Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Tale

Alex Day
The Shuttle spent Christmas Day in the company of good friends at a lavish lunch, eating turkey and quaffing Bollinger ( as one should).

One guest at the table was a well known music industry lawyer who regaled us with tales of court room battles between artists and their record companies. He described his first job as a green barrister sent to London to handle a case against a hugely popular Australian band who were suing  EMI over the band's claim that the record giant had failed to promote their latest album which languished at the bottom of the charts.

In the course of his investigations for the record company, he was introduced in great secrecy to the 'hit-picker' employed by the company to assess whether the Aussie band's release would be a hit. The hit picker, an ageing musician who had seen better days had assessed, after several bottles of wine and many tokes on a hash pipe that the record was doomed to failure.

Overall the legal costs were in the millions of dollars. It would have been cheaper just to promote the album but anyone who has been unfortunate enough to deal with record companies  will know how an artist's fate can rest on the the late night worries of an executive fearful of making the wrong choice, picking a dud, losing his job and being stuck with a mortgage.

One young singer/songwriter Alex Day has just broken the mould and is currently at No 4 in the British music charts having sold 52,881 copies of his composition Forever Yours in the last week, pushing COLDPLAY into fifth place with just 50,000 sales.

Alex has no record deal. He promotes himself on YouTube.

Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot has said that "Forever Yours is certainly one of the most successful self-released tracks we have ever seen, the Official Charts are based on sales, and sales alone, so Alex’s achievements this week are a genuine reflection of the passion of his army of fans, and of course, the power of social media."

Contrast Alex Day's success with the hullabaloo over shows like X-Factor with their millions of viewers around the world and rewards heaped upon the winners by the music giant Sony.

Local X-Factor winner Recce Mastin sold 70,000 copies of Good Night while Australia's Got Talent winner Jack Vidgen sold a similar amount. Both had the entire Sony network behind them plus a reputed million dollar budget and nightly TV adverts promoting them.

Alex Day did have help from a hit maker from way back-Jonathan King who describes here how he and Alex beavered away to beat the music industry at it's own game.

Forever Yours: