On the record
JIM CARROLLon music
Is it time for the bashers to give Spotify a break?
I MUST HAVE missed the memo from my record label buddies about the need to criticise Spotify at every possible juncture. That’s how it felt over the last year when talk turned to the most promenient music streaming service in the business. Every single time, Spotify’s low returns were highlighted.
A lot of this was a leftover from the industry’s dealings with Apple. It took ages for the record labels to realise that the late Steve Jobs had played them for suckers. Leading music industry execs, allegedly the first and last word in cunning, were blindsided by the man in the polo-neck looking to use music to flog his iPods.
The labels were adamant that they would not be fooled again and thus adopted a more bullish approach when the streaming services came to do deals.
But Spotify has begun to fight back against the negative spin. One of the most interesting outcomes from the recent Emily White/David Lowery to-do – young intern writes naive blog post, old musician attacks her and blames her for death of other musicians – were revelations about the increasing amounts Spotify pay labels (remember Spotify deals with labels not artists).
According to Charles Caldas from label distributor Merlin, Spotify’s payments to their 10,000-plus labels rose 250 per cent between March 2011 and 2012. Given that Spotify is just beginning to make inroads in the US, that revenue can only increase.
All of which makes you wonder if it’s time for the bashers to give Spotify and the other streaming services a break. It’s obvious that increasing numbers of mainstream music fans are embracing these services with gusto due to convenience and cost. The labels may look back fondly on the days of flogging CDs for a premium, but those days ain’t coming back. Time to play nice with Spotify and friends.
ALL WE ARE
Liverpool-based trio featuring Irish, Norwegian and Brazilian members were one of the acts featured a lot in this year’s Sound City despatches. Fans of dreamy, folky psych-pop should take note of their We Hunt EP for the Payper Tiger label, especially free download Cardhouse.
Formed in a garden shed in High Wycombe after school detention initially threw them together, Coastal Cities are five teens who produce sparkling, jittery indie-pop with shades of everyone from Foals to Metronomy in the mix. Check out new single, Relief, for reasons to be cheerful
From Regina in Saskatchewan, Indigo Joseph throw blues, funk, folk and rock together with great aplomb. We like the cut of the Canucks’ tunes such as Black Jack and In Memorium and recommend them for anyone looking for new some stonking jams.
Phronesis Walking Dark(Edition) Deep, emotive, beautifully sculpted sounds from the London-based jazz trio, who play Dublin’s NCH John Field Room on July 23rd and Sligo Jazz Festival on July 24th.
Killer Mike RAP Music(Williams St) The Atlanta veteran delivers one of the finest hip-hop blasts of the year with this El-P-produced album.
Cleo Sol Never the Right Time(Who Do You Love) (Island) Soulful, sunny, blissful sounds from the London sweetie.
Other Lives Tamer Animals(TBD) Last year’s album from Oklahoma’s Other Lives has some sublime, spine-chilling moments. They are playing Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens on July 21st with Lisa Hannigan.
Chic Le Freak(Atlantic) Get set for four Irish summer shows from Nile Rodgers and co with one of their biggest thrillers.