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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy new year, some casual promises that may not be kept, and a news roundup.

It’s the New Year and time for everyone everywhere to look at all the things that they don't like about themselves and promise that they can, and will, change them.
Realistically only 0.0003% of the worlds population will manage to do this with a degree of success.
That’s a fact.*
The result of the failure of the majority will undoubtedly be that many of us will dive into a tailspin of self loathing and depression.

So basically 2015 is going to be no different from 2014.

For myself I am going to try and stop looking to squeeze 26 plus hours into 24 hour days.
It’s just not working for me.
So time and management will be my new watchwords.
Multitasking will be cast aside as I've found that it just means I do lots of things poorly rather than one thing at a time done well.
This is something that I hope will directly impact on the blog.
Although this doesn't mean that I am promising anything.
That’s something else that I am going to do, or not do to be more accurate.
Make promises.
I think with a bit of effort I can manage that one.

Anyway I think that a weekly news update, a few reviews, one interview and a social commentary article should be within what is reasonably achievable for the blog each week, and that’s what I am going to aim for.
So that’s what to expect, but don't hold me to it.

And in an effort to start off as I mean to continue here is the news roundup.

Independent artists all across Europe have in the past week been running around in a panic tearing at their hair, beating their chests and in general trying to pull their twisted knickers into more manageable positions due to the European Unions decision to introduce the application of VAT to all digital download sales from January the first of 2015.
The idea is allegedly to ensure that the big boys like Amazons and i-tunes pay their dues, but as they employ very clever, but often immoral, people to exploit every single financial loophole that is out there it is doubtful that it will matter much to them.
However, as is the norm, it seems that the little man/woman will feel the pinch far harder as the governments vacuum up the cash by picking pennies out of the pockets of the many rather than the pounds or Euros from the few.

All we are having implemented is a system that will make it increasingly difficult for independent artists to find a sustainable financial footing.

The response to this news has been a fervent outcry from musicians and music lovers who have signed petitions and lobbied the parliamentarian representatives and everyone is currently waiting with baited breath to see if this delivers anything worth smiling about.
You can assist with the campaign to oppose this here.

And meanwhile in the background of all this ‘Bandcamp’ have played a blinder.
As social media erupted and what was about to happen sunk into the heads of their users they did a classic bit of misdirection.
After a bit of a kerfuffle they have said they will sort it out on behalf of those who have their music uploaded to them for distribution.
Instead of musicians having to register to pay VAT and become directly cosy with the taxman they will deal with it all at source.
But wait just a second.
The issue was not about having to do tax returns, but being taxed on often meagre incoming revenue.
So while many are patting Bandcamp on the back what is it they have actually done?
As of today the tax is being implemented.
The VAT is still going to be taken off the digital sales.
It seems like a bit of a non victory.
The crowds are cheering, but the original issue still exists.

On a more positive note the rumblings of opposition to the legal ticket tout businesses such as getmein and the like are starting to gain some prominence again.
On the coattails of the AC/DC tour selling out and the magically over inflated tickets becoming available at the same time as they were released to the public the hordes of rock lovers have finally awoken from their slumber.
Social media and music related blogs are full of the cries of the ticketless potless that are in a rage at their inability to secure affordable tickets that they now perceive – rightly – as being snatched from them by the greedy corporations.
It’s been a while since Dispatches outed the practices of these companies – most notably Viagogo – and the government supported their right to abuse music fans, but instead of considering that to be the end of the story music lovers should consider it the opening chapter.
Watch this space for updates.

Another positive to report on is one that I am involved with.
In March the New Hellfire Club of Glasgow will be hosting a few events under the banner of ‘the big pay day’.
The idea is to draw attention to how there are alternatives to paying to play and dodgy ticket split deals.
More details about that will follow including venues and line up.
Meanwhile you can jump over to NHC Music and grab an anti pay to play t-shirt.

Remaining with NHC music it is also worth checking out the weekend events that have been booked for January.
All are intimate acoustic sets that are free to attend, all ages are of course welcome, and if you are over eighteen then you can bring your own bottle although we do encourage people to drink responsibly.

And in closing itsaxxxxthing would like to say goodbye to Joe Cocker whose passing has left the world of rock a darker place, and jazz clarinettist Buddy DeFranco who fully deserves to be remembered for his work with Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and more.

*One that I made up.

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