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Paul_Slade
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I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 2
Why no distribution?
« : 24.03.08 at 14:46 »
Quote

Dear Pete,
 
Iíve been trying very hard to buy your Midnight Voices CD for the past week, but your record label and distributors seem determined to make this as difficult as possible.
 
I started at HMV in Oxford Street on Monday March 17, but found the store had already sold its one and only copy. I asked at the counter if theyíd be getting more in and the chap there confirmed they already had at least one more copy on order. He checked to see if any other London branch of HMV had copies in stock, but they didnít.
 
When I mentioned Iíd heard an item promoting the album on Front Row the previous week, he increased the size of his storeís re-order, telling me the new copies might be in as early as Thursday. I got the impression HMV would have ordered more copies to start with if theyíd known this media promotion was coming up.    
 
Iíve tried several independent record shops since, and called back at HMV three times. I asked another staffer there to check the status of the re-order this morning, and he told me this particular label (or possibly its distributor) was always very slow to supply additional copies. He offered to place a special customer order for me, but his tone of voice suggested it was unlikely to arrive anytime soon.
 
I walked down to Zavvi at Picadilly Circus and asked a rather bored young lady there to check her system for the album. It didnít come up on Zavviís system at all, which shows only your older, long-deleted work. She neither knew nor cared why this was the case. As far as Zavviís staff are concerned, the albumís failure to appear on their screens means it doesnít exist and thatís all there is to it. Iíve now ordered a copy from Amazon, so weíll see if I have any more luck there.  
 
My point is this: Iíve made a fairly determined effort to find the album and, despite the fact that Iíve got some of the UKís (arguably the worldís) biggest and best record shops on my doorstep, been unable to do so. The chances of a more casual buyer who lives outside London finding a copy must be close to zero. Without copies in the shops, most of the hard-won media promotion youíve done will be wasted.
 
I also find it puzzling that your earlier work remains so resolutely unavailable. Thereís clearly a demand for the old CDs Ė just look at the prices charged on Amazon Ė and yet no-one seems interested in re-releasing them. Who owns these recordings now? And, even if the profit involved is insufficient for them, why canít the tracks be licenced to a smaller label for release?
 
Iím sure all this is even more frustrating for you than it is for me, so please donít think Iím berating you personally. Iíll get hold of Midnight Voices eventually, and Iím very much looking forward to hearing it.
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S J Birkill
MV Administrator
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just a sensible reserve

   

Posts: 598
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #1: 24.03.08 at 16:07 »
Quote

Hi Paul
 
Sorry you've had difficulties in the shops. This is ever a frustration for 'unknown' artists and labels. When the original albums were first reissued on CD we had MV members listing which central London outlets had stock!
 
The simple answer, in your case, is to order direct from Hillside Music, via the online shop on the Website. Pete operates Hillside himself, so you'll always get a friendly and speedy response.
 
But of course that doesn't address the problem of getting HMV, Zavvi and the others to carry stock. It's not an absence of distribution -- Hillside Music's releases are handled by Proper Music Distribution, "the largest independent distributor in the UK" -- and Pete has recently reported new orders from them following the Front Row broadcast. "Too late!" you'll say, and you may be right. It is hard to get the major retail chains to take seriously anything outside the over-hyped pop names.
 
Concerning the reissues and their current non-availability, well, you heard Pete (and Clive) touch on that particular sore point during the interview. It's part of the same malaise, with the rights owners, majors like Sony/BMG, sitting on the material with no desire to release it or incentive to license anyone else to.
 
Pete would no doubt have had something to say about your Oxford Street hassles, but he's away from his computer for the weekend, until tomorrow.
 
Thanks for signing up and contributing so promptly to MV!
 
Steve
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Paul_Slade
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I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 2
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #2: 24.03.08 at 17:21 »
Quote

... and thank you for your equally prompt reply.
 
The trouble with buying direct from Hillside is that it would mean lodging my credit card details with yet another on-line supplier, which is something I'm a little reluctant to do. I'm sure Hillside's fine, but as I've already got an account with Amazon, that's the route I'm going to try first.
 
HMV's big Oxford Street branch, to be fair, is usually very good in the breadth of fairly obscure stuff it stocks. Zavvi (Virgin as was), is much, much more restricted to the guaranteed big sellers. I'm surprised to learn the distributors in this case are Proper, as I normally find they're very good too.  
 
One final quibble, then I'll let the subject drop. The first HMV bloke I talked to told me that Midnight Voices, when in stock, was filed in the store's "easy listening" section. I don't know whether Hillside, Proper or HMV are responsible for this classification, but it does strike me as perverse. My own instinct had been to look in first "folk" and then "rock & pop".
 
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Jan
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Posts: 304
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #3: 24.03.08 at 20:22 »
Quote

Hi Paul,
 
Welcome to MV!
If you scroll down to the bottom of the Hillside Shop page you will find the snailmail address of the shop. I always pay by cheque and have never had any problems, I'm sure postal orders are accepted as well!
The CD has been available on the HMV and Zavvi websites for some time so I'm not sure why the shops are having such problems.  
 
Jan
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Ian Chippett
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In the clear at over fifty-five

   

Posts: 330
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #4: 24.03.08 at 21:20 »
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Paul wrote:
 
<<One final quibble, then I'll let the subject drop. The first HMV bloke I talked to told me that Midnight Voices, when in stock, was filed in the store's "easy listening" section. I don't know whether Hillside, Proper or HMV are responsible for this classification, but it does strike me as perverse. My own instinct had been to look in first "folk" and then "rock & pop". >>
 
How on earth does anyone decide into which category any kind of music can be placed? I know that any singer rash enough to use an acoustic guitar will be placed in Folk but how do you get categorised under Independent? What's the opposite of Independent? Subservient? What the record shops should do is have a section marked Crap which would make things far easier for the discerning listener...  
 
This week I bought a record by John Greaves called "Greaves Verlaine" which is an album of settings of various works by Paul Verlaine arranged and performed by JG. It was filed under Pop-Rock which is just about everything it isn't. As all the words are in French why wasn't it filed under Rock FranÁais or even Contemporary? (Very interesting record BTW: I'd be interested in what any Francophone Voices make of it)
 
The other day in the train, I actually found myself sitting opposite someone reading Verlaine. No chance of drowning in any eyes as the eyes in question belonged to a man but it's comforting to know that Verlaine's not completely obsolete, even in France.
 
Ian C
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BogusTrumper
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You alone will be my last adventure

   

Posts: 282
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #5: 25.03.08 at 18:23 »
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Well, I am pretty sure my local BestBuy in Iowa does not carry it  Cheesy
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And so goodbye, my lady of a night
Pete Atkin
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Posts: 463
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #6: 25.03.08 at 18:25 »
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Hello Paul - Thank you for letting us know about your problems.  As far as I can see, the difficulties are all the responsibility of the shops themselves, and little or nothing to do with Proper Distribution who in my experience so far are acutely aware of the importance of being able to fulfil orders as quickly as possible.  What the actual (as opposed to virtual) stores tell their actual customers is by no means necessarily the whole story and in most cases is probably just an upfront excuse for their own indolence or their defensiveness in ordering.   It's what's driving more and more people to shop on line, it seems to me, especially when it comes to anything outside the range of the really big sellers, where in practice, as with books, the supermarkets are stealing a march.   I can understand your hesitancy about using your credit card, but truly you are much less at risk using it online than you are using it in a shop.  (Even though it's a few years old now, Simon Singh's "The Code Book" spells out the reasons why in commendably comprehensive ways.)  
 
Security is so good that online fraudsters mostly direct their efforts in different directions.  But that's up to you and,. as I say, I do nevertheless understand.  (The Hillside Music online shop's credit card sales are dealt with by Worldpay Ltd:  when you hit the Pay button you are taken to their secure website, and once your payment is approved, Hillside are informed separately of what you've paid for and that they are clear to ship the goods, without any of your details other than your address being passed on.)
 
Similarly, the category under which you'll find my - or anyone's - records is a matter for the shops themselves.   You may remember that a while back some records used to carry a message such as 'File Under: Rock (or Folk or whatever)', but that seems to have been abandoned these days, probably because the shops took no notice anyway.  
 
Given the competitiveness and diversity of music business, it amazes me that the big record chains are doing so little to recapture the share of the market.  What's needed is the kind of service that used to be provided by small independent record shops, but there are precious few of them any more - fewer even, it seems, than small independent bookshops;  but neither can survive without a core income from selling chart records, and in both cases it's the supermarkets (rather than online sellers) who are making them mostly unviable.
 
But all ends up, I hope a copy of "Midnight Voices" will find its way into your possession before too long, one way or another.  And thanks again for sharing your experience.
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Bob Kingsley
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I've been here before - 11 years ago!

   

Posts: 8
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #7: 02.04.08 at 20:00 »
Quote

I've ordered my copy from Hillside and am really looking forward to it dropping through my letterbox. But these days, I buy virtually all my music through iTunes.
 
Is it possible to make MV available on iTunes?
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'Somerset' Bob Kingsley
Pete Atkin
MV Deity
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Posts: 463
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #8: 02.04.08 at 23:04 »
Quote

Quote:
Is it possible to make MV available on iTunes?

 
The Hillside Digital Rendering and Virtual Fulfilment Department elves are working on it while the rest of us sleep.
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Bob Kingsley
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I've been here before - 11 years ago!

   

Posts: 8
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #9: 02.04.08 at 23:33 »
Quote

on 02.04.08 at 23:04, Pete Atkin wrote:

 
The Hillside Digital Rendering and Virtual Fulfilment Department elves are working on it while the rest of us sleep.

 
That's good to hear. Hi Pete. Wow. Awesome to be in touch with you like this after all these years. We've met before. I wonder if you remember?
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'Somerset' Bob Kingsley
Bob Kingsley
MV Fresher
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I've been here before - 11 years ago!

   

Posts: 8
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #10: 21.04.08 at 16:17 »
Quote

on 02.04.08 at 20:00, Bob Kingsley wrote:
I've ordered my copy from Hillside and am really looking forward to it dropping through my letterbox.

 
Hmmm. Still excitedly awaiting the clatter of plastic on doormat. It's now nearly three weeks since ordering - and money was taken on CC on day of order. Was hoping it would have arrived by now (especially as today is my birthday).
 
Has it gone out of stock , I wonder?
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'Somerset' Bob Kingsley
Bob Kingsley
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I've been here before - 11 years ago!

   

Posts: 8
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #11: 22.04.08 at 12:41 »
Quote

on 21.04.08 at 16:17, Bob Kingsley wrote:

 
Hmmm. Still excitedly awaiting the clatter of plastic on doormat. It's now nearly three weeks since ordering - and money was taken on CC on day of order. Was hoping it would have arrived by now (especially as today is my birthday).
 
Has it gone out of stock , I wonder?

 
My goodness. Mr A. wrote to reassure me I should have received it by now, so another is on its way. Thanks Pete, I really appreciate the personal attention!  Smiley  
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'Somerset' Bob Kingsley
Bob Kingsley
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I've been here before - 11 years ago!

   

Posts: 8
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #12: 24.04.08 at 12:54 »
Quote

on 22.04.08 at 12:41, Bob Kingsley wrote:

 
My goodness. Mr A. wrote to reassure me I should have received it by now, so another is on its way. Thanks Pete, I really appreciate the personal attention! †Smiley  

 
My Midnight Voices CD arrived in the post yesterday, as promised. Thanks so much Smiley
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'Somerset' Bob Kingsley
BogusTrumper
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You alone will be my last adventure

   

Posts: 282
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #13: 24.04.08 at 16:31 »
Quote

on 24.04.08 at 12:54, Bob Kingsley wrote:

 
My Midnight Voices CD arrived in the post yesterday, as promised. Thanks so much Smiley

 
Enjoy!
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And so goodbye, my lady of a night
Bob Kingsley
MV Fresher
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I've been here before - 11 years ago!

   

Posts: 8
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #14: 06.05.08 at 11:43 »
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on 24.04.08 at 16:31, BogusTrumper wrote:

 
Enjoy! †

 
I did, Bogus, on Saturday night. A fantastic album!  Smiley
 
Pete's voice is still superb, the arrangements are excellent, and of course Clive's lyrics shine as brightly as they did decades ago. I'm so glad I bought it!  Grin
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'Somerset' Bob Kingsley
BogusTrumper
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You alone will be my last adventure

   

Posts: 282
Re: Why no distribution?
« Reply #15: 06.05.08 at 23:29 »
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I am glad you liked it.  Smiley
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And so goodbye, my lady of a night
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