Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shedden

AT the risk of be­ing pil­lo­ried by just about ev­ery­one I know and by a great many oth­ers, I wish it to be known that I quite like Cold­play. There: I’ve said it and you can all go down­load it on to a mem­ory stick and call it Ber­tie for all I care. There is no shame, as far as I can see, in driv­ing through the mean streets of Syd­ney’s in­ner west in one’s wheels scream­ing ‘‘Para . . . Para . . . Par­adise’’ or in­deed ‘‘wo oh oh, wo oh oh oh oh oh’’, at the top of one’s lungs. It’s a great pop song. And any­way, it has Rhi­anna on a song now too and she’s cool. No, she is. So, I can openly de­clare that to my mind there is con­sid­er­able worth in just about ev­ery­thing Cold­play has re­leased dur­ing its lengthy and ridicu­lously suc­cess­ful ca­reer. But what ex­actly is con­sid­er­able worth? How much is Par­adise worth? Or Yel­low? Or Fix You or any of the songs that have come off the Cold­play pro­duc­tion line? How much would you pay for Cold­play’s lat­est al­bum Mylo Xy­loto , for ex­am­ple (and how much to change the ti­tle?). There’s a shud­der go­ing up and down the spine of the global mu­sic in­dus­try at present con­cern­ing the price of Cold­play’s opus and of other al­bums that have en­tered the high reaches of the charts. Last week Google and Ama­zon were sell­ing Mylo Xy­loto and a rash of other big-name al­bums such as Lady An­te­bel­lum’s Own the Night for the stag­ger­ing sum of US25C. Al­ready Ama­zon has been dis­count­ing big time with Lady Gaga, sell­ing her Born This Way for 99c. All this when the mu­sic in­dus­try had just got its breath back af­ter gasp­ing for years at the in­jus­tice of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy kick­ing it hard in the crotch for not pay­ing at­ten­tion. Just when it seemed itunes had paved the way for some kind of reg­u­lated model for the fu­ture sale of mu­sic at a rea­son­able price, along come two of the lead­ing play­ers of the mod­ern era al­most giv­ing away the stuff. Their rea­son­ing, of course, is that by of­fer­ing such dras­tic dis­counts on se­lected items, cus­tomers will come flood­ing through the elec­tronic gates to snap up other al­bums for a price above that of a sher­bet lemon. The jury is still out on that one. More of a con­cern, for the in­dus­try at least, is that while they are con­tin­u­ing the uphill bat­tle against piracy and the no­tion — one that has been float­ing around kids’ bed­rooms for a decade or more — that all mu­sic is free, a prece­dent is be­ing set by le­git­i­mate play­ers, Ama­zon and Google, that in some cases mu­sic isn’t worth much at all. Granted, the Spin Doc­tor desk here is not lit­tered with re­ceipts for CD or down­load pur­chases, since mu­sic of all de­scrip­tions ar­rives gratis on an hourly ba­sis, but to my mind mu­sic has al­ways been worth pay­ing for. I’d pay more than 25c for Mylo Xy­loto if I had to, and a lit­tle bit more for Lady An­te­bel­lum. This price war was in­sti­gated by Google’s new down­load ser­vice on the mighty Ama­zon, so it may blow over, but for now the 25c al­bum is here — and con­sumers will take note.

spin­doc@ theaus­tralian.com.au

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