The New York Stock Exchange, and the markets have reacted badly to the
music industry's yearly announcement of turnover. With profits slumping and
accounts well into the red, business experts are moving the blame for this
cataclysmic reversal from previous problems, such as illegal downloads and
home taping, to the heavy metal band Guns N' Roses.
Yesterday a spokesman for the British branch of EMI Warner said: "This is terrible. Without cash flow none
of the big three labels can afford to promote new albums, and after those appalling figures we're finding it
difficult to be positive. Everyone here is afraid for their jobs. First Americans overturn the stereotype by
proving themselves intelligent enough to avoid the Robbie Williams record, now this. However many mediocre
Placebo albums we sell to crabby German Goths I don't think we'll be able to bounce back from this one, let
alone recoup the millions we've already spent on Chinese Democracy."
'Chinese Democracy' is the title of the new Guns N' Roses record which the band have been working on since
1994. Frontman and sole remaining original member W.Axl Rose has so far got through thirty-plus
replacement band members, some reportedly part-robot, and wasted an estimated 20,000 studio hours in
pursuit of music people might want to listen to. Thus far the sessions have yielded just one song for public
consumption, 1999's 'Oh My God' which appeared on the soundtrack to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie 'End Of Days', a film completed prior to the actors bow to the inevitable as he began an irresistable ascent to lead the free world. Industry speculation surrounding the group is now at fever pitch with some reports maintaining the yearly fried chicken bill for guitarist 'Buckethead' comes to more than 3% of EMI Warner's annual profits by itself, while others claim the mooted LP doesn't actually exist at all.
Benjamin Ratskywatsky, world-renowned media analyst and author of 'Wasteful Bands and the Idiots Who Indulge Them', told Home Defence why he believes this unfortunate state of affairs has come about.
"Things have changed in the music world since the days My Bloody Valentine or that bloke from Dexy's Midnight Runners could spend a stupid amount of money on a record and the only person they'd bankrupt was Alan McGee. With endless cross-label ownership and vertical integration we've now reached the stage where every record label in the world is owned by one of three different conglomerates. Even supposedly independent labels are really just subsidaries of Universal, Sony BMG or EMI Warner. And this triumverate of businesses are so entwined in terms of investment and distribution that a band spending billions of dollars on one album that'll never see the light of day can fuck it up for everyone else."
Although too confused to speak with Home Defence W.Axl Rose (real name: Bill Bailey) seemed
blase about his role in destroying the music industry as we know it, already telling anybody waiting
for 'Chinese Democracy': "Don't. Live your life." Despite this advice many fans, who've grown fat
and old since the release of the band's risible 'Spaghetti Incident' abortion, continue to believe
Rose can finish a record then promote it in a way which won't sully our collective memory of Guns
N' Roses, a band who defined the hard rock sound through the late eighties and early nineties with
their pioneering blend of misogyny and swearwords.
Unfortunately the other possibility, which somehow seems more plausible, is Axl won't get his act together and instead spend the next decade much as he saw out the last one; falling out with former friends and auditioning drummers. If this happens it could spell unemployment for thousands of DJs, record pluggers and Kelly Osbourne, a state of affairs I, for one, do not wish to consider. Last year Rose further frustrated the industry by forgetting to turn up for his first American gig in nine years and telling the press he had "no idea a European tour was scheduled", so we aren't holding our breath that Axl's going to get his head straight any time soon. Meanwhile all through the headquarters of the three music conglomerates moneymen are furiously trying to balance the books but it doesn't look good, although we did manage to find one anonymous executive who chose to remain resolutely upbeat.
"This is just a blip. We'll write it off, no problem. That's what we did with Mariah." He babbled, sweating profusely. "Besides, as soon as word of mouth builds on the new Limp Bizkit record our financial worries will be gone in an instant."