Outpost June 2015 Newsletter

Here at Outpost, we are proud to provide music promotion services across the board to a plethora of clients: from renowned labels and independent artists to innovative club nights and local events. With a number of exciting projects currently on our books, June is setting a precedent for an exciting summer ahead. Here are some of our highlights…

craigCraig David

Legendary Double Grammy-nominated artist Craig David is bringing his internationally-renowned series of parties, ‘TS5’, to London for the first time this July. The events form a unique collaborative project that incorporates DJing and live performance from both Craig himself and artists on his own specially curated line-up. Tickets to the first of these dates at Hackney’s Oslo have already sold out, with Craig inviting Manchester-based producer White N3rd and upcoming Bristolian house act Barny Rubble to perform alongside him. Outpost are excited to be providing support across press and online for the ‘TS5’ campaign.



annieAnnie Nightingale

As the BBC’s longest-serving DJ and the world record holder for the longest-running radio show, Annie Nightingale, MBE celebrates her 50th anniversary in broadcasting this year. To honour this special milestone, Annie has been asked to produce the latest in Ministry of Sound’s ‘Masterpiece’ compilation series – and becomes the first woman to do so. The tracklist spans the entirety of Annie’s incredible career, including cuts from The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney alongside Motown, new wave, acid house, breakbeat, drum and bass, Balearic, grime, dubstep, trap and beyond. We are promoting this unique compilation across press and online.



superFrench Electro Scene – Superpoze and TOYS

Superpoze’s debut album ‘Opening’ continues to be a storming success, with premieres being hosted on XLR8R and Hypetrak, along with a featured ‘Mix of the Day’ on Data Transmission, and an album minimix hosted on Wonderland. Outpost’s French electro contingent is boosted with our work on ‘Golden Line’ – the debut EP from TOYS. The group are already making waves, with The 405 describing their sound as an ‘enviable balance of ambient atmospheres, restrained synth melodies and pulsing beats’. Outpost are working with both acts across press, radio and online.


sinahSinah and B. Miles

German-born producer Sinah and L.A-based songwriter B. Miles have both selected Outpost to run radio and online campaigns on their new releases. Sinah’s self-titled album is her first solo full-length, having previously played in Lola Colt and produced remixes for the likes of Alt-J, while B. Miles has already received attention from influential blogs such as Hilly Dilly. With her video to single ‘Loveless’ having premiered on Clash, Sinah’s album stream was hosted recently by The 405, while Q Magazine have highlighted B. Miles as one of their weekly five artists to hear.


natNatalie Duncan and Lucy Mason

Outpost are also pleased to be running online campaigns for Natalie Duncan, whose latest EP, ‘Black and White’, sees her launch her first material since her celebrated debut album, ‘Devil In Me’, as well as upcoming Australian-born singer-songwriter Lucy Mason. With Natalie having already received acclaim on Q Magazine, The Sunday Times and MOJO, as well as a TV spot on Later… With Jools Holland, she returns with a radical change of sound, influenced by the likes of FKA Twigs. Lucy Mason has already been highlighted as one to watch by BBC Introducing and The 405, and will unveil the visuals to her stunning track ‘Lost and Found’ via Clash.


Hackney Summer Fete

While we are proud of our international roster, Outpost are always keen to promote events in the local community too, and are currently working with St. John at Hackney Church to promote their annual Hackney Summer Fete. The event takes place on 18th July, when crowds of over 2000 are expected to sample an incredible array of food, drink and entertainment, including local music from community choirs to soundsystems hosted by RBMA and Visions Festival, Shoreditch Radio and London Fields Radio.

Campaign Focus: Events

Behind the Tracks: AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ – 28th June @ Strongroom Studios
Lucy Mason
– Friday 3rd July @ The Troubadour
Sinah – Saturday 4th July @ The Old Blue Last
Annie Nightingale‘Masterpiece Launch Party’, Wednesday 15th July, East London
Craig David – Thursday 16th July @ Oslo Hackney
Lucy Mason – Saturday 18th July @ The Garage
Lucy Mason – Friday 31st July @ The Troubadour
Natalie Duncan – Thursday 6th August @ Cargo
Sola Rosa – Thursday 20th August @ Hoxton Square Bar and Grill

Also working with:

Crosswalk Records‘Crosswalk Presents: Vol. 1’, released on 15th June
Ballerino‘Love/Concentrate’, released 15th June
The Expanders‘Hustling Culture’, released on 15th June
PRofit‘Electric Smile’, due for release 22nd June
Sola Rosa‘Magnetics’, released on 22nd June
Morgan Heritage‘Strictly Roots’, due for release on 6th July
May Sebbag‘Circle Me’, due for release 6th July
KCPK‘Five to One’, due for release 6th July
The Meow Meows‘Friends on Benefits’, due for release on 13th July
From Kid‘Underground (Löwenherz Edit)’, due for release on 13th July

The Great Escape 2015 – Outpost Tour Diary

After a frantic few hours tying up loose ends in the office, and a few further hours travelling and settling in to Brighton, the bulk of the Outpost team headed over to the Jubilee Gardens for an initiation with a few welcome drinks. Keen to get stuck straight into the spirit (no puns intended – sadly, the supposedly free Jack Daniels was a no-show), we wandered around, soaking up the atmosphere and catching a few up-and-comers at an alternative showcase at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar.

Serious work began the following day, however – armed with our patchwork diaries we hopped between meetings and gigs, slowly but surely filling a slew of coffee shop loyalty cards. Dutch electronic duo Tears & Marble were an early highlight at The Queen’s Hotel, before we caught up with a few old faces at the Windish Agency drinks reception – shout out to the reps from Rough Trade and Fat Cat Records – and AIM social.

L-R: Brighton beach, M.D Mel's cheese and wine feast, Fed, Sam and Marietta bracing the beach breeze

L-R: Brighton beach, M.D Mel’s cheese and wine feast, Fed, Sam and Marietta bracing the beach breeze

L-R: The Lanes in the rain, Believe showcase at Carousel, Sam feeling Jaws' pain

L-R: The Lanes in the rain, Believe showcase at Carousel, Sam feeling Jaws’ pain

Hip-hop was the flavour of the evening, with Fed catching up with the Ninja Tune crew, before heading over with the rest of Outpost to The Komedia to catch The Lytics play their infectiously energetic show. Suitably pumped, we hit a rammed gig at The Prince Albert, courtesy of London-based duo Ivy & Gold, before closing off the night with office favourites Mumdance and Novelist.

Early doors the next morning for more meetings and a beautiful showcase from Yucatan Records – we were particularly impressed with Blanco White’s stunning flamenco guitar. We all managed to catch up with latecomer Sam later on at The Fishbowl to see grunge-pop group Dios Mio, before a slight change of pace came with Norwegian singer Siv Jakobsen. Sitting somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling, she even threw in an inspired cover of Britney’s ‘Toxic’ – a welcome curveball.

Elsewhere, Mel was busy building international friendships at the reception hosted by the large Canadian contingency at The Great Escape. Cheese and wine buffets seem to speak a universal language, given the fantastic mood among the delegates. Meanwhile, Fed sat in line to catch a sold-out show from Kuenta I Tambu – a wait that proved well worthwhile. Then it was on to the Believe Records showcase, where we checked out the likes of Age of L.U.N.A., Club Kuru, Meadowlark and Fyfe, while Sam caught up with old friends Slaves for a filmed cameo appearance on the seafront.

Clockwise from top left: Summer vibes with Kiko Bun, Novelist giving M.D. Mel his best smile, Tears & Marble, Kuenta i Tambu, Bromantic moment between Outpost's Sam and Laurie from Slaves, Griming it up with Novelist and Mumdance

Clockwise from top left: Summer vibes with Kiko Bun, Novelist giving M.D. Mel his best smile, Tears & Marble, Kuenta i Tambu, Bromantic moment between Outpost’s Sam and Laurie from Slaves, Griming it up with Novelist and Mumdance

We parted ways before dinner, with Mel hitting the French Export party (predictably more wine and cheese), and Sam and Marietta catching Kent-based ‘dirty pop’ group Get Inuit as part of Alcopop Records’ showcase, while Fed accidently ended up in a to-be-aired video interview as part of the M for Montreal Festival (Canadian heads, watch out). Kiko Bun brought us back together, with his tropical dub summer slammers almost making it feel like we were abroad. Almost.

We ended the week with a couple of highlights: first up was Cash & David at a packed party hosted by The 405. Not knowing exactly what kind of live experience to expect from Liz Lawrence’s new project, the band really impressed us with their own brand of electro pop. The finale of the night then came from Icelandic band Vök, who we’ve been following for a while at Outpost – seeing them progress from their humble beginnings to filling The Brighthelm at The Great Escape marked a fantastic end to the week for us. Bring on TGE 2016!

Sofi de la Torre Named ‘Breaking Act’ in The Sunday Times

Spanish singer-songwriter Sofi de la Torre has been named as The Sunday Times Culture section’s latest ‘Breaking Act’ (April 12th).

The Berlin-based artist, who melds alt-R&B sounds with a ‘pop done right’ ethos, released her game-changing single ‘Vermillion’ last summer to great acclaim from the likes of TIME, Billboard and The Guardian. She marks her return with a new EP, ‘That Isn’t You‘, which has seen her gain new fans such as Paramore’s Hayley Williams, NYLON, Q Magazine and The Line of Best Fit.

Involved in every aspect of her artistry, Sofi writes her own music, shoots her own pictures, designs the artwork, edits the videos and takes care of styling – an act whose talents truly seem to have no bounds!

‘That Isn’t You’ is out now.




Sofi de la Torre - The Sunday Times - 'Breaking Act' - 12.04.15

Scratch Perverts and Throwing Snow play Hoxton Square Bar, 17th April

London promoter-giants CLUB THE MAMMOTH are excited to present the Scratch Perverts at Hoxton Square Bar on 17th April, also featuring Throwing Snow.

The legendary DJ collective continue their series of nights each supported by a host of unique acts, ranging from South London’s very own Al Dobson Jr, to R&S Records’ Paul White. Full details of the remaining nights can be found at: hoxtonsquarebar.com/search/scratch+perverts.

Formed in 1996 by Tony Vegas, Prime Cuts and DJ Renegade, Scratch Perverts have forged a longstanding career in the world of music – winning ITF titles, solo DMC titles plus two World Team DMC titles in their 19 year history.

Their reputation as turntablists has led the Scratch Perverts into a whirlwind career as DJs. As residents at Fabric since the beginning, they showcase a knowledge and understanding of music and how it’s meant to be played. Traversing all styles, the Scratch Perverts cross over genre lines with ease in a way that’s pleasing on the ears but similarly entertaining on the eyes.

Throwing Snow takes an equally broad approach to his productions, drawing from a vast array of genres, and establishing himself as a coveted collaborator. He has just released ‘Lumen’ on Houndstooth Recordings, the first single since his critically-acclaimed album ‘Mosaic’ of last year.

If you fancy coming down or are interested in covering the event, then do get in touch.


Scratch Perverts 2015 Mix Series 3: soundcloud.com/scratch-perverts-official/mix3

Throwing Snow – ‘Lumen’soundcloud.com/throwingsnow/sets/lumenpaint-by-numbers


Doors: 10PM
Curfew: 2AM
Price: £10
Tickets available at: ticketweb.co.uk


The Outsight Report #10

Used-CDsMusic sales in the digital age: jury is out on release date reform

The UK music industry is going through somewhat of a transition. February brought the news that Fridays will now be the global release date for new music, and the announcement could mean changes in the structure of the BBC’s music broadcasting.

In a statement from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents 1300 record companies worldwide, Friday has been decreed as the ideal global date in order for the market to take full advantage of the weekend, when commercial footfall is at its highest, but not everyone is convinced.

6music-300x300The move has reportedly been made in order to ‘best serve the music consumer’, according to a comment made by IFPI CEO Frances Moore to Music Week recently, and there are set to be major consequences for the UK and US industries in particular, with some major retailers even considering dropping music from their stores altogether as a result of the costs incurred. Beggars Group boss Martin Mills also has his reservations, claiming the decision ‘crazy’; taking away the week’s two trading peaks and serving only to further marginalise the niche in favour of the mainstream.

However, this comes at a time when the UK industry’s commitment to independent music seems stronger than it has ever been, particularly within the BBC. Since the corporation’s reversal of the decision to discontinue BBC 6 Music, the digital-only station has flourished and, at the beginning of last month, it made history when it hit 2 million weekly listeners for the first time, with independent artists forming a core part of its appeal.

The BBC’s policy towards mainstream shows on its flagship station continues to come under consistent scrutiny. Since the mid-90s, the broadcaster has sought to attract a younger core audience for Radio 1, which has alienated older audiences from the concept of music charts, reflected best in the downturn of chart-orientated programming such as Top of the Pops. The announcement of a designated date for releases has fuelled some speculation that TOTP is due a return, with bookies even offering odds on the most likely presenters.

totpBut the relevancy of charts is questioned more broadly than just on terms of demographic. Only less than a year ago, the UK charts incorporated the figures of streaming data into their calculation of chart success for the first time, creating ambiguity over what constitutes a sale of a musical product. Further, the changes in consumption seen in the industry over the last 20 years have also blurred the distinction of release dates specifically.

dangeloPreviews, promos and premieres mean consumers are often familiar with tracks long before their scheduled release, while prominent examples of leaks and rush-releases in the last few years have meant that record labels have needed to be flexible towards the concept of releasing records in order to stay competitive. A review recently commissioned by the BBC Trust seemed to highlight these issues as they relate to broadcasting, stating that ‘a fresh definition should be found for “new” music, as release dates become increasingly unclear in the online era’.

It is difficult to predict what the impact of a global release date will be on industry sales broadly, but what is sure is that it presents the BBC with an opportunity to shake up their mainstream music broadcasting. It would allow for a programme like TOTP to reveal the new Top 40 hot off the press, and in doing so might mark a welcome platform for struggling TV pluggers, taking on a whole new relevance to boot in an industry where emphasis is shifting further away from the traditional modes of release and embracing a digital age of blurred lines.

The Skints release highly anticipated third album, ‘FM’

East London reggae four-piece The Skints release their highly anticipated third album ‘FM’ today, 9th March, through celebrated label Easy Star Records.

Pulling from various influences as disparate as Tenor Saw, The Shirelles, Wiley, Jimmy Cliff, and Black Flag, ‘FM’ is The Skints’ fitting tribute to the radio culture they love as music fans. Progressing through the bubbling sound of grime and garage to summertime sound system reggae, roots, dancehall, traditional rocksteady, Motown soul and punk, the group takes listeners on a whistle-stop tour of the capital’s underground culture.

To celebrate the release of ‘FM‘, the reggae four-piece will play a series of shows across the EU and UK in March and April, where they will be joined by support from tropical pop-dub singer-songwriter Hollie Cook.

Hollie Cook, daughter of Sex Pistols’ drummer Paul Cook, rose to fame following her self-titled 2011 album, which introduced her as one of the most exciting new female talents on the London scene. Her support slot for The Skints will mark her reunion with the band’s own Marcia Richards, a talented multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, saxophone, melodica, flute and guitar) who has played keys for Hollie as part of her live band in the past.

A group renowned for their live performance credentials, having finished 2014 on the road with the Jägermeister Music Tour alongside Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, The Skints truly show no signs of slowing down.


14th April – LEEDS STYLUS, UK
16th April – EDINBURGH STUDIO 24, UK

soundcloud.com/ the_skints


Outpost Newsletter: Outpost Turns 10

MLappin_130928-5232_lo72While the festive season is already fading to a distant memory and the new working year is in full swing, we’d like to wish you all a belated Happy New Year – hope your start to 2015 has been a good one.

Though the Christmas crackers are long gone, we’re continuing the celebrations this month as we mark a very joyous occasion at Outpost HQ: our 10th birthday! It’s an anniversary that has given us time to reflect on some of our proudest moments, the campaigns that have exemplified our philosophy, made a name for us, and kept us breaking bands and making brands since 2005.

Highlights of the Decade

We’ve had the pleasure of working with a plethora of talented artists and iconic labels since our inception, but there are a few projects that have really stood out over the years:

k7The Beginning

Outpost began in January 2005 with Def Jux and Scenario Records retainers, a Foreign Beggars single and a Seanie T compilation CD with Puma. It was only a few weeks later that our first major retainer was won – !K7 – who gave us a constant flow of quality releases including the DJ Kicks Series. It was also around this time that we managed the press for Example before he was signed to Mike Skinner’s The Beats. Starting life as a printed press company, in June 2005 we expanded our services and introduced our online and radio departments. We were the first music PR agency to launch a dedicated online PR service, and it wasn’t long before the company’s expansion led us to relocate to Shoreditch, where we still reside today.

Faithless shot at Jet Studios 05/02/10Brands

We have never limited ourselves to solely dealing with bands or labels and have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands over the years, including Coca-Cola, Calvin Klein, Red Stripe and O2. One of our most interesting projects was 2010’s Fiat commercial, which doubled as a music video for Faithless’ single ‘Feelin’ Good’. With a guest vocal spot from Dido, the innovative project was the first of its kind, airing Faithless’ new video as an extended 3 minute advert for Fiat. It was a subject of discussion on both BBC Two’s Newsnight and BBC Radio 4 as a groundbreaking prommercial that challenged and changed perceptions on the use of music in advertising and vice versa.

Check out the advert itself and read the NME feature here.

warpRecord Labels

Covering everything from dnb, hip hop, electronic and house to world music and indie, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some of our favourite record labels over the years, including the likes of Warner, Mr. Bongo (which brought us the inimitable Hollie Cook and Prince Fatty), Ed Banger and Nervous.

One label we’re particularly proud to be involved with is the legendary British independent label Warp, who reached a milestone themselves recently when they celebrated 25 years in the business. Last year, we conducted a successful campaign for Nightmares on Wax’s double disc retrospective album ‘N.O.W IS THE TIME’, while back in 2007 we worked on an EP named ‘Reset’ from the phenomenal Flying Lotus. Meanwhile, 2011 saw us entrusted with Rustie’s debut album ‘Glass Swords’, which has subsequently been named as FACT’s best album of the decade so far – no mean feat!

Take a trip to Warp’s website and read about Fact’s album of the decade here.

Armand Van HeldenCompilations

We’ve worked on a number of great compilation series including Late Night Tales as well as the aforementioned DJ Kicks. Recently we have teamed up with Ministry of Sound to promote their Masterpiece series. A concept fronted by artists and DJs of the highest calibre, it’s an opportunity for these pioneering acts to curate a three disc musical journey depicting their own influences and inspirations which they can share with their fans. Having already completed successful PR campaigns for David Rodigan and Goldie’s Masterpiece contributions, we are now pleased to announce the imminent release of Armand Van Helden’s offering to the series.

Visit the Ministry of Sound website and read the Fact feature here.

flyersFestivals and Events

Festivals and live nights provide a fun opportunity for promotion, and we’ve experienced the added perks of attending some fantastic events over the years, such as Big Chill, Flow Festival, Festibelly, Glade and Magic Loungeabout. More recently, The Hydra’s events have been an exciting highlight on our calendars. We have been supporting their uncompromising mission to collaborate with the finest artists, record labels and collectives from around the world, presenting them against a backdrop of superlative sound; bringing the very best underground electronic music to London’s doorstep. It has paid dividends: The Hydra now has Studio Spaces as a permanent home, and Resident Advisor reported that the Council have provided the venue with a license that will allow it to open for 24 hours on as many as 40 occasions in 2015.

Visit The Hydra’s website and read the Resident Advisor review here.

A Word from our Founder

To digress from blowing our own trumpet for a moment, there are many people to thank for our success over the years – and for this, it seems only right to hear a few words from our founder David Silverman:

“We wouldn’t be here without all our clients and it’s firstly to them that we offer our heartfelt thanks for believing in us and trusting us with your music. To all the Outpost crew who have been part of our team over the years (not forgetting our lovely suppliers), and seen us through thick and thin, we equally owe so much to your diligence and hard work. With your help we have manoeuvred our way through the biggest music industry shift in living memory (and even a recession thrown in for good measure), and we’re still standing. We’ll continue doing things differently, we’ll continue to say ‘YES’ to the challenges ahead and we’ll continue to be brilliant. We wish everyone a very successful 2015 – look out for some party celebrations in the coming months. Keep the music playing, here’s to number 11.”

Looking Ahead

With a decade’s experience now under our belts, we’re pleased to have kickstarted 2015 on a strong foot, with more exciting campaigns and projects in the pipeline…

billymomoBilly Momo

The Swedish urban-folk collective’s music has been receiving a great deal of support since they released new single ‘I’ve Got You’ late last year. The latest triumph for the band links them to the celebrated television series ‘Breaking Bad’, with a new trailer for its highly anticipated spin-off series ‘Better Call Saul’ featuring ‘Waiting Ain’t No Sin’, a highlight of the band’s upcoming album, ‘Drunktalk’.

Like Billy Momo on Facebook and read their Q feature here.


It has been a fine start indeed to 2015 from prestigious French producer Yuksek’s label, whose signings YesYou and Get A Room! we are pleased to be promoting across online and radio. Yuksek himself released a rare remix of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Brooklyn Baby’ recently, which has already amassed well over 150,000 plays on SoundCloud and soared the Hype Machine charts.

Check out Partyfine’s website and the YesYou Earmilk premiere.

skintsEasy Star

Things are hotting up on the reggae horizon this month with the exclusive announcement that London-based upstarts The Skints have signed to the prestigious New York label, and are preparing to release their third album on 9th March. We’re thrilled to be working not just one, but two, campaigns with Easy Star, having just begun promoting New Kingston’s new album ‘Kingston City’, due for release on 23rd February.

Visit the Easy Star website and check out the Skints Clash premiere.

Outpost Publishing and Distribution

A while ago, Outpost made the decision to branch out from PR and add publishing and distribution arms to the company. Having weathered the storm of the turbulent economy, in 2013 we set our sights on raising the profile of our additional services and they’ve been flourishing ever since.

newtownkingsPublishing: New Town Kings

Ska-reggae collective New Town Kings are an Essex-based band of upstarts who emphatically blend old-school Jamaican rhythms with a fresh dose of UK- inspired ska. Described as ‘the best of Brit reggae’ by BBC 1Xtra’s David Rodigan MBE, the band have been with Outpost Publishing since last year’s EP ‘Pull Up & Rewind’. With album number three on the horizon and slots at the likes of Rebellion Punk Music Festival and Boomtown Fair already secured for the summer, it looks like a promising 2015 for New Town Kings.

Listen to New Town Kings on Soundcloud and visit their website here.

polyesterDistribution: Polyester Records

A very exciting new addition to the distribution side of the endeavour is the deal signed with Polyester Records. Polyester Records is an innovative independent London based label, founded and run by Spanish DJ/Producer Letizia Carrero since 2014. Polyester focuses on releasing a combination of quality Tech House, Deep House and Techno. They have an excellent upcoming release from label boss Letizia Carrero in collaboration with Sergio WoS, and EP named ‘Going Down’. The EP will feature a variety of remixes from the likes of Steve Murrell and Drakenberg and will be out 9th February.

Check out Polyester Records on Facebook.

Check out all the members of the Outpost family on the Outpost Group website

The future certainly seems bright for Outpost, and after a decade of service, we hope to continue the quality of work we’ve become know for into 2015 and well beyond.

We are 10!

We are 10 years old! Happy birthday to us! 🙂 We wouldn’t be here without all our clients and it’s firstly to them that we offer our heartfelt thanks for believing in us and trusting us with your music. To all the Outpost crew who have been part of our team over the years (not forgetting our lovely suppliers), and seen us through thick and thin, we equally owe so much to your diligence and hard work. With your help we have manoeuvred our way through the biggest music industry shift in living memory (and even a recession thrown in for good measure), and we’re still standing. We’ll continue doing things differently, we’ll continue to say ‘YES’ to the challenges ahead and we’ll continue to be brilliant. We wish everyone a very successful 2015 – look out for some party celebrations in the coming months. Keep the music playing, here’s to number 11. Love David x

The Outsight Report #9

Spotify and the future of streaming: does one size fit all?

Taylor Swift sees Spotify as "a grand experiment"

Taylor Swift sees Spotify as “a grand experiment”

Taylor Swift’s recent decision to snub Spotify when it came to releasing her new album, ‘1989’, and subsequently to pull her entire back catalogue from the service, has been deemed everything from ‘anti-streaming’ to a ‘shot in the arm for feminism’, but one thing is for certain: it has sparked considerable debate on a much wider issue.

That issue is the very nature, and future, of music consumption as we now know it.

The reason behind Swift’s move, spearheaded by her label Big Machine, is the existence of the streaming service’s free tier, which allows users to access music without paying a penny, therefore arguably giving fans no incentive to invest. Swift herself reportedly sees Spotify as “a grand experiment” – one which she is unwilling to risk her life’s work on when she doesn’t feel the service fairly compensates those involved in the making of the music, in spite of her reportedly being on track to earn upwards of $6 million from Spotify this year alone.


Spotify has repeatedly come under attack regarding how streaming royalties are declared and shared out to artists.

According to CMU, “Spotify has now paid out $2 billion to the music industry since launching in 2008, $1 billion of that in the last year.” Spotify boss Daniel Ek has come forward to confirm rumours that “Spotify now has 50 million active users, 12.5 million of whom are paying subscribers.”

Yet Spotify has repeatedly come under attack, most recently from Bono, regarding problems with how streaming royalties are declared and shared out to artists once the money has left the bigwig’s bank account. This is a problem perhaps soon to be shared by SoundCloud, the second biggest streaming service after YouTube, who recently made a significant step by signing a licensing deal with Warner.

A platform initially aimed at creators, Soundcloud has arguably given birth to some of the best electronic producers in recent years and has paid no royalties to artists since its inception in 2008. The new partnership, however, will see Warner labels paid royalties for the first time: a deal made possible by SoundCloud’s decision to introduce a subscription service next year, which will generate revenue along with advertising that will be seen by non-paying users.

So are Spotify really the only bad guys here, if indeed they are bad guys at all? Singer and activist Billy Bragg has stepped up on social media to accuse Swift of taking the side of YouTube, who, in the coming weeks, will be rolling out Music Key. A subscription service that allows users to stream ad-free music videos, and download them for offline use, the monthly fee for the service will also provide membership to Google Play All Access, the firm’s pre-existing song download facility. This is a service that is set to pose a challenge to Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music and other audio-only “unlimited” music services – and it will allegedly also offer listeners a free service alongside a premium subscription tier. Arguably the greatest threat to any commercially based streaming service”, Bragg suggests artists should be removing their material from YouTube, not cosying up to it.

Perhaps the point here is how the industry can help educate post-torrent generations to subscribe to music services instead of downloading music illegally – and surely, no matter the limitations of streaming, it’s the lesser of two evils. Adele’s manager Jonathan Dickins has backed streaming services like Spotify as the future of music, but he makes a fair suggestion when he warns the company may need to change its policy of insisting all albums be made available on both its free and premium tiers.

While most artists earn only modest sums from streaming, it’s never going to be the most lucrative source of income for struggling musicians: and yet streaming services are essential for acts wanting to be discovered in the first place.  With successful, current artists enjoying an income structure that, according to manager Jeff Jampol (The Doors, The Ramones) sees “60-65% come from tickets, 15-25% from tour merch, 10-15% from publishing, 2-4% from ancillary and 2-4% from record sales”, getting listeners on board is the first hurdle, and making your music as widely available as possible is surely the primary logical step.

For someone like Taylor Swift who doesn’t need to be discovered, Spotify isn’t a necessity, but for an emerging artist it is key – such as for acts like Breton, who recently appeared on BBC’sNewsnight’ to discuss how they have adjusted to the new economics in the industry. Instead of looking to streaming and downloads for their revenue, they see these essentially as a ‘shop window’ for their live shows. Ultimately, through ‘suggested music’ options on services like Spotify and SoundCloud, fans can discover new artists that otherwise may have remained unknown to them, which ultimately leads to a higher probability of ticket sales, publishing and merch purchases.

In the words of Dave Grohl: “You want people to fucking listen to your music? Give them your music.”