Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Music Week

1-20-10 Music Week

In the mid-80’s, I worked at an importer / exporter. At some point, we started buying records from England; they would send us issues of Music Week, the British equivalent of Billboard magazine – a music business publication. Rather than save entire issues, someone photocopied the release schedules and put them in a binder. I found that binder a few evenings ago!

The one I picked at random was for the week of May 26 – 30, 1986. This is the sheet that is illustrated on today’s blog. The red marks are the titles we were considering to order to sell at our distributor.

Looks like some Edsel Records were released this week:

BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY – Joseph’s Coat (Edsel ED 170)
BRINSLEY SCHWARZ – Silver Pistol (Edsel ED 190)

JOHN CALE – The Academy In Peril (Edsel XED 182)

MAD RIVER – Paradise Bar and Grill (Edsel ED 188)


And some interesting releases on other labels:

STEPHEN DUFFY – Because We Love You (Ten/Virgin DIX 29) also on cassette

THE YARDBIRDS – Roger The Engineer (Edsel EDCD 116 compact disc)

In 1986, it was still rather undecided about what to do with compact discs. As a distributor, we always tried to be aware of what customers wanted. Compact discs were expensive. Domestic CD’s tended to wholesale for $10.75, whereas a British CD wholesaled for UK pounds 7.29 (in 1986 money). We had to sell them for about $16, in order to make any money on the transaction. This meant a store had to ask at least $20 to make any money. Tight margins. Before too long, we were joking, “The only people making any money on any of this stuff are the freight forwarders!”

Seriously, these release sheets are like a time machine. Detailed UK release information from ’84 – ’86! I wonder what other sort of oddities I will discover by examining these release sheets in 2010? I’ll probably be adding some titles to my “Want List”!

I don’t actually have any of those Edsel titles, but I do have CD’s for both Stephen Duffy and The Yardbirds – but different editions.

So if I run out of topics in the near future, I may just randomly pick a Music Week release schedule and discuss it. Is there anything you’d like me to look out for, in this kind of release sheet?


REVO said...


You've struck gold there, son! Even considering that devalued musical currency of the dreaded mid-80s. Now if you could find the 81-82 release schedules, I'd pay for a hard copy!

Ron Kane said...

Back then, it was telexes - which were all destroyed, unfortunately