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I read awhile ago that the music business has kind of gone back in time to the early ’60’s, where it was not about album sales, but rather the “hit” single. And, even further back to the days of Vaudeville, where it’s about the spectacle of the live experience– like Houdini hanging hundreds of feet above the street escaping from a straight-jacket, just to promote the evening show (where tickets probably sold for pennies a piece…) I’m not sure either one is a good thing, though. Do we have to be David Blaine in order to make a living doing that for which we have trained so hard and for so long…?


Hello My Friends,

I feel like Rip Van Winkle… but in a good way. What a strange new thing this facebook thing is. (To me, it is brand new). So much time has passed and yet, here everybody is…

So, how’ve you been? And how are you now? I hope it has been an amazing journey– I’m sure it has been interesting, but “interesting” is not always good. (If you recall, the so-called Chinese curse is, “May you live in interesting times.”)

As for me, I’ve had to deal with some personal issues these past years with regards to my children being kidnapped by their mother. There’s some info on this on my website,, so I won’t go into it here, but it pulled me away from my professional objectives for a very long time.

Before the shit hit the fan, I had released an album that got airplay on about 100 stations nationwide, and charted in the College Music Journal. I did some incidental music for the USA Network television show, “La Femme Nikita“. I got my band, Cut To The Chase, to the point where Tracy Chapman and Lenny Kravitz‘s manager was in discussions with us about doing a label deal (where we would have our own imprint), and… then the wheels came off and I spent years searching for my children. (An aside, never marry a “family lawyer”.)

So. Now. Despite all that, I’ve done my best to keep my chops up, and I am in the process of releasing some new music. This whole web thing is foreign in terms of doing business. Not that long ago, when my partner, Mike Lummio and I, were running the independent label Art & Commerce Records, the idea was to sell a CD in a music store or by mail order. The profit was between $9 and $10 per CD.

Now, it’s iTunes and Amazon, where I’m told very few actually buy an album, but rather buy songs a la carte. I’m told that you are lucky if one person buys 4 songs. And this at the rate of 99 cents per song, split with iTunes or Amazon, and not always in the artist’s favor… Kind of hard to make a living like that– cutting up nickels…

So, we’ll see. But on the surface, this business model would seem to be untenable.

I’m also told, that no one knows what the new business model is going to be. It, apparently, hasn’t been invented, yet. I hear this is so for both music and film.

I read that Prince pronounced the internet dead, insofar as selling music goes… He noted that iTunes won’t give him an advance for his records, and as was reported a few weeks ago, he gave away several thousand CD’s to subscribers of a British newspaper, and then went on to play a club in France for a solid week for just under $5 million.

Unfortunately, most of the rest of us are not in Prince’s position to make up for a lack of sales on iTunes by simply gigging for a week to the tune of $5 M.

Speaking of iTunes, how do we know how much we actually sell there? All we know is what iTunes says was sold… Back in the day, the Harry Fox Agency was said to be the only entity capable of demanding a full audit from a major label. But who audits iTunes?

Grist for the mill, eh? More later….

Check out the new video on youtube:

Okay, so.  I now have a facebook page:!/profile.php?id=100001426114937&v=wall

and an page:

in addition to this blog page:

and twitter:

So.  Okay.  I guess we see what happens next.  It has been nice coming across folks I haven’t seen in years on facebook.


The new album by The Thunder Group, Ride The Lightning. Get it at Amazon and iTunes.


1.  Wilder Thing

Mark Manley, fretted and fretless basses, vocals

Casebeer, vocals

Erik Rogan, drums

2.  Pretty Baby [explicit]

Mark Manley, bass guitar and vocals

Bernard Purdie, drum loop

3.  Sinuendo

Mark Manley, bass guitar and vocals.

Carl Coan, saxophone

4.  Bass Mechanic (Live)

Mark Manley, double-neck bass guitar

Glen “Bono” Saunders, drums

5.  Rain Forest

Mark Manley, fretted and fretless basses

6.  Garden

Mark Manley, bass guitar and vocals

Bernard Purdie, drum loop

7.  Drug

Mark Manley, fretted and fretless basses, acoustic guitar, vocals, and percussion

Ryan Baker, drums and percussion

Jason Southard, guitars and vocals

8.  Smile

Mark Manley, bass guitar

Bernard Purdie, drum loop

9.  Peace Pill [explicit]

Mark Manley, bass and vocals

Ryan Baker, drums

Jason Southard, guitar

10.  Sex

Mark Manley, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and keyboards

11.  Ride The Lightning  (Live-in-the-studio Improv)

Mark Manley, bass

David Loy, keyboards

Craig Washington, drums

12.  Armed & Delicious [explicit] [Bonus Track, album only]

Mark Manley, bass guitar, vocals

Bernard Purdie, drum loop

Produced by Mark Manley.

All material, except as noted, written and composed by Mark Manley.  Ó 2010 by Mark Manley.

The new record, Ride The Lightning, is now available on Amazon and iTunes.  It is slammin’.  Check it out.