October 23rd, 2016
Spotify, you win. I have downloaded you to my laptop and have decided to help you kill what’s left of the music business. Lady Gaga released her new album “Joanne” this week. The first single “Perfect Illusion” has been played on Spotify a whopping 38 million times. This will net Lady Gaga an estimated $154.77. Why? Because of the lopsided deal the record industry made with Spotify. So somebody is getting rich, but not the artists.
Another example. The rapper Nelly owes the IRS $2.4 million and some jokester wrote an article saying it would take 287 million streams of his hit “Hot In Herre” for him to repay the IRS. It would actually cost less if people went to iTunes and bought his song again but we’re just highlighting the ridiculous pay structure at hand.
Taylor Swift moved her tracks off Spotify. Prince only had one song on Spotify, as does King Crimson and Tool. Garth Brooks is the best selling American artist of the last 25 years and none of his music is on Spotify. The only Neil Young albums you can find are the shitty Geffen Records ones from the 80’s that were so bad David Geffen sued him.
So since Spotify exists essentially as exposure and a loss-leader, I’ll take the time do a series on artists and songs that have fewer than 1,000 streams. Give underheard music the Mike Farmer bump, whatever that’s worth. If this helps you find something cool to listen to, wonderful.
Peter Hammill & The K Group, “Live At Rockpalast”. A televised concert from 1981. Peter Hammill is the singer from Van der Graaf Generator accompanied by a backing band. It’s a 93-minute double album, so you may not get into the whole thing on first listen. You’ll know by the first three or four songs whether it’s your thing or not. Hammill is a strident vocalist, sings as if he’s protesting at a city council meeting. The songs have a prog-ish vibe with a 1981 new wave timbre. Makes sense since Hammill wrote them, he also wrote all the VdGG songs. I really love “The Future Now”.
Don Muro, “As Long As I’ve Got You”. The A-side of a Record Store Day single in 2015, the song was recorded in 1974. A power-pop synth-driven DIY production. I assume Muro played or programmed everything on the track. He still occasionally records and runs his own label, Flannelgraph Records. I heard this song on an episode of The Best Show and fell in love with it immediately.
Off-Ox, “Best Best Western”. A new project from my long-time friend Aaron Tanner, he of Stationary Odyessy, Fracasos and many other So. Indiana-based projects. (Fun fact: Aaron’s record label Dyspepsidisc released several Mr. Neutron albums about fifteen years ago). Off-Ox is Tanner’s new band and “Best Best Western” is the A-side of their debut single. Melodic, distorted instrumental indie with cool synths on the B-side. Of course, that only makes sense if you’re listening to it on vinyl which I don’t expect you are.
I don’t know how to do a Spotify playlist and I’m not going to take the time on account of three songs/artists. Do some searching, you lazy bums.