Monday, July 15, 2013

What's New(s)?

Atoms for Peace take on Spotify

If you were counting on listening to Atoms for Peace on Spotify you'll now have to go elsewhere to find the band, as the group has pulled their debut album Amok from the commercial streaming site. Lead-vocalist Thom Yorke has also pulled his solo album The Eraser from the website. Member/producer Nigel Godrich tweeted, "it's bad for new music,"and the group went on to explain via Godrich's Twitter account:

"Anyway. Here’s one. We’re off of Spotify. Can’t do that no more man. Small meaningless rebellion. Someone gotta say something. It’s bad for new music. This is just Eraser and Amok and Ultraista. The reason is that new artists get paid fuck all with this model. It’s an equation that just doesn’t work. The music industry is being taken over by the back door and if we don’t try and make it fair for new music producers and artists then the art will suffer. Make no mistake. These are all the same old industry bods trying to get a stranglehold on the delivery system. The numbers don’t even add up for Spotify yet. But it’s not about that. It’s about establishing the model which will be extremely valuable. Meanwhile small labels and new artists can’t even keep their lights on. It’s just not right. Plus people are scared to speak up or not take part as they are told they will lose invaluable exposure if they don’t play ball. Meanwhile millions of streams gets them a few thousand dollars. Not like radio at all. Anyway. Thems the breaks. Opinions welcome but discussion and new thinking necessary. If you have a massive catalogue – a major label for example then you’re quids in. It’s money for old rope. But making new recorded music needs funding. Some records can be made in a laptop, but some need musician and skilled technicians. These things cost money. Pink Floyd’s catalogue has already generated billions of dollars for someone (not necessarily the band) so now putting it on a streaming site makes total sense. But if people had been listening to Spotify instead of buying records in 1973 I doubt very much if Dark Side would have been made. It would just be too expensive. Anyway thumbs hurting now… ;)" 

Yorke personally responded as well, saying “Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples.” A spokesperson for the company responded (in an interview with MusicWeek's Tim Ingham) to the band's indictment of the site, assuring people "
Spotify’s goal is to grow a service which people love, ultimately want to pay for, and which will provide the financial support to the music industry necessary to invest in new talent and music… We want to help artists connect with their fans, find new audiences, grow their fan base, and make a living from the music we all love.
Right now we’re still in the early stages of a long-term project that’s already having a hugely positive effect on artists and new music. We’ve already paid US$500M to rightsholders so far and by the end of 2013 this number will reach US$1bn. Much of this money is being invested in nurturing new talent and producing great new music.
We’re 100% committed to making Spotify the most artist-friendly music service possible, and are constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers."
Not one to back down, Godrich fired back once more (through Pitchfork), again taking Spotify's revenue sharing system to task. 

So Spotify say they have generated $500 million dollars for ‘license holders.” The way that Spotify works is that the money is divided up by percentage of total streams. Big labels have massive back catalogues so their 40-year-old record by a dead artist earns them the same slice of the pie as a brand new track by a new artist. The big labels did secret deals with Spotify and the like in return for favourable royalty rates. The massive amount of catalogue being streamed guarantees that they get the big massive slice of the pie (that $500 million) and the smaller producers and labels get pittance for their comparatively few streams.

This is what’s wrong. Catalogue and new music cannot be lumped in together. The model massively favours the larger companies with big catalogues. They need the new artists to be on the system to guarantee new subscribers and lock down the “new landscape.” This is how they figure they’ll make money in the future. But the model pays pittance to the new artist right now. An inconvenient fact which will keep coming up. I feel a responsibility to speak up when I see something going on which I think is unfair. I’m not bitching about not getting paid. It’s about standing up for other artists’ rights. It’s up to streaming providers to come back with a better way of supporting new music producers. It’s not for us to think up how it could work. That’s your department."
So for now the band's music will no long be available via the site, as a coalition of "anti-Spotify" artists continues to grow.

The Flaming Lips Debut New Video

The whispering, burbling nightmare that is "Turning Violent" now has an accompanying video to help turn up the thrills and chills the song already clutched in its cold dead hands. Shot on stark, grainy film the video features the band playing in an anemic room to zombie-like guests with only the occasional flash of feedback or laser light to add some hue.

Also look for a comic-book penned by Wayne Coyne and entitled "The Sun is Sick" to soon be appearing on the band's website

 "Turning Violent"

New video from The Weeknd

Last month, a video for the song "You Belong to the World" was debuted at the Mod Club in Toronto. That song, intended for release on new LP Kiss Land now has an accompanying near eight-minute video. In the smoldering video, Abel Tesfaye wanders through a futuristic Asian-city in a drab black-uniform longing for a human connection. For the now the video is only directly available on the MTV website

In related Weeknd news, Tesfaye's sampling of Portishead's drum-heavy "Machine Gun" in the aforementioned track is coming under fire from Geoff Barrow, the band's multi-instrumentalist. Taking to Twitter, Barrow had this to say: "When someone asks to sample you and you refuse they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it." No word yet on if the song's sample will be challenged further by Barrow or anyone from the Bristol-band.

And in one final piece of Weeknd news, the usually reclusive Tesfaye has done his first ever interview with Complex's Damien Scott. In the piece, which is currently up on Complex, he talks about: which of his Trilogy mixtapes resonates with him the most, working with Drake, and the upcoming LP. 

Kiss Land is slated to drop through Republic Records before the year is out.

Make sure to check back again tomorrow for everything in music that's the "newest in new."

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