Monday 22 January 2018

Loaded: What the dickins? Row over £1 album

John Meagher

John Meagher

Rob Dickins is not exactly a household name, although those who played close scrutiny to Enya's 1988 hit Orinoco Flow would hear her name-check him in the song. But Dickens was a big deal in the UK music industry for much of the 80s and 90s, helping to mastermind Enya's success and overseeing REM's huge selling period in the early 90s.

Now, he is back in the news again thanks to his stark suggestion as to how the business could save itself. Believing the typical music lover to be bargain-conscious, he reckons the industry could be kick-started by selling albums for as little as £1.

"To a degree it solves piracy because if it's such a small amount, people are more likely to pay it than download for free. What we need is a revolution. What we've got is an erosion."

But his comments have met with scorn. Paul Quirk, chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association, responded: "Rob Dickins is part of the generation of executives who benefited from the age of £14 CDs and gave the music business a bad name. So it is ironic to hear him espouse the cause of the £1 album. Basic arithmetic indicates that this is a non-starter."

And NME deputy editor Luke Lewis was quick to shoot down the suggestion: "It's also a curiously defeatist attitude to take. Instead of throwing its hands up and admitting defeat, the industry ought to ram home the message that, yes, music does have a value. £1? For a product that's taken months to produce, been composed, mixed, mastered, marketed, manufactured and shipped? That's not a bargain. It's an insult."

  • Country and bluegrass fans are in for a treat in Dublin this bank holiday weekend, thanks to a series of free gigs. The Redline festival, now in its third year, takes place in a pair of popular pubs very close to each other on the Luas Red Line, Dice Bar and Sin é.

Among those taking part are bluegrass combo The Cujo Family (tonight in Sin é), local rockabilly upstarts (The Wayward Sinners), Northern Irish blues duo The Bonnevilles (tomorrow in Sin é), garage rockers Cheap Freaks and The Vagabonds (both in Dice Bar tomorrow) and resident bluegrass outfit, Well Enough Alone (Sin é on Sunday).

  • I'm going to have to lock up the missus this weekend. Idris Elba is in town. The actor, who came to prominence thanks to his role as Baltimore drug lord Stringer Bell in The Wire, is set to perform a DJ set at Buck's Townhouse, Leeson Street, Dublin, in the early hours of Sunday night/Monday morning.

We're told he's a serious DJ (having plied his trade as DJ Kipling on pirate radio back in the day) and not just an actor keen to stretch himself. Such a distinction is unlikely to worry his adoring female fans.

  • Television presenter, radio broadcaster, newspaper columnist, JFK book author... Say what you will about Ryan Tubridy, but the man certainly knows how to keep busy. Now he can add singer-songwriter to his CV.

He co-wrote a song with Paddy Cullivan called We Are Where We Are, which was launched (by Tubbs himself) on Wednesday evening.

Cullivan is best known as the frontman of The Late Late Show's in-house band (aka The Camembert Quartet) and does a fine line in satirical songs. This EP takes a wry look at the economic doldrums in which we currently find ourselves with song titles including Going Forward (might that possibly be the most annoying phrase spouted by our glorious leaders over the past year?), We Lost the Run of Ourselves and We Are Living Way Beyond Our Means.

Not that Cullivan's band are struggling, thank you very much. They provided the entertainment at the celebrity wedding of the year -- eh, Brian and Amy's of course -- and one can imagine they acquired a sweet fee for that.

Irish Independent

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