With few exceptions, 1982 marked a healthy changing of the guard in the pop world. Many grizzled veterans gamely hung in there, a few made startling returns to classic form, while others simply called it quits. But for the first time in all too many years, a squadron of new names dominated the charts.
The record industry, given no quarters by the video game boom, was buffeted and bruised by the same financial burdens that have affected so many businesses this year; sales were down, layoffs were up, consolidation was the new tune being played industry-wide. In November, giant Warner/Elektra/Asylum started a forceful counterattack by announcing that after the first of the year, 90 percent of its extensive catalogue would carry a $6.98 list price, down $2 from current prices.
That bold move and the success of midlines helped offset the continuing and drastic problems of home-taping and the increasingly threatening specter of record rentals. Copyright infringement seems to be the '80s equivalent of Prohibition bootlegging; everybody seems to be doing it, even enjoying it -- except back then, people paid for their pleasures. And because money was tight all around, fewer acts toured, especially on the arena level. The only beneficiary: showcase nightclubs like the Bayou and the increasingly active Wax Museum, which have survived even as smaller clubs (Desperado's in July, the Psyche Delly next week) have dropped out.