As Jim Murphy reports elsewhere in this section, the manufacturing costs of CDs continue to decrease. But have retail prices dropped? Yeah, right. The popularity of the cottage industry wherein specialty stores (there are a half-dozen in Miami) buy and sell used CDs is a good indication that consumers are always eager for a bargain. With prices at about half the going rate of new CDs at the chains, these specialty operations certainly offer savings, with prices averaging about eight dollars. According to Billboard, a new option for the overcharged is emerging. In Denver a record store that sells only independent releases has put its inventory on the Internet. The store's owner, John Carter, says he hopes other indie outlets will link up to create an "anti-chain chain." The result, he told Billboard, would be new CDs priced at "well under ten dollars." He also suggests that the enterprise could "drop the bottom out of the market on the major labels." Maybe, but the major labels didn't come to dominate a multibillion-dollar industry by sticking their heads in the sand. Geffen, for one, is already on-line with its own home-shopping site. As Rock and Rap Confidential recently reported, "One difference between [the indie group and Geffen] is that Geffen will definitely not be selling CDs for 'well below ten dollars.'"
"We were a month ahead of Geffen," Carter says gleefully by phone from his shop at 1301 Marion St. (Denver, CO 80218). Carter notes users have two options: Bring up a credit card form on-screen, fill it in, punch a button, and the CD will be mailed immediately. Or send your money by mail while placing your order electronically. (Go to Internet site http://jukenet.com to see all this in action, or contact Carter by E-mail at imooJUKENET.COM.) "That's just until the technology speeds up a little bit," Carter adds, "When the music itself can be [quickly and effeceintly] transmitted." By the way, Carter says he'd love to hear some indie CDs being made by south florida bands. "You make the same money selling 5000 copies of a CD on your own as you would selling 50,000 on a major label," says Carter. And he seems like the guy to help unsigned acts increase their sales.
Really big shows -- white Christmas with Black Janet -- nice ring to it -- at Squeeze on Sunday. The band will play an acoustic set at 10:00 and a full-band show at midnight (all ages), including songs from the Jammy-winning Love Thirsty CD, plus cuts that'll appear on their next release, an EP due out in the spring. Local jazz legend Ira Sullivan performs tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday at the MoJazz Cafe. And punkers Load (whose Jeff Tucci recently filled in on guitar for Buzzoven during their national tour) rock the Marsbar tomorrow (Friday).
When I recently mentioned the deaths of several important cultural figures, I neglected to include Alvis Sherouse, known to classical music fans, Miami Film Festival attendees, and WTMI listeners as Alan Corbett.
He died November 29. Sparked by a $25,000 endowment from WTMI, the FloridaPhilharmonic has created the Alvis Sherouse Principal Trumpet Chair, which means that the chair will henceforth and forever carry Sherouse's name, a lasting memorial. To establish a chair costs $500,000, which goes into an endowment fund; interest earned on money in the fund is used to pay salaries and take care of other costs. To contribute to the endowment, call 930-2997.
The folks who present the annual Slammie awards have compiled a CD of the hard stuff. Various of the groups included (Malevolent Creation, Amboog-a-lard, Raped Ape; see "Clubs" for complete lineups) will appear live for CD release parties at the Button South tonight (Thursday), the Cellblock tomorrow (Friday), Squeeze on Wednesday, and the Foundation on December 30.
Nil Lara sold out the Colony the last time he played there. He's back for an encore tomorrow (Friday) with full band and special guests. Tix are $8 advance, $10 door, and are available at World Resources, Y&T, or by calling 668-0892.
Butthorn of the week: Not this week. Merry Christmas one and all.