talked about it with my wife, who said I should go. As usual, the idea excited me no end, but the prospect of dragging my ignorant arse across Europe quashed that excitement harshly. I know the rest of the world probably think that most British people are drunk, inconsiderate twats when abroad and so most foreigners expectations are likely considerably low anyway, but I have a problem with re-enforcing negative stereotypes. I like to think that as a person with strange dress sense and an alternative view on life, it's a life bonus to hit people that have a stereotype with a persona of intelligence and moral fibre (rarely found in many walks of life). I don't care what people think of me, I do care what I would think of me if I bumped into myself on the street. My wife says I think too much....which was the whole problem, I was going to go, then I talked myself out of it, then changed my mind again, then decided against it.

After a couple of months fighting with myself over the decision to go, my wonderful wife offered to go with me and just get the thing booked. So we did.

The flight only took an hour to Amsterdam. We booked a hotel in Utrecht right next to the train station, which was actually reasonably priced for it's location and was only a stone's throw away from the location of the record fair as well. The trains from Amsterdam Airport to Utrecht are every 15 minutes and it takes about 30 minutes travel time. We took out extra luggage space for the flight, just in case I found loads of stuff at the fair and needed to bring all that heavy vinyl back in a suitcase ( only hand luggage was included in the flight price). I had no idea if I would return empty handed or packed to the gills with so much stuff that I would be overweight at the airport check in on the way back....I had no clue if this fair would be the same as all the other UK fairs and be a total disapointment, but just bigger, or be an absolute delight.

The fair runs over two days, Saturday and Sunday. If the pickings were amazing, I may do both days, if they weren't, I may be going crazy by lunch time. We booked 4 nights at the hotel, so if my worst fears were realised we would still have time to look around Utrecht and even Amsterdam. Besides which, Holland has so many record shops, surely the backup of those may rescue an otherwise disastrous trip. There was plenty to do otherwise. So I booked tickets just for the Saturday in advance, that way if the fair was awful, at least I wouldn't have wasted a weekend ticket. If the fair was unbelievably good, I could still go on the Sunday as well and buy a ticket on the door. The tickets where about 12 Euro's each for one day and the weekend ticket wasn't much cheaper than buying the two days individually. There are supposed to be around 500 stall holders, but I have seen this before where exagerations border on complete lies.

The most difficult thing about the trip would be inconsideratly dragging a bored wife around with me for 5 days. Usually when my wife books a holiday, I remain totally ambivalent to the prospect, even right up to the day itself. This is mostly becuause of the reasons explained earlier and also becasue of the uncertainty that usually goes with a holiday. I like to know what to expect and have every scenario covered, which when it comes to holidays abroad is just unreasonable and impossible. This time, although there were still so many unknowns about this trip, I was excited and my wife was completly non-plussed. Once we got on the way to the airport though, we had everything planned and discussed beforehand. I just bought the Saturday tickets for us both with the option of doing Sunday if needed. I printed off a booklet of my 4AD collection from Discogs and also another booklet of my wantlist from Discogs too. The plan was for me to hunt through the records on each stall and when I found something that had potential, my wife would look the item up on my list. That would keep us both involved and hopefully try and minimise her boredom. She took her kindle book reader anyway just in case.

We arrived in Utrecht on the Friday afternoon and booked into the Hotel NH Utrecht, a surpisingly nice hotel. We had a tip to get a room as far up as possible as recent renovations had started at the top of the tower and worked down. The room was wonderful on the 15th floor and had an amazing view over the south of the city. After settling in we went out into the city to get something to eat. The Utrecht Centraal train station has quite a few fast food eateries that open quite late. The city centre canal has quite a selection of places to eat. We wanted to find some traditional Dutch food, but found that difficult to find. Instead, like in the UK, there were loads of Italian, Indian, Turkish and Greek restaurants and after a long day we just settled for an Indian, which was wonderful. While in there waiting for our food to arrive, two men just finishing and leaving the restuarant asked me if I was a trader at the fair, he thought he recognised me. They were traders themselves and like many we bumped into over the weekend, especially at the hotel, they had set up that day ready for the weekend.

The fair opens at 9am on Saturday. I planned to get there early to maximise the day, although I had read a review of previous fairs that told me that the Saturday is for enthusiastic collectors and Saturday morning brings the highest prices. Sunday tends to be cut price attempting to lure the passer by rather than the avid collector.

There is a map of the trade hall showing the hundreds of traders and who they are and which pitches they hold. Each one also has a small description of what they sell, if they bother to tell you. From those I put together a battle plan of the most likely top targets to hit first. There is a whole section in the fair devoted to Metal / Punk / New Wave, but the list of best potentials seemed to be all over the place. At least I had a plan, which was a start, which gave me a zig zag through the floor and at least gave me a focus to start on.

Although the fair is advertised as being held at Jaarbeurs which looked on a map to be part of the Beatrix Theatre, in fact it's accross the road and is a massive exhibition centre. On the Saturday morning after a quick breakfast stop in the train station, we made our way to the exhibition centre. I wasn't sure how many people would be lined up at the entrance at the opening time and I even wondered if it would be best to hit the fair a little later to miss any initial rush. There were streams of people walking their way to the entrance, strangely a mix of all sorts of people. This mixture made me wonder if we were going the right way as a 50/50 gender mix is not the record fair norm at all. When we got in I realised why. The entrance queue moved pretty quickly as the tickets were all printed barcodes which got the public through pretty fast. Once zapped in, I was all ready to go, trader map in hand. But in front of us was a massive hall of antique traders. As far as the eye could see, there were tables of bronze and old wood. I remembered another review of the fair which talked about getting past the other halls of traders, non music related. We moved into another hall and the antigues had turned into comics and movie collectables. We couldn't find any music at all, just hundreds of traders and people looking at "vintage" collectables. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a yellow sign that stood over a stall which said "45's". As we neared the sign, the next hall showed a mixture of scruffy looking and poorly labelled traders selling cheap vinyl mixed with other souvineer stalls, this still wasn't the fair I was looking for. Through into another hall there was a half empty expanse and I thought that this would be it. There were a buch of food traders selling allsorts of fast food and more cheap vinyl traders that looked like the records had seen too many poor days. Through the food retailers though was another hall, filled with lots of vinyl traders covered in banners and hanging "eye catchers" as their backdrops.

My poor wife, I was really concerned with the hell I was going to put her through for the next few hours, but she had a brave face on and we started to tuck in. The first stall was just on the outside of the main hall and looked sparse. The guy with his missus behind the counter was wearing a leather jacket and looked like a full on metal rocker and his stall was half empty. When a trader lays out his stock flat on the table, he hasn't got much to sell. That stall didn't last long, onto the next one. The hardest thing moving from one planned stall to another was closing my eyes to the draw of signs such as "New Wave" and "Alternative" sections on other stalls. I was determined to stick to my plan and get to the what I thought was the most likely best hitters.

After the third or fourth stall and finding they had practically nothing of what they had advertised as having and nearly a half hour of finding nothing even close to any 4AD stuff on sale, I started to get frustrated and pulled away from my plan by the section signs on other traders stalls. The problem with the fair is getting lost if you randomly have no method of going through the stall holders. I should have crossed off the ones I had visited as after an hour, I couldn't remember which stalls I had been through already. I'm usually not lost easily and I'm well coordinated, yet already I was struggling. I think just starting at one end and working a way through may seem a logical way to hit the rows one after the other, but that just may take a week to work your way through. The size of the fair just can't be under estimated, it's fucking huge!

After about an hour and half way through my list, I still hadn't bought a thing. I have talked before about how easy it is to recognise early if you are onto a winner. If there are no Cocteau Twins or Pixies, there's every chance that you won't find anything else. I had found practically nothing and was suprised that I hadn't bumped into any Cocteau Twins at all, anywhere. I had on my list a reminder to drop in on the Discogs stall and simply just thank them for a great site. With all the problems that I do have with Discogs, next to what I had before, which was an annoying Excel spreadsheet, it's an absolute godsend of a site. I turned up to the Discogs stall still empty handed. A lovel lady greeted me and asked if I had used Discogs. Of course I had to tell her how much I liked Discogs and also how much it also annoyed me as well, particularly the online snobbery of some of it's ardent users. She asked me to get in touch with her about any behaviour, but you can't stop people being gits online, otherwise there would be practically no-one on the internet. She left me her card and gave me a free vinyl carrier and some Discogs stickers. It was good to put a personal face to Discogs.

After a quick loo break, I finally bought an item. I was off finally after nearly two hours of nothing. There were quite a few items over the next few stalls that I already had. I was purposefully avoiding the UK stalls as I have practically everything on UK releases. It was amazing how easily I could spot a UK stall without talking to the trader or looking at the trading sign above the stall. Every UK trader had the same predictable stuff that I trawl through when at home at record fairs. There was more than once when I got halfway through a box and said "I think this is a UK stall" and lo and behold it would be.

In the centre of the Metal / Punk / New Wave section of the fair was an amazing trader that sold tons of Dark Wave, Industrial and Goth stuff. In there was the first Dead Can Dance stuff I had found as well as loads of cool stuff, unfortunately all ridiculously priced. There were a couple of Love Is Colder Than Death vinyl LP's both of which were priced at over 100 Euros each. The stall also had a Dead Can Dance picture disc, a bootleg, but a nice one. At first I thought the 20 Euro asking price was too much, but I changed my mind later in the day and by then it was gone. That's a lesson right there, if you see something and you are thinking twice about getting it, then just get it, because it may well be gone before long.

One other great stall was a Japanese owned stall of just Japanese releases. I got a Cocteau Twins and a This Mortal Coil releases from there. A lot cheaper than getting them posted from Japan. That stall also had good quality releases and all labeled very clearly. It was one of the best laid out stalls in the entire fair, very professional. By lunchtime we had resorted to just going up and down each aisle and picking out any New Wave or Indie section. The vast majority had absolutely nothing at all. Overall it was very surprising how few pickings there was. I still think that the main vinyl collecting market is still stuck in the sixties and seventies.

At lunchtime we pigged out on a disgustingly sickly waffle which just dripped with fat and sugar but filled a hole for a few hours. By the end of the day, this is what we had picked up :

The Breeders - Pod (4AD, Rough Trade - RTD 168) LP,
Cocteau Twins - Echoes In A Shallow Bay (Virgin, 4AD - 15VB-1064, BAD 511) 12"
Colin Newman - A-Z (Beggars Banquet - BEGA 20) LP,
Colin Newman - Provisionally Entitled The Singing Fish (CNR Records, CNR Records - 656 010, 656010) LP,
Colour Box - Breakdown (Second Version) (4AD, Megadisc - BAD 304, VR 22633) 12"
Dead Can Dance - Spleen And Ideal (DG Discos - DG-219) LP,
Modern English - After The Snow (Expanded Music - EX 28) LP,
Pixies - Monkey Gone To Heaven (Rough Trade, 4AD - RTD 052T, M1-266) 12"
Pixies - Surfer Rosa (4AD - VG 50372) LP,
Pixies - Surfer Rosa (4AD, 4AD, Rough Trade, Rough Trade - MD 7917, RTD 72) LP,
This Mortal Coil - Filigree & Shadow (Virgin - 60047) 2xLP,
This Mortal Coil - It'll End In Tears (4AD - YQ-7045) LP,
Various - Doctor Death's Volume I - Cette Enfant Me Fia Mourir (C'est La Mort - CLM001) LP,
Various - Lonely Is An Eyesore (DG Discos - DG-214)

...and also a non 4AD release I had on my wantlist, an LP I have been after for a while and is hilarious. 

Bad News (3) - Bad News (EMI, EMI - EMC 3535, 74 8310 1) LP,

My verdict on the Utrecht International Record Fair? It left me slightly warm. It was huge, there was a massive amount of vinyl on offer, but out of all that vinyl there small pickings from the 900 items I have on my wantlist. Record traders seem to be an internationally poorly organised set of beasts with a crazy variation of prices. There were a couple of items I already had that were priced in the range of a hundred Euros that just weren't worth that kind of money. Maybe on the Sunday they would have gone down in price, but after a full eight hours of searching, I was knackered and didn't fancy starting to rifle through A-Z boxes with all mixed genres in a hope of having a small amount of luck. My wonderful wife was also extremely knackered as well and hadn't moaned once all day. If it had been the other way around, I would have struggled to have been that patient and supportive. I am a lucky sod really.

I think I would go again. I would probably go row by row next time and pick out the labelled boxes on each stall. I may even confine myself to a Sunday to see if the prices are any better, although the pickings may be even slimmer by then as well.

Deciding not to go back on Sunday, gave us two days in Holland to do a spot of sight seeing. Utrecht is a wonderful place and well worth a visit. On the Monday we made a train ride to Amsterdam which in contrast is too busy and filthy next to the cleanliness of Utrecht (maybe because of all the drunk and stoned Brits that visit Amsterdam). There was always going to be an element of record shopping that had to be done when in Holland and the record fair just wasn't enough. So once again I dragged my poor wife around Amsterdam looking for what one website called the best record shops in Amsterdam. After hours once again spent looking through records, I finished with just one purchase :

The Birthday Party - Prayers On Fire (4AD, CNR Records - 656.009) LP, 

By Monday afternoon both my wife and I had had enough of records and went around Amsterdam on a boat trip trying not to waste our tour money by falling asleep in our seats. 

The whole experience was absolutely knackering. It was great to get home and get some rest. It's hard to know if it was all worth it for just 16 records. I suppose it beats doing it all online and I got to see some of Holland as well. Utrecht is a great city.

On a final footnote, if you ever go to a large fair such as this, take some hand cleansing gel with you. Once back home, I noticed that both my eyes had started with infections and it was only at that point I realised that I was handling goods that hundreds of other people had also rifled through. A good anti bacterial cleanser used occasionally may be a good idea.

Thanks for reading and sorry for taking so long once again to add a post. I will once again endeavour to make an effort and keep posting

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Business and Art, the eternal conflict

I had an interesting but short conversation with a couple of colleagues at work a couple of weeks ago where they suggested that all music and all films are made purely for money and nothing else. To say I was shocked at this universal statement of absolute truth would be an extreme underestimation. The shock turned to disbelief that there are so many people out there that think that way, which turned to great pity for those that never open themselves up to the beauty of the art that artists tear themselves apart to make.

After reeling from the shock for a couple of hours, it did make me think of how music has progressed and changed over the last century and how Indie labels have been the modern saviour of music as a real art form.

As popular music grew in the 1940's and 1950's an industry grew on the back of it, manufacturing, recording and managing artists that were as happy performing their music for themselves which was unprofitable to the entourage as they were to paying audiences. The lure of the big bucks meant better returns from artists that could be squeezed and manipulated to the industries target markets rather than the small time risky propositions of the artist that wouldn't bend to the will of the money men.

It made a certain business sense to control an artist towards a carefully prepared target audience. But already the music artist with wild ideas was left to pick at the bones of industry or have no backing at all if they didn’t tow the company line in creative thinking. Thankfully the Sixties saw many an example of artists breaking free of these moulds and yet still making huge slabs of money for the controlling industry, which changed the way the executives saw the potential in an artist and gave them more space to explore and craft their art. But even in the heady days of the Sixties and Seventies when vast amounts of wealth was coming in from music, the artists were seeing hardly any of it. Only the artists with good and ruthless personal managers managed to squeeze anything out of the industry that gorged and fed off the artist.

The late Sixties and early Seventies did see a lot of new artists given the chance to record music with little prospect of fame and fortune as the industry started trying to learn from the past by taking up the trend of throwing lots of different artists out into the world in a hope that some of them would skyrocket. But generally, this was just another business ploy, mostly poorly executed and, as always, the interest wasn’t in the music at all, but in the fortunes it could create. Artists hated the business and the business hated anything from the artist that wasn't a guarentee of big bucks.

If you play devils advocate, you can see that both sides needed each other. But artists would act as temper tantrummed children trying to get their own way and throwing their toys out the pram when they didn't get their way and record companies and managment teams would manipulate their artists and drop them whenever the big money peak wasn't maintained.

There were always small independent record companies around that found the talent which then bigger companies would snatch up when popularity loomed. They were never that succesful and didn't last very long.

When punk came along it drove a similar do-it-yourself mentality that the artists had over to those that loved the music and chose to release their music themselves. This spawned a new wave of independent labels, management and even distribution that cared about the music they pedalled unlike their predessessors who most of the time didn't even listen to the music they made money from.

It was still a far from perfect marriage between artist and business. Many artists not really knowing what the major labels and management had been like previously, still thought they had a poor deal and the new independents were either extremely inexperienced, or had more passion for the music than they had business sense. This is where labels such as 4AD, Beggars Banquet, Factory and Creation came from. Their passion for the music they handled and promoted was always undeniably evident, not for the money the artists could make them but because they loved the music.

The Eighties then became a very difficult time for these independents to try and find that elusive level between the love of the music and care for the business. Torn between the whole point of these labels which was to get amazing music heard against making enough money to be able to continue doing that, many indie's ran out of money and disintegrated. I have a lot of respect for 4AD as they were one of the few labels to manage that careful balance and be able to keep going when all around them were failing. Yet even through that whole period, the artists from all these labels still complained about being ripped off by their "greedy" or deceitful labels.

Many of the profilic small independent labels around today were inspired by these post punk labels such as 4AD. Not all of the labels in those early days were greedy business exploiters and not all the Indie's of the Seventies and Eighties were primarily lovers of the art they produced (Stock, Aitken and Waterman of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan fame were an Indie label who were a pure business with a marketing strategy that made their music and artists to fit that agenda. Yes they also made their artists), but today we have some amazing small labels that primarily do it for the love of music and any money made is a secondary blessing.

There is an interesting last footnote to all this. There is a growing trend for artists to look after their own business managment, funding, marketing and distribution themselves. Gary Numan is about to start completely from scratch on his new album through Pledge Music where fans can buy a special pass to have access to his 12 month process of writing, recording and even trying to find inspiration for an album he's not even started on yet. The idea of sites such as Pledge Music is for artists to get orders for an upcoming album so that money can be made to actually get them made. A clever idea which has been creatively used to judge demand for special editions and special packages and even to sell autographs and instruments from the sessions. All arranged by the artists themselves.

Also, where at one time artists toured to promote an album, increasingly an album is produced to promote a tour and an artist makes money from touring and the album is almost a promotional giveaway.

Most artists who create music, do it because it's a part of their soul, a part of their make-up. It's an unfortunate reality, that to get that art out to people costs money and money from such output allows an artist to live a life where they can create more art.

So is art created purely to make money? NO, I'm afraid an artists primary reason for creating art isn't money. If an artists states that money is the reason for making their art, they ain't artists in my opinion.