The albums at numbers 4 and 6 in the charts this week were first released on vinyl, in the days when albums were called LP’s. When CD’s were invented these same records entered the charts again as everyone renewed their record collections to catch up with the new technology. Now they have been re-launched for a third time as “digitally remastered” packages. While these two albums (which are the Beatle’s “Red” and “Blue” collections) mop up sales, several other artists whose careers began in vinyl days are also in the top twenty- Bob Dylan, Cliff Richard and Phil Collins among them. This sorry state of affairs has come about because all that records companies do nowadays is flog their back catalogue.
In June this year a band from hereabouts called The Lottery Winners beat 15,000 other aspiring bands, including the Heroes of She, to win the Live and Unsigned competition at the 02 arena. Six months on, they are still unsigned, simply because the record companies aren’t taking any risks with new talent any more. Fewer new bands have been signed this year than in any other year in the history of pop music.
In a chart which includes albums by Cliff Richard (aged 70), Bob Dylan (69), Rod Stewart (65) David Gilmour (64) Chris de Burgh (62) Robert Plant (62) Phil Collins (59), there are new entries for Bryan Ferry (65) and Elvis Costello (56). At least the average age has fallen since last year, when Alma Cogan (92) topped the chart (see my posting of October 28th 2009). But that will be scant consolation for The Lottery Winners.