Return to Sender
Inevitably, musicians who release CDs are bound to stumble across sold-back copies of their hard-wrought artistic statements languishing in some record store (we hope not in the clearance section). But what if you're a musician who works in a used-music outlet? “I see my stuff come through all the time,” says Matador artist and Reckless Records employee Barbara Manning. “I usually buy it. That way I always have something to send people.” Yet a recent development at Reckless has spurred Manning to leave a couple CDs on the floor these days. “They gave me my own section in the racks, and I was so proud, I had to leave some out there.” Jefferson Parker, Panda member and used buyer at Amoeba in Berkeley, says he's already seen a couple copies of his band's new CD come through, and even talked someone out of selling a promotional copy: “I said, 'Hey, this isn't even opened. This is my band, you really should check it out first.' The guy was pretty surprised, said he'd go home and listen to it. But he was wearing a Slayer shirt, so I'm reluctant to believe he actually did.”
Dumb and Dumber
Rap attackers scored another victory last week, when Time Warner sacked Doug Morris, considered one of the company's leading supporters of hip hop and “cutting-edge music.” Now, responding to what it calls misogynistic and violent song lyrics, delegates from the American Medical Association (AMA) have approved a resolution directing their organization to develop a mandatory rating system for music releases in conjunction with the recording industry. According to the New York Times, the resolution reads, “Evidence is mounting of a correlation between aggression and listening to violent lyrics. … Repeated listening may desensitize children to violence without conveying to them the consequences of violent behavior.” The AMA is considering a system similar to the MPAA movie ratings. Great, we know how fairly the guidelines work for films: Arnold Schwarzenegger's hyperviolent True Lies gets an R, Martin Lawrence's potty-mouthed You So Crazy gets an NC-17.
In other labeling news, Billboard reports that a music censorship bill was narrowly defeated by the Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation would have criminalized the sale and distribution of stickered recordings to unmarried folks under age 17. Nice loophole: Get hitched at 15, and you can play “Me So Horny” on your honeymoon. Let family values reign.
By Mike Rowell, Sia Michel