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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum | Grand Opening and Closing | review | rock | Lollipop

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

Grand Opening and Closing (Seeland)
by Lex Marburger

It may surprise you to know that I once took a class in Music Business. It further may surprise you to know that not only did I do well, it was actually useful (perhaps we should not get into the fact that, knowing what I do, I still contribute to a venture such a Lollipop, a magazine that currently is as in-step with such enormous periodicals such as Maxim and FHM as steam engines to electricity (semi-naked models notwithstanding). So, what the hell am I getting at? Simply this: When designing an album, or an album cover, the term "packaging" comes into play. Simply put, even releasing a CD without anything clever done to it automatically incurs a stipulation that 25% of the list price is taken "for packaging." So if your CD sells for $16, you only get royalties on $12 a CD (and that royalty is usually less that 10%, i.e. $1.20 a CD, maximum). Now, add bells and whistles; in the case of Sleepytime Gorrila Museum, they add custom postcards, a tri-fold jewel case, hand-crafted gift boxes, all of which has been hand-tied with twine. Which is all eventually sent to the publications they want to woo, who pay nothing for the CD in question. The point? The entire cost of this "extra packaging" the band thinks is really cool comes directly from the bands own pocket, which either must be repaid before the band sees a penny, or is deducted with every CD the band sells, no matter whether they've made back the cost or not. And if the album is anything like Grand Opening and Closing, they'll never make their money back. Not even if they're on Negativland's label. Not even if they're incredibly talented. Because, in truth, the talent of the Museum is similar to the information I just spewed at you above: Technical, precise, educated, informed, but ultimately boring to anyone who doesn't give a shit about how music works and just cares about how music sounds.
(PO Box 7218 Olympia, WA 98507)  

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