Nielsen’s Cheap Trick

Dave Frey is the manager of Cheap Trick. They released their most recent album, The Latest through TuneCore earlier this year.

I am a manager. One of my clients is a band called Cheap Trick. They have been together for 35 years and basically play shows and make recordings.

Though the public is clearly buying singles and not CDs, they record songs in clusters. They can prepare/rehearse them, get good instrument sounds, and realize other savings through efficiency. Once a good drum sound is finally dialed in, why not record a group of songs?

Anyway the band self released a collection of songs on 8-track, LP, CD, and digitally, called “The Latest” last summer. And since then the biggest thing I’ve learned is the power, (and price), of the band’s fan information.

For instance, Ticketmaster “owns” information on hundreds of thousands of Cheap Trick fans who have purchased their concert tickets. This is for sale. Amazon “owns” information relating to every Cheap Trick Amazon sale from day one. Their information is for sale. All Music “owns” a Cheap Trick “Artist Page” that propagates inaccurate out-of-date information. And many third party sites parrot their information, and that’s for sale. Soundscan “owns” information concerning CD and digital sales. Their information is for sale.

So, every couple of years when the band releases a new CD we hustle, work, and pay to promote it. This activity always raises their profile. And like clockwork Cheap Trick’s former record company(s) release repackaged budget Special Products to cannibalize the new release. Once they buy this information they can better target their predatory product.

So it was decided “The Latest” would not be registered with Soundscan. Maybe the former labels would have a harder time trying to trick the fans. But keeping information from Soundscan so that it can’t be sold to competitors is impossible.

Today I called Tunecore, our distribution company, pissed-off because a radio station I spoke with bought the digital sales information. I wanted to see if TuneCore could help stop the digital stores from reporting our sales information to Soundscan.

It is common knowledge that Soundscan pays iTunes, Amazon, and others for information so that they can mark it up and resell it. Soundscan also acquires their information from the electronics chain, two bookstores, the coffee conglomerate, and the two big box discount warehouse(s) who still remain in the physical CD retail space.

So selling information to predators is how Nielsen/Soundscan hurts musicians and I don’t appreciate Soundscan selling my client’s information to anyone.

Similar to the 24/7 media that leaves no room for mystique, development, and nowhere to earn fans. Too much information in the wrong hands can kill. And when the light hits, it’s often too soon, and like bugs under a magnifying glass everything’s cooked.

  • scott

    With the ISRC codes, the digital information is recorded by the accounts to soundscan, correct? Tunecore can’t stop this process. Or, am i mistaken?

  • Bill Jagitsch

    “Once they buy this information they can better target their predatory product.”
    Predatory product? Every product sold to anyone is predatory under this theory. That’s not a bad thing. You’re just informing Cheap Trick fans that a new release exists. And…? What’s so bad about that? So maybe YOU don’t make any money off it but the band does and that makes perfect sense to me.
    “Maybe the former labels would have a harder time trying to trick the fans.”
    ‘Trick’ fans?
    So informing CT fans that a new release exists is ‘tricking’ them? I don’t see that at all.
    “So selling information to predators is how Nielsen/Soundscan hurts musicians and I don’t appreciate Soundscan selling my client’s information to anyone.”
    How could this ‘hurt musicians’? Selling more of their product is a good thing, no?
    “Similar to the 24/7 media that leaves no room for mystique, development, and nowhere to earn fans. Too much information in the wrong hands can kill.
    There can never be ‘too much information’ when marketing a product. How is it in ‘the wrong hands”? It’s in the hands of companies who’s job it is to sell product to the proper people: in this case proven Cheap Trick fans. Again, I don’t see how this can be a bad thing at all, in fact it’s excellent marketing.
    I simply don’t subscribe to the theory that using what are basically modern day customer lists can be a bad marketing tool.

  • You are rightly ticked off. Direct to fans……that is the best way. Love Cheap Trick. They were my first live show.

  • MARK

    You’re missing the point..Soundscan et al re-sell their lists to other companies who make money out of them..these may or may not generate more sales…but essentially this money goes straight into the pockets of Soundscan, Amazon etc etc without ever getting to the band.

  • Really Good eye opening article, this shows exactly where we’re @ in term of the new Music business, its all about information, I’m almost tempted to go back and sell CD’s and Albums out of the back of My Car strictly while touring and no other means of getting the product, or maybe go back to releasing on Cassettes and Records this way you must come to a show or no Tunes for you,

  • Michael Jones

    History Lesson:
    Back when I was working at Sam Goody MusicLand, for you kids that’s a record store, I was allowed to witness SoundScan come into the market around 1990. 2 things happened.
    1. Albums debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. This had NEVER happened before, and IMHO for a good reason.
    2. Albums charted in the top 10 that weren’t selling anything. I mean anything, except to stock store shelves.
    Case in point. We loaded up our shelves with Step by Step from the New Kids on the Block. We had 100s of copies upon it’s release it charted in the top 10 on bilboard and they all went up. An there they sat for months, until we unloaded them at like $1 a peice. We couldn’t give this Billboard chart topper away. And it was like that at every other record store I went to. But up on the charts they went because the stores were buying the records.
    So whats the point. SoundScan is being exactly what it was designed to be … a way to tell people buy what the highest bidder wants them to buy. “Dont buy cheap trick, Lady Gaga is hot right now. The company that pays me big money to doctor the information told be so”
    Ice T once said, the Record Company is like the pimp, and the artists are like his hoes. I think corporate america is the pimp, and we all are the hoes.
    This isn’t new, it’s been happening for years. Don’t like it, speak up.

  • Sean Adams

    Tunecore seems to be always sending out negative bulletins.

  • Most likely, Cheap Trick doesn’t make much off of the Budgeted Music that their former label releases if anything. So possibly it can have an effect on what direct sales they do get from the new releases if that music is released concurrently. That’s what I gather from reading this, considering how little money artist ever actually make from a hard copy cd after it’s sold. Though it’s different music it still can be a factor in missed sales of current projects.
    We don’t have access to their numbers so who’s to say? Obviously, if he went the distance to make these changes he did it for a reason. I doubt he’d have done all of that if their money wasn’t effected.

  • wow I had no idea about this other dark little corner of the music business. disturbing.

  • Agreed! It is excellent marketing and its all for sale! I don’t think your mistaken either. Its just a shame to us (Buck25) that us new upcoming bands are basically dead in the water after reading all that you have to go through and your the pro! and you have the capital. Music and the sale of and the distribution and all the free play its a wonder how we shall ever aspire to make a living playing music.. My times have changed.

  • Donnie

    In response to Bill Jagitsch:
    Hope you don’t mind that I am not the manager of CT.
    So this is how the situation can be damaging and, in the case of being an artist, how there IS a such thing as too much info.
    The record companies repackaging old music or something that should have never come out just because there is a new buzz can be harmful to the bands image and momentum. Fans often don’t know the politics going on and think their favorite band is desperate for money and releasing a terrible greatest hits album (and the album artwork is always terrible) in an attempt to squeeze money from the fans (this happened to NAS and a gang of other artists that switched labels) or… The band has a plan of how it is going to explode back on to the scene or make its newest imprint in a certain fashion and then the old company f*c#s that all up. Imagine you are at a show and your favorite band has a surprise guest coming out and they plan to have them come on right in the middle of another song and surprise the heck out of everyone, but then the sound man, or someone else, is checking the mics and he goes, “yeah I don’t think this mic is loud enough for ‘surprise group people'” loud enough for everyone else to hear it, now the surprise is ruined. Maybe that’s a rough example, but if it works, think about it, that’s just one show, imagine having your entrance busted on an entire release? It’s not cool. You have to remember that artists are ARTISTS, they have preferences and usually some crazy serious control issues – as we should. Tiger Woods lost his ability to market several products simply because of too much information getting out about some other sh#t. These records companies are releasing some other sh#t and sometimes it is too much info.
    Hope that added some perspective.

  • Tony O – NYC

    So this guy is huffing and puffing because he thinks marketing the band’s old material is hurting sales of the new material? Really? It sounds a little self-serving to me: *he* stands to potentially lose revenue, the band should be benefiting by sales of their music, old and new, either way. If the new material isn’t as good, no amount of promotion will help.

  • Satan

    Tunecore sells its data to Universal?
    Does Cheap Trick manager know that his data is being used by Universal?

  • jim johnson

    Rock on Cheap Trick. The best band in the land.

  • The artists only have just so much meat on their bones…. and then?

  • s

    Bill Jagitsch, you seemed to have missed something. The band isn’t making any money from those old releases. It is not their “product” it is owned by someone else and by releasing it at the same time it thwarts the efforts of the band to re establish itself on a new label/tour.

  • Ceige

    Yeah, Bill Jagitsch you are very misinformed. The band, once it has been signed to a label and made an album, that is the last of the money they ever see from their music in that form. (in the old skool way of music.. back when Cheap Trick was signed) They (The Label) paid them for set number of albums, say 5 albums. and then when the contract expired the band was out on the streets (or if hugely popular, resigned for a new set of albums to do) once that cycle happens the artist no longer gets any money from that version of the performance. This is why bands tour. This is how they can make money (their own money) off of those songs. If they own the rights to their music, and most musicians do nowadays. They can always rerecord the music and try to re-release the songs themselves but they lack what the record labels have which is distribution networks and promotion connections. Self distribution is the way of future but it lacks the wide saturation and connection of the past with radio and record companies. What Dave Frey is saying is absolutely correct. The record labels shouldn’t have that kind of power over someone that is no longer signed to them. and it sucks that they use that information to ride (and continue to abuse) the srtists that they already have taken advantage (somewhat) of to begin with in the past, Death to the record labels. They are all greedy assholes.

  • tom

    from a blog post a few posts back:
    “First, in order for Nielsen to accuratly track sales, the UPCs for those albums must be pre-registered in their database. If the UPC is not registered in its database, Nielsen can not match the sales data to an album (or song). For example, if a digital store tells Nielsen it sold 100 copies of UPC # 123456789, and Nielsen has no idea what UPC # 123456789 is, it can not report the sales.
    Next, the majority of the 90,000 releases via TuneCore in 2009 were not registered with Soundscan therefore making it impossible for them to track or report on the sales.”
    so, someone must have registered it with soundscan, right?

    No, TuneCore does not sell data to Universal

  • loveless

    I believe it should be up to the artist when data gets shared.
    New Cheap Trick album is amazing, for sure.

  • Dave

    You would have a hard time convincing me that people stopped buying the new album because they heard the old ones were being re-released.
    My experience (as a small record label owner and artist) is that sales of re-releases boost sales of new albums and vice-versa UNLESS the new album isn’t to the liking of the fans who like the old material.
    As a matter of fact, I’m certain that Cheap Trick gets ~some~ royalties off the re-releases even if it isn’t huge. (Really, if they got signed in the manner some of you claim, I would be surprised. That didn’t happen as much as you think.) So really, I only see benefit in this.
    Soundscan collects data and sells it, that’s the business model. There isn’t anything evil about it, it just is. The data might have some information about Cheap Trick, but it isn’t about CT specifically and CT did nothing to collect the data, so there is no reason why they should own any part of it.
    Sorry, I know you want this to be a David & Goliath story, but it isn’t.

  • The real deal

    I have a 15 year old daughter and I want her to have a career in music eventually acting etc, and I intend for her to be huge! Fortunately I am very wealthy so here’s what I intend to do. I will hire a top producer ( maybe Mutt Lange, who’s probably available) to take her into the Record Plant in LA and spend whatever it takes to record 12 songs written by the likes of lady gaga, pink, Justin timberlake, missy elliott, whatever. I can afford to hire the best players and will probably have guest artists such as Slash, a duet with Beyonce, and whoever wants to collaborate. Upon the albums release, i will advertise in all the major magazines, Radio, television, etc. including a full page in billboard and rolling stone. I will then proceed to buy 850,000 albums within the first 2 weeks, (beacuse I can) and with today’s sales numbers that should pretty much make it the #1 album on the charts for some time. If/when it begins to slip I will just buy another 250,000 or so, and so on until I can guarantee the Grammy for best new album, based on sales.
    it doesnt matter that she has limited talent, we can always pitch correct, lip synch , whatever, at least until her career is up and running, by which time we should be able to get her into a film with Miley Cyrus, or Taylor Swift, and soon thereafter we should be about breaking even on our investment. She will be about 18 at that time, and if Playboy is still around, we might be inclined to negotiate. The “breakout” concert tour should net more than the 10 Million or so expenditure required to get this up and running… regardless, she will be a celebrity!
    Oh, and any of you really truly gifted, musically talented virtuosos, all I can say is: forget it…you haven’t got a chance!
    Note: as it pertains to me personally, the above is a fictional scenario..but it is a truth…because that is how it’s done! and don’t kid yourself.

  • This article—while informative—is fairly poorly written. Tune core has the opportunity to rival the ‘industry insights’ offered up by other sources, but I won’t be reading more if the quality continues to be this low. After reading the 1st draft-quality article, I was surprised to see a rather depressing ‘it just is’. No tips on how to use this info to help market new albums (what I thought the article was about to begin with), an no answer to the question posed about whether or not TuneCore can help the artist. Overall a bad reflection on both Dave Frey and TuneCore.

  • Firstly, Cheap Trick is the most underrated band in the history of Rock and Roll. They are ground breaking musicians that people only remember because of their “funny name” and that “surrender” song.
    I thought I would get that out of the way.
    They are also still hard at work on the road. That is to be commended.
    What their manager is describing is absolutely spot on.
    What the first post described in his fictional account is spot on as well.
    The rest of the naysayers can shove it. They don’t have a clue. I have been in this business for over 30 years and the first post says it all. “Buybacks”; that is how mediorce music dominates the charts. It’s that simple. How do you think some unknown “crap” artist has a number one hit before the record even gets released? Who bought all those advance copies?
    Answer: His label.
    Then they give the records out as promo to radio and media, yadayada.
    I think you get the picture.
    Keep up the good work Cheap Trick. One of the last great rock and roll bands.

  • All I can say is…while Technology may have helped many musicians, bands and singer/sonwriters to create proffessional recordings, it f*cked everyones ability to make a living at it, unless you have the funds to push it. Its funny when people tell, No your wrong look at all the music on Myspace, etc. Well most of it is sh*t. Not art, not Rock… Gone are the days when DJs at Radio stations got to choose and possibly launch a new Bon Jovi or Guns and Roses just by playing there songs a few times during a set. I guess there may be reasons for the decline but I get the feeling we are back in the 50’s when artists were created by their producers, sing what they are told and fit in all the same genres. I may be older but I believe in the power of music and what we have now is mostly homgenized crap. Anything worth listening to is way on the fringe with a less than remote possibility of changing the world… Do lyrics count anymore???

  • Stop complaining and make better music. Give people a reason to buy a higher value experience.

  • What about a band’s publishing? If they own even 50% of it, they stand to make money off of those dusty old recordings for the rest of their lives; and their heirs’ lives, and on and on. It only helps generate publishing income when a record is re-released, if they have publishers doing their job by getting those songs out there–on movie soundtracks, video games, TV commercials, etc. Get to work, manager guy! Rattle their cages over at the publishing desk and tell them to get “Surrender” on a perfume commercial or something. Unless, the band don’t own ANY part of their publishing rights–in which case, that sucks.

  • There is another aspect to this as well. Burying data makes it more difficult to point out the inaccuracies (aka lies) that come from the industry at large.
    I don’t think they need to break it down by artist. But you can’t find totals. There aren’t any public numbers for new releases for any year since 2000.
    It’s proprietary information, and even if you find out, you’re not allowed to use it.
    “the majority of the 90,000 releases via TuneCore in 2009 were not registered with Soundscan therefore making it impossible for them to track or report on the sales.”
    I’ve seen SoundScan’s number of new releases for 2009. There is simply no way in hell that the major labels have enough artists left to have released as many records as Nielsen cites.

  • DJ

    The big label dinosaur is dead and laying on the side of the road. They keep feeding the dead dinosaur,…it continues to just lay there…and reeek !!! Digital is here. Self produced vinyl is here. Oasis makes it possible to get sweet deals on dupes. Indie artists and efforts are here. All of these are alive and well. Radio is another large animal laying on the side of the road. It exists mostly to promote advertising, and not artists. Times they are a changin’ !!! These changes are necessary. Time to grow some grapes and buck the established and soon to be defunct “status quo” !!! GO TRICK !!!! GO SWITCHFOOT !!! These guys took the risk,….and won’t go away.
    Seeing the efforts of Cheap Trick, the Nails, and other innovators as they continue to “Rock On !!!” is food for the musical soul. IMHO !!!!

  • Adam

    Those last two comments seem off base. The band still gets royalties off of re-released CDs unless they have the most unusual recording contract I’ve ever heard of for a 1970s band like Cheap Trick. Might be low ball 8% of retail, but might be high end 15% if they resigned with CBS after Dream Police for example, I don’t know. Also, the songwriters (generally CT members on CT records) would get the mechanical royalties as well (along with the publisher). But, CT catalog other than for the big hits might not be a ton o’cash. I love CT and hope they tour still out of love and not financial need. They were great last time round with Journey/Heart tour. “The Latest” is a great album btw, if you don’t have it get it.

  • This is ridiculous to have to read. Just cut an album and putting effort to cross all my t’s, I registered with Soundscan. Now what, hope I don’t do that well. God…I think I’ll go retire onto another planet and make music there. This is cuttin my throat before I’m even released.

  • bill jagitsch

    The record label has every right to repackage material and sell it. I fail to see how promoting your band without you lifting a finger can be a bad thing. It can do nothing but good, you sell more cd’s, you make more money, get more exposure. Sign me up!

  • bill jagitsch

    if you don’t want the record labels to have that power, don’t sign the contract. simple : )

  • I happen to agree with the first comment there. If you never sign the contract, your publishing rights are yours and if you get a lawyer who has half a brain, the royalties are yours for the taking publisher or not. However, let’s not crucify the man. He’s in the business and I’m sure he knows what the hell he’s talking about. He brings up a great point for those folks who want to be on a major label (you know that still happens these days). I personally hope to never be on a label, because I think it’s usually a raw deal, but whatever floats your boat. This is why we love Tunecore. As for Cheap Trick…buy out the old contracts out if it’s worth it or something? Otherwise, lessons learned. I don’t know I’m no industry professional. Is it legal for Soundscan to sell their info? File a lawsuit for god’s sake.

  • the problem with the old label putting out old recordings at the same time as an artists new release is that it fucks up sales for the new music. Getting paid royalties on the old tunes again doesn’t solve the problem. It is the new music that we want to sell to keep our careers alive. The numbers are low on the new release because the public can mistake the repackaged bullshit record with the new record and buy it instead.
    This happened to me once and it sucked. A “best of” was released by my old label at the same time as a new record for a new label.
    It hurt sales, and that looks bad to the industry, so gigs are harder to get, radio is harder to get, and so on.

  • Andrew

    As far as I’m concerned that’s a non issue for most artists. There’s far greater problems to me than that and I think as 1 reviewer cleverly put it will probably be more of a help than a hinderence. It’s impressive to see a band like Cheap Trick still around though with all the imaginable ups and downs they must have faced.

  • I’m sorry tunecore, but I really expected better from you than an article like this. What a dreadful case of sour grapes this guy must be experiencing, and very insulting toward the bands fanbase.
    Do you really think that someone who wants to buy the a Cheap Trick album might inadvertently buy a best-of release instead? How stupid do you think Cheap Trick’s fans are?
    Look, I’m sure it must be frustrating to see previous record companies re-release compilations to coincide with new releases, because you have to do all the hard work to promote the new album and all they have to do is refresh a marketing campaign. But to call these practises “predatory”? Its not an attempt to steal revenue from a new release, its merely capitalizing on heightened interest in the band. They are simply doing their job. And “cannibalizing”? That would involve taking tracks off the new release to put on the compilation. Hardly accurate – if they are, you’ve got one hell of a strange deal going on.
    If you withhold the information from Soundscan, all you’re doing is limiting awareness of the bands new release from the public. True die hard fans will be checking the bands website, or you can presumably inform them through direct marketing, but if you withold your release from Amazon and the like because you’re scared of people sharing your information, you’ll miss out on a lot of casual sales too. I guarantee you your competitors won’t. Don’t forget the Amazon exchange of information is a river that flows both ways, with recommendations etc.
    Don’t hate your competitors because they have more information and a better marketing strategy than you. And don’t hurt your band by reducing interest in their back catalogue from which they will earn money (although I image YOU don’t, and perhaps the point) just to try and retain complete control over the latest release. You stated the information is available to be bought. So buy it, and use it.
    If this were my manager I’d sack him, and find someone thats able to use this information to my advantage rather than complain about how other people are using it successfully.

  • Ken Loebel

    I have read the comments and do not understand the anger towards Cheap Trick manager – in the information age, the band should be able to protect its information, and license it for sale to the relssers – it is property being used without consent, and clearly without authorization. We musicians need to protect our rights, because the porporate weenies look at each of us for what they can get from us – not for us –

  • Ken Loebel

    I don’t need to buy any data to know that there is a lot of crap being bought – and they day of the concept album will hopefully come back-
    My recommendation is to own, trademark and copyright all aspects of the name, data, and all electroninc information pertaining to sales of your protected products and then license the rights – you may have a right under the privacy act.
    So- when will the corporrate radio experiment fail and allow us to hear good music – there is a ton of talen available on many sources – what is the best way to monitize it?

  • loveuall1

    Tunecore and Soundscan are not alone in the data they give to 3rd parties. Artists would be surprised at the data being shared with corporations.
    Sharing things = internet.
    This is the new age of the internet.
    Privacy is really going away.

  • Rod

    Here’s an Idea…
    Put out a better album, one that fans will want more than the old “Best of”
    May seem silly, but it may just work!

  • m

    it’s the way of the world,ha ha ha ha ha ha …

  • If you changed the name of the band would you be able to sell as a new product, better than the old? Or are you doing exactly the same thing as the rest by using the name “Cheap Trick”? Is “THE LATEST” just another rehash of THE Best Of?

  • Mario

    I think I’m missing the whole point? I don’t see why them having information such as sex, age, and other misc. info about your fan base is so valuable? As long as you get paid for the sale of your music it should be fine. Releasing a record to compete with the bands current release is definitely underhanded, I follow that one. If I’m missing something important here please let me know. As far as I can tell Soundscan has some useless information that isn’t going to really figure anything out that you couldn’t figure out for yourself with a little more digging. Again, that releasing CD’s to actually compete with Cheap Trick’s new release is just blasphemy, naked treachery! Or as we say in the hood, “I feel you on that one”!

  • Johnny Van Veld

    This seems like a serious debacle from the management point of view, however, I am in agreement with most who see this as a sales opportunity for the band. I’m independent & have produced & Released a ton music, all of which has made me MONEY. Whether anyone likes it or not, we’re in a competitive business, whether we be Cheap Trick, Johnny Van Veld, Or VanHalen.. The point is, that information is out there because the artist put it out there. if you don’t know how a thing like this could happen, then you’re not doing your job as a manager… Read the fine print. I’m sure part of your duties as their manager is contract negotiations & legals. My Gosh!

  • uthinknot

    Very deep comments thoroughly envious such sweet music that must be created from dense minds Yes this is the future Long live the sweater slipper record executive yellowing under the curl of its toes…Happy V day

  • bill

    i didn’t know cheap trick was still together…

  • hello! I’m interested for your eas im im independass musician i have recodig in US in new fom africa i was loking for promoter a manenger i have the mon frome africa 1 mont a go i haved the Data in damon i can maked you linsing you will se wat you tinks! we ar working to the web Site it not finish yet very sooon! thanks and many bleesing!!

  • Invisible Finger

    I don’t appreciate Soundscan selling my client’s information to anyone.
    The record of a sales transaction from a retailer to an end consumer is not your client’s information.
    Poor Cheap Trick – they seem to have an uncanny history of hiring idiots for managers.

  • Are the old labels simply trying to ride the coat tails of the new releases? If so, wouldn’t the fans be interested in the new songs rather than ones they have already heard? Very interesting article.

  • chris

    Rob has a point and as well does Tommy Castro.Being a huge fan of Cheap Trick if I wanted info on the band,i.e;tour dates,record release info,I’m going to the bands website and it should be up to their webmaster to let the fans know what’s up with the band in these reguards.If I’m at the store browsing albums there is always a “new release” section that should have the “new” albums and if some smart excec. puts out an album with a bunch of older tunes by that same band then we as consumers or fans of these bands have the right to purchase whichever we choose.Sounds to me like this guy should do a better job reading the “fine print”…

  • Anneke

    Before commenting it would help if people realized that “the Latest” is not a greatest hits CD, but a brand spanking new FANTASTIC CD! Dave is 100% right in his comment, and us true fans are certainly doing our share also in promoting “the Latest” all the way. Their music + their product should equal their profits!

  • When Cheap Trick signed with their various record companies they contractually agreed to let the record companies release the songs recorded while under contract with them. This is a record company’s contractual right. I don’t see how the fact that they are targeting people who bought tickets to see Cheap Trick in concert or bought other Cheap Trick albums creates a problem – these are the people that are LEAST LIKELY to buy a recycled greatest hits package – we’ve already got this stuff!
    Also, let’s not forget, Cheap Trick gets paid every time those new compilations are sold (unless they signed a really bad contract way back when . . . ).
    The fact that the old labels continually re-release old material everytime new material comes out isn’t really the issue. The issues are that the new material doesn’t hold up as well (the gems get lost among the filler) and Cheap Trick’s management hasn’t done a great job of promoting them and protecting/building their brand. How many Indian Casino’s and Def Leppard tours (as the warm up to the warm up act) do you have to play before mainstream rock fans write you off?
    It’s time to focus on songs, song placement (especially for the new tunes, Surrender and few others are getting placed), and modern marketing techniques. By modern marketing I’m thinking along the lines of leveraging the legacy to build new audiences – for instance, a Cheap Trick night on American Idol, where everyone has to sing a Cheap Trick song. It might be hard to get in place, but that’s the way modern marketing is going. Also, it’s not clear to me that they are effectively leveraging the Sgt Peppers shows to build a new base.
    Also, the band may need a stronger producer and the commensurate discipline that can bring. They seem to have lost their way – there is less edge in many of the rock songs, some bloated arrangements (especially in the guitars), and too many “filler” tunes. I don’t know if this calls for Rick Rubin, or maybe an EP of killer tunes vs. the obligatory ablum full. Fix this and the rest will follow.
    Finally, why not fight fire with fire? Go out and buy some information on who is buying the albums of the bands Cheap Trick has influenced and target those fans for the new album. I would expect the people buying the newest Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters or [insert target band audience here] may be a ripe target market.
    I’m a huge fan and see them every chance I get, but it’s time to quit the bitchin’ and start dealing with the realities of the cold new music world. They’ve got the talent and they are due for a revival. Let’s hope they get it together soon.

  • Thanks for all the constructive criticism.
    I certainly didn’t mean to come off whining and complaining and I will try to write to some of the issues raised.
    In my opinion The Latest is a really great record.
    There’s never been a better time to be in the record business and this release has exceeded expectations.
    The distributor(s) of The Latest, including Tunecore provide us with fantastic information on who is buying what.
    So in my opinion, repeat, in my opinion SoundScans’ only stake in the band’s new self release is to sell what I view as the BAND’s information to others.
    I called SoundScan in advance asking them to ignore this release, but “they can’t.”
    This is an old topic so I’m surprised at the reaction, from an excerpt on a thesis concerning Strategic Information Management;
    “Given the ‘hit-and-miss’ nature of the music business, a key competitive edge for a trendsetting retailer like Newbury Comics is knowing what will sell, and then selling these products aggressively and exclusively within a short window of time. As Dreese of Newbury Comics discovered, among the beneficiaries of the information provided by SoundScan are intermediaries like Handleman. Handleman credits SoundScan with getting them detailed information that it uses for inventory planning and replenishment at the stores of clients like Wal-Mart. Once Newbury Comics realized to what extent its mainstream competitors such as Wal-Mart were benefitting from the precise regional data that it shared with SoundScan— information which these competitors could never compile on their own— it ‘pulled the plug’ and stopped sharing information with SoundScan.”
    So I figured why couldn’t Cheap Trick simply “pull the plug” like Dreese did?
    And now I’ve poked the bear so I’ll concede that I’m an information predator also.
    I’ve paid for information on the band’s fans; who bought what, when, how, and all that, and it’s been tremendously useful. When a show is put on sale or an promotion is scheduled I’ve arranged for info on who bought before, even did the; “if you liked this band you’ll probably like that band” program.
    But I feel that the only entity who should message any band’s fans is that band themselves, so to me Cheap Trick buying information on Cheap Trick’s fans is okay,
    If SoundScan bought information on SoundScan’s fans, or if Ticketmaster bought information on Ticketmaster’s fans that would be fantastic. Like Apple does with their fans.
    And again, this is only my opinion on an old topic.
    Thank you

  • Chris

    The Latest is a great new album/CD. No band will very relive thier youth and only a very few bands play to the level of their hay days! Those are the really big bands of the 60/70’s. I would not worry to much about Cheap Trick and thier mamagement, they go together hand in hand, for over 35 years they have made some dumb mistakes with regard to thier career. That’s what makes them so cool, they make some dumb mistakes, loss money and then go back out on the road to pay the rent. And once in awhile write and record a few really cool songs.

  • Melissa Marie

    Cheap Trick’s current management has nothing to do with the poor, shoddy management the band experienced over the years. Their current management has given the band back their “cool” profile as opposed to past management who ran them into the ground with Diane Warren songs and Richie Zito-produced albums that totally ruined their credo. Doing 3-night stands – great! Then all these other bands started copying that model and doing the same thing – a different album a night for consecutive nights.
    The band is constantly trying new innovative approaches thanks to their current management. So what if they have to play some casinos? At least they’re getting out there and touring consistently. So what if they’re “the opener for the opener” on a tour? Last summer’s tour with Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick was one of the highest grossing, popular tours of the summer! The summer before that, with Journey and Heart – again, Cheap Trick was on that bill as well and it, too, was one of the highest grossing, popular tours of the summer.
    That’s a good way to get your music out there to a lot of people – and people who aren’t the usual hardcore fans who might sit there and say, “they were pretty good – I’m going to get their album.” Why should a casual fan like that be subjected to the reissued crap that the former labels put out for consumption? And these casual fans unknowingly end up picking that up instead of the current release because the former crap labels decide to glut the market? The point is, these “best of” products are inferior releases.
    (And to the person that said something like “real fans won’t buy the reissued crap” – not true. I’ve seen fans buy that stuff “just to have it” – so the old label wins anyway.)
    “The Latest” has garnered great reviews across the board. It’s a stellar album. If you look back on Cheap Trick’s non-major-label release history, you will see that every time a new product came out, the older labels release an inferior “best of” product.
    It’s not just Cheap Trick – it’s all bands – especially the ones who have been around for a long time – that suffer the same fate.
    Dave Frey is correct and on the point. The bands should be able to control their own information. Some old label shouldn’t be allowed to glut a store with inferior product just because they find out a band is doing an in-store signing and they figure people will pick up whatever the new album is, and also their own product. Seems like it’s mostly bands that came up in the 60s and 70s that suffer this fate more than the rest – Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, REO Speedwagon, etc.

  • joe

    if the item did not have a UPC/EAN code, could SoundScan still register the sale?

  • Diana Forsea

    I don’t know much about The Biz. I love Cheap Trick. Kudos to the people who work for and with Cheap Trick. It takes many people to put on great shows and make wonderful albums.
    Is there any proof, that if the label puts out old material, it will dilute sales of the new album? It makes sense that it would. I heard the old material does not have great sound. It does not seem fair for the label, to be leaching off Cheap Trick. It seems like the label is trying to trick the band’s fans, too.
    Cheap Trick came to the label very strong and had a lot to offer. The band played live for years, before they signed. They were talented, tight, hard working, had visual appeal, humor, many songs and skills. It seems the label did not know what to do with CT, the band was poorly promoted, on most albums, and the label interfeared with CT’s creativity. CT hit big commercial success with Budokan, a self produced album. I think the label hurt CT more than helped them. I don’t think the label had much to do with that. I don’t think the label helped the band much. After CT left the label, the music improved. It bugs me that the label is still making money off CT, after what they did and are still giving the band headaches.
    I love CT’s legendary live shows. I don’t care who they are playing with, if I can go, I will and enjoy what I get, even if it’s a shorter set. If it can be done, I think it would be better for CT, to play longer sets, with bands that have more respect and play similar music to CT. The recent shows with half of Jellyfish were great. It think the TV exposure was good for CT. Hope more is comming and announced on CT’s message boards so, fans can tune in and notify other people to watch. Can they get on more shows? How about Oprah or Biography channel. Love the interviews. All four band members have great personalities. It would be good to get the other guys to do more. Rick seems to do most. Whatever the CT camp is doing, it’s working. CT seems strong now.
    I’m very glad this article came my way. I thought buying the albums, the label puts out, would help CT, lol. I will not be doing that in the future and encourage others, not to do that. I’ll stick to buying albums off CT’s site and used items. Information like this is helpful on CT’s message boards.

  • LB Higginbotham

    Sounds like it’s time to pull a Cheap Trick of your own talk to an industry lawyer about dissolving all contacts, possibly siting inevitable anguish (with Doctors Progress backing you up) Buy out of your contracts and go Indie! There are lots of good options out there for lucrative self promotion. Set up your own vanity site as that will trump past media files published by past media partners.
    Good luck,

  • Don Plob

    Dave – Let me preface my brief remarks by stating I am a ridiculously huge Cheap Trick and think “The Latest” and the current live set are both the best work the guys have done in years.
    But your issue is, dare I say, naïve. Virtually every interaction you make is being tracked and that data is then sold to someone else. The DMV – sold. Your local grocery store and their ‘rewards card’ – sold. Google, Amazon, iTunes, etc. – every click you make online is being monitored in one way or another and your habits create a profile for companies to market to. What you’ve described has been mainstream for years and a widely acceptable form of marketing intelligence.
    And on the issue of labels following artist trends to sell more product – as a rights holder, they have an obligation to market their assets with as much intelligence as possible. When they see a legacy act tour, record, appear on TV or in a movie, etc. it only makes sense to attempt to deliver more content during any period of increased awareness. And as pointed out by someone else, the band benefits financially from the sale of those assets as well.
    Just my two cents.

  • IHeartCT

    Not a lot of literate people making comments, and all under the guise of knowing it all. Anyways, unfortunately I bought ‘The Latest’ from iTunes because that was the easiest way to get it onto my blackberry. Always have been, always will be a die-hard Cheap Trick fan!

  • Dave

    The Newbury Comics example is dead on the money. Their sales info was being sold to a competitor who, through their deeper pockets, was able to cut Newbury’s throats. It would be the same as if your favorite local restaurant sold its sales info to a Soundscan-type group that sold it to a national chain so that the chain could alter their regional menus to steal customers away from the local.
    Cheap Trick has always had a strong touring work ethic, during good times and bad. And even though I like to see them as the main act, playing a longer show with more deep cut album tracks, but I understand that by joining the ‘package tours’, they’re gaining new fans by putting on great shows (Chicago’s review of last year’s show with Def Leppard and Poison said CT had the best show of the three and that the others should pick up some of their cues). Now as a Cheap Trick fan since the beginning, I’m able to recognize and ignore any of the endless repackages in the stores or online, but if someone sees a show and heads to the store to get something they’re at the mercy of the retailers who are tight with Soundscan and stocking all of the repackages. It’s quite likely that they might prefer a hits collection, but that’s Dave’s point, and that’s also why Cheap Trick specifically has labeled theirs as ‘Authorized’ greatest hits.
    And casinos? I’ve only seen a few rock shows, but they’ve been great sound and sightwise. Not quite the ‘rock concert’ vibe I’m usually used to (standing shoulder to shoulder and getting beer spilled on me), but still excellent when the band is good. Don’t know how many new fans they pick up from those, but as someone said, it helps pay the bills.
    ‘The Latest’ is a great ‘record’ in whatever format you hear it, and I for one still appreciate the artistry involved in an artists’ being able to sequence a great bunch of songs in a sensible way. And I think it’s good to see that Cheap Trick has a manager who is keeping an eye on all facets of their business dealings and the current market. It may be an uphill, or even impossible battle, but at least he’s trying.
    (Ironically, I noticed I’m required to give my email address to leave this comment… wonder what type of marketing list I’ll be put on for this info…

  • GinaFlashdance007

    Totally COOL. Finally Rick and Robin have an ‘ambassador’ for their vision and musicianship as intensely focused smartly spoken as David Frey.
    Thank you for setting the standard that should magnify the power of The Artist and the protection of the Craft of Creating sound. For those that have no respect for that …we’ll blow it out there ears lol

  • peter
    i am a huge fan of the tricksters!! please ck out my music cheap trick is my main influence.