The music industry is….dumb

Every once in a while I’ll take a look at the ITunes top 10 album chart.  I find this to be a far more accurate indicator of what people are listening to.  Billboard and all the other charting companies don’t factor ITunes sales into their figures.  That’s a shocking oversight given the dominance Apple has gained thru ITunes.

Does anybody really even buy cd’s anymore? Now that Apple has removed all the DRM’s from their music, there’s just no reason to buy a cd at a retail outlet anymore.

Thus a review of the ITunes top 10 albums is usually good for a laugh and a shake of the head.  When what did my wonderous eyes see?  After soundtracks occupying the top three spots, we find:

4) David Cook (another posterboy for TDOA)

5) Taylor Swift (which is ony suitable for girls under the age of 6)

6) Lady GaGa (no idea. don’t care)

7) Kanye West (Puff Daddy for the new millineum)

8) The Boxer Rebellion…..

In 2005, I put The Boxer Rebellion’s first album ‘Exits’ was #1 on my top ten best albums list.  I first listened to them when I heard they bore similarities to early (Storm In Heaven) Verve.  I felt like they had a little more punch (a good thing) and a little less drugs (which I could go either way on…) than Verve (I refuse to use the ‘The’ moniker they were legally forced to use).  I did everything I could do to keep track of them; MySpace, Facebook, bookmarking their website.  Alas, there were no new albums.  In the middle of 2008 they posted demos of some new songs which were brilliant.  But they didn’t have a label (did I mention the music industry is dumb?) and the British media didn’t spend anytime reporting on them, so I had no idea what was going on.  American bloggers were too busy drooling over bands like Vampire Weekend to worry about it, which wasn’t surprising since they missed the boat on Exits when it came out.

Finally, in late 2008 The Boxer Rebellion announced that they would self-release their album.  They took the bold step of doing a purely digital release on ITunes (kudos to ITunes for taking a bit of a risk themselves).  The new album ‘Union’ is even better than the first; soaring vocals, guitars that drift from ethereal to piercing without it ever sounding forced (yes, I’m talking about you David Evans).  The biggest difference though was a driving rhythm section that makes even the smallest speakers burst from their cabinets.  It’s truly a great album, on par with the epic ‘A Storm In Heaven’ by Verve, which launched their career.

And yet, you won’t hear about it unless you look at ITunes.  Billboard and all the British charts won’t put TBR on their charts because they haven’t issued a physical copy of the album.  It doesn’t matter that TBR now has the best selling alternative album in England and the United States.  All of this would confirm the idiocy of the music industry, but an even greater question comes to mind.  How is that all the A&R people at every label in the world have passed on TBR?  Since I heard three of the songs this summer, I knew this album would be great.  It’s the job of A&R people to listen to this kind of stuff and sign bands that can make them money.  Instead of focusing on the next Jonas Brothers, how about a band with a unique (for the list we’re talking about) sound?


Here’s the video for their first single ‘Evacuate’


~ by toddc2001 on January 16, 2009.

4 Responses to “The music industry is….dumb”

  1. Wow. This is the dumbest, most irrevelant comment I’ve ever left, but did you just use the term “moniker”?? I just had to take the time off and stop laughing to be able to read the insightful post that contained the word. Just asking, I know I read it in a book years ago, but where did you pick it up? I would just be overjoyed if I’m not the only one who uses that word regularly.

    • Just trying to keep everyone on their toes! I try and throw a word or random comment in there that requires some back knowledge on…..stuff. Thanks for playing!

  2. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but I got redirected to this page somehow, and noticed that the foundation for this post is factually inaccurate. iTunes sales actually are figured into the Billboard 200 album sales chart. Here’s Billboard’s chart methodology (, and a simple search of “billboard 200 itunes” reveals a myriad of stories about how digital sales have buffeted an album into the Billboard 200.

    • Nice comment! I don’t mind the comment at all and appreciate the link to Billboard’s methodology. In fact, I was speaking about the British charts which don’t allow anything but physical releases.

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