widg‧et /ˈwɪdʒɪt/ [wij-it] -noun: Pointless ramblings from the New Forest. Obviously complete & utter Rubbish. Why must I contibute to all this endless talk about me? My self-indulgent knees, spilling themselves all over the internet. Obviously i am Jon and his hair, I AM HIM!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Now I return to a topic I meant to rant about a couple of weeks ago, or last year if you prefer. It was just this week that the first official UK singles chart under the spanky new rules was published. Now any downloaded song can be a single and count towards the chart. It doesn't have to have a physical CD or vinyl release, it doesn't even have to be picked out as a digital single, be the subject of a multi million pound marketing campaign, be released or even re-released this year. Yes, the charts are no longer safe from the return of The Birdie Song or The Proclaimers, if enough people buy 'em. Not having done my research, I can only assume this only applies to individually downloaded songs, rather than whole albums, otherwise we'd have the hideous prospect of an entire top ten of Westlife or Take That.

This is partly a good thing; at least it takes the choice of single away from the clueless record industry and into the hands of the listener. There'll be no more games of 'guess the single' every time an album comes out. Though, people will still want to hear stuff before they buy it and the little itunes snippets just won't cut it. Telly and radio will obviously still have an influence, so the record companies will still hang onto some of their power, choosing which songs to make videos for and which to send to radio.

The one casualty of all this brouhahahaha is the humble and underrated B-side. Since the demise of the 45 or the 7" single (still just about hanging in there in indie circles) the name 'B-side' has lost its meaning, but as little as 5 years ago the single's bonus track was still in rude health. It all started with the BPI fannying about with the chart rules, outlawing the 4 track ep, arguing that the poor musicians were too tired to keep producing all these extra songs (ahh). Now even if a single is released with an accompanying track, that too could be eligible for the chart and possibly outsell the intended lead track, thus no more B-sides, just more A-sides.

Eventually, this could all lead to the demise of the album, with songs being released in smaller clumps. The record companies will be holding some back so as not to blow their wad all at once, releasing one possible 'hit' in each batch with the other songs as kind of B-sides. Hang on; I think I've argued myself round in a circle. Plus c'est la meme chose, plus ça change.

Currently listening: Complete 'B' Sides by Pixies


Blogger AlphIANo said...

Very good points, all. Hadn't even thought of the death of the album. Somehow though I doubt things will change all that radically, unless we all band together and make Martika number one!!!! That'd learn them! xxx

10:43 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home