Where Have All The Luddites Gone?: TD Archives, Issue 3, December 2004

Posted November 30, 2012 in Archive 100

Totally Dublin turns 100 next month, and we’re celebrating by dipping our fingers into our dusty archives to feature our best articles and give you a little snapshot of that month in Dublin. This article, from December 2004, deals with the insidious threat of new technology.

Cover: The Chalets
In the reviews: Kings of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak, U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, I <3 Huckabees
On our mind: “There was a 3-2-1 countdown and Mr. Why Go Bald blazed back to life among champagne and cheering as this precious icon of Irish modernity was saved for the nation.”Arran Henderson on the resurrection of the Why Go Bald? sign.


Words: Desmond Balmer

2004 has seen a sharp rise in newspapers and magazines giving away free CDs. In particular Saturday editions of dailies and Sunday papers have employed the free CD or DVD as a tactic to get as many 15-24 year olds to buy their verbose opinions on elitist culture, sport and politics. I think there is a distinct case of the pot calling the kettle black here. True to form some marketing genius in a moment of inspiration realised that these days kids like music and what better way to grab their attention and get them to buy newspapers rather than give them some free music gift wrapped in pretentious judgment. OK.

Let’s talk about this seriously: newspapers give away as much back catalogue ropey music as they see fit, but does it really work? No. And, here’s why: clever as some sales and marketing gurus persuade us they are, they sometimes are simply flogging a dead horse. Consider the music that is given away: ropey old tunes, pop artists that no longer make the grade, and styles and tunes so out of fashion your dad’s old flares curl up at the hem upon hearing them. Pop music history is replete with bad music and rather allowing it to rest in peace newspapers across Britain and Ireland resurrect them to the interim satisfaction and benefit of has-been artists and greedy publishers.

Has it worked? No, not really. For all this promotional hustle and bustle the national dailies in the UK have seen an eight per cent decline in sales to the coveted 15-24 year olds. Will it stop? No, not really. Rather than go to the expense of manufacturing a CD the marketing sages have went digital and hooked up with legal download sites, such as Napster, Kazza and Wippit. Very soon Ingrooves, Trackitdown and Electrotoxic will all be sipping Bloody Marys at weekend brunch whilst consuming the inflated opinions of medias equally inflated old, white middle-class scribes. Akin to the supermarket coupon, newspapers will give their readers ‘passwords’ that they can use at the respective download service and get the music they want. Great. No more ropey tunes by erstwhile artists. No longer will editors and marketing people pick music for us. All you need are elementary computer skills to take part is this frenzied media cabaret.


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