Browsing Tag

Music News

Vinyl Sales Aren’t Just Reigning Supreme; They Are Keeping Indie Artists Afloat

Vinyl Sales

A new study by Components has revealed that high vinyl sales are synonymous with a healthy music industry, especially for independent artists operating at a grassroots level with no backing from labels.

While the findings from the study may seem like they are stating the obvious because, of course, more sales = a sturdier economy, there are a few revelations for independent artists looking for the best ways to recoup the expenses of recording their music and funding other ventures. One of the main takeaways is that vinyl records offer a “disproportionately important channel of spending”.

Furthermore, in addition to being the most profitable physical medium, the format also drives further engagement, as vinyl buyers tend to spend more cash supporting the industry due to the heightened involvement of the vinyl purchasing and playing process.

The tactility of spinning a vinyl record and the aesthetics of the experience are a clear contrast against the impersonal and underwhelming process of streaming on platforms such as Spotify. Every step of setting a vinyl record on the table, adjusting the RPM, and letting the needle hit adds to the value of the listening experience, which is how record collectors can justify spending so much cash on their collection.

Vinyl Sales Have the Strongest Association with High Earnings

Components discovered that of all the physical items sold on Bandcamp, vinyl records had the strongest positive association with the amount of money earned, above all other items such as CDs, cassettes, and wearable merch. So, for independent artists wondering which physical formats to invest in, now there is a clear answer.

In 2021, Rolling Stone revealed there were two million vinyl sales in 2020; double the number sold in 2019, a consumer habit that was undoubtedly caused by the pandemic stripping the power from music fans to support their favourite artists by purchasing gig tickets. However, in 2020, only 12% of releases on the platform had a vinyl option.

Bandcamp Has Stepped Up to the Mark with A Vinyl Pressing Service

To boost the number of independent artists with vinyl records available to purchase via their platform, Bandcamp has launched its own vinyl pressing service, which offers a low-risk and hassle-free way for artists to press vinyl. The Bandcamp Pressing service puts artists in complete control of the usual aesthetic options in addition to vinyl weight.

To get started, all you need is your album published on Bandcamp and enough fans to kickstart a pre-order campaign. If your campaign is successful, Bandcamp will take care of all the shipping, customer service and other logistics, meaning that artists won’t need to rock up to their local post office and clock the look of absolute contempt from the person behind the desk.

Bandcamp Vinyl Pressing Service is Here, and It Works | Bandcamp Daily

Hopefully, Bandcamp’s spin on a Kickstarter-esque service fares infinitely better than Pledge Music, which went into bankruptcy in the midst of artist’s campaigns and the money pledged by the fans was swallowed by the company going into administration.

Clearly, Bandcamp’s first-of-its-kind service will benefit the platform, as they will get to take their cut from the increase in vinyl sales; nevertheless, it appears to be a great way for the site to level the playing field between trust fund artists and the artists out there with the talent and fanbase to drive a successful campaign but none of the upfront cash to invest in vinyl pressing.

Will the Hype of Vinyl Collecting End?

While many believed the trend of vinyl resurgence had seen its heyday after Urban Outfitters started stocking Fleetwood Mac vinyl records and God-awful Crosley integrated amp and speakers record players, which will absolutely obliterate your LPs if you give them half a chance, the vinyl hype isn’t going anywhere soon. Its integral influence on the music industry as a whole is demonstrating that vinyl collecting is so much more than a hipster fad.

Crosley Voyager Record Player review | Livingetc

Especially after Pitchfork announced in September 2020 that, for the first time in decades, vinyl sales outnumbered CD sales when the format accounted for 62% of physical sales revenue.

While touring remains the bread and butter for mainstream artists, this is far from the case for independent musicians, who are lucky to break even when they are hitting the road and showcasing their live sound. In many instances, the only way to make touring financially worth it is by hawking merch during the show, and more often than not, vinyl records inspire music fans to part with the most cash. As noted by the research study, the vinyl record format is disproportionately important.

So, for independent artists wondering if getting in touch with a vinyl pressing service is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes – if you have the fanbase to justify it, of course! Start small with short or limited runs of 50 or 100 before you can work up to the bigger pressing orders, which will allow you to rake in more profit.


Article by Amelia Vandergast

Brixton Academy Wasn’t to Blame for the Asake Tragedy: Sign the Petition

Brixton Academy

After Brexit shafted touring musicians harder than *that* scene in Pulp Fiction and the Tory government deafened themselves to the calls for support in the light of the energy crisis and left many people literally in the dark, another sadistic blow has been dealt to the UK music industry as the future of Brixton Academy is bleak at best.

Property investors are probably already salivating at the prospect of claiming the building, stripping the culture from its art deco bones, and insipidly reconfiguring it to make as much bank as possible at the expense of a cultivated landscape. If you’re still under the illusion that the current government give a fuck about the cultural future of the UK, you probably stopped paying attention in 2016.

After almost a century of history, Brixton Academy is unlikely to be a cultural landmark beyond 2023 after the Met declared they lost confidence in the Academy Music Group and revoked its licence to operate as a music venue after it was stormed by non-ticket holders when Asake took to the stage on December 15, 2022. Let’s just gloss over the fact that Brixton Academy has been successfully operating as a music venue since 1983 after its tenure as a cinema from 1929 and discotheque from 1972.

Asake sells out night O2 Brixton Academy performance in minutes and a  second night is added | Evening Standard

The tragedy of the crowd crush that became fatal for two and seriously injured two more definitely shouldn’t be underplayed, but there is no justice in letting the blame fall onto the wrong people. No music venue or event organiser anticipates events to be stormed en masse by overly entitled people with a nefarious disregard for public safety. Of course, the security staff were going to be overwhelmed by 3,000 people charging through the broken doors as though they were enacting the Game of Thrones Battle of the Bastards scene.

Crowd crushes are hardly a commonplace occurrence at gigs and festivals. Everyone who regularly attends them knows this beyond a shadow of a doubt, but evidently, if we had a say in the matter, we would have written this incident as an extreme act of cultural vandalism, not something that should determine the future of a landmark venue where historical shows have unfolded. Rather than reeling off all the legendary shows that take place here, of which there are many, it is far more important to look at what the loss of the 2000+ capacity venue will mean for the future when the industry is already in a precarious state.

Brixton Academy to remain closed until April following deaths at Asake gig

Putting the appropriate safeguards in place to prevent that kind of tragedy at every show is completely unviable. The direction of the blame following the investigation allows you to see the Met’s agenda as clear as day – they just couldn’t be bothered getting to grips with what really happened on December 15th when the Nigerian Afrobeats artist hit London. Case in point, only one person was arrested following the crowd crush for assaulting a police officer. Following that arrest, the investigation did little more than pin the blame on the Academy Music Group. The 2,999 other people that forced their way through the venue door got off completely Scot-free. And it’s not like there wasn’t ample video and photo footage to carry out a proper investigation and hold the guilty accountable.

One attendee who witnessed tensions getting fraught outside saw people trying to scan their tickets to no avail. So where was the Met investigation into the ticket touts? Oh, quelle surprise, there wasn’t one! And it isn’t like the Asake gig in London was the first time fake tickets caused brawls outside music venues. The very same thing happened outside Glasgow O2 Academy after swathes of people purchased a ticket to see the rapper Digga D in October 2022, only to realise that they had purchased invalid tickets. Cue nine police cars and an ambulance rocking up to the venue to deal with the chaos that ensued around the ticketing scam. Obviously, something has to change, but that something isn’t the future of Brixton Academy.

At the time of writing, the petition surpassed 43,000 signatures. If it garners over 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for a parliamentary discussion. Even if you’re as cynical as me about how that discussion goes, use what little democratic power we have left and sign it here.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

Spotify has jumped on the TikTokification bandwagon with Discovery Mode

Discovery Mode

The TikTokification of apps has been impossible to ignore with the prolific prevalence of cringe reels filmed in vain hope for an attention-driven shot of dopamine cropping up on Instagram and Facebook. Now Spotify has jumped on the immediate gratification bandwagon with Discovery Mode.

As with any innovation, there are some advantages, but once again, those perks don’t throw the underdogs a bone. Understandably, not everyone is happy about this new move that has stoked fears about what this means for the music industry.

The streaming era of music has already changed the way some artists write songs. Extended intros and quiescent interludes have been forsaken for the allure of earwormy instant hooks; every skip on a track is negative data for Spotify’s algorithm. Who can blame artists for playing the game?

In recent years, more and more music fans have started to utilise TikTok to discover new artists. In 2021, 75% of users said they discovered artists on the app. 67% of users surveyed stating they seek out artists outside the platform after being exposed to them via TikTok videos. It hardly comes as a surprise that so many users discover music on the app, given that users spend an average of 1.5 glued to it each day.  This can also be taken as a good sign that TikTok users don’t actually think of the Oh No TikTok Remix as the height of sonic pleasure.

What is Spotify Discovery Mode?

Spotify Discovery Mode was launched to garner more algorithmic exposure through auto-play and Spotify Radio. Although, it comes at a cost. The increased exposure is in exchange for a lower royalty rate. Yes, lower than the current rate of $0.003 – $0.005 a stream.

Of course, there is the argument that Spotify is best utilised as a music discovery platform; the exposure gained via Spotify can increase the flow of revenue streams elsewhere and widen your audience. Yet, it seems unfair that the CEO, Daniel EK, has added this royalty cut caveat to the new tool, which he announced on March 8th during a Stream On event.

When artists create Discovery Mode campaigns, their music will be added to TikTok-ESQUE discovery feeds, which allows users to vertically scroll through tracks and take advantage of the Smart Shuffle feature. The rollout won’t happen all at once. The availability of features will hit some markets before others.

For music fans, this Spotify revamp is an attempt to make the app just as interactive and lively for its subscribed members as TikTok. The revamp also strives to take the clutter away from the homepage, which is currently a messy mash of recently streamed artists, new releases, daily mixes, discover weekly playlists and release radar playlists.

How Valuable Can the Spotify Discovery Tool Be?

Even though the Spotify Discovery Mode has only just been made available to all artists, before the mass launch of the tool, it has been tested with a select number of artists; apparently, the results speak for themselves.

The stats showed, on average, Spotify users utilising the Discovery Mode are twice as likely to save songs, 44% more likely to playlist the artists, and 37% more likely to follow that artist.

While those figures are pretty impressive, the reduced royalties, which are 30% less than standard royalties, are still a slap in the face for the artists that are providing all the content; Spotify is still standing by its convictions, maintaining that it will provide invaluable opportunities to connect with new listeners.

In a recently published blog post, Spotify sold the discovery mode by iterating that it requires no upfront investment – unlike many forms of promotion. Yet, that has done little to quash the rallying cries against the lower rates, which are speaking out against preying on independent artists looking for a way to break through in the oversaturated industry.

All musicians can enter their tracks into Discovery Mode via Spotify for Artists if their distributors participate in the program. The head of artist partnerships and audience at Spotify, Joe Hadley, was rife with optimism for the new possibilities the tool can offer independent artists.

Those sentiments certainly aren’t shared across the board; even members of congress have dubbed Discover Mode as a digital form of Payola. For anyone not in the know, the term Payola was coined to refer to the music industry middlemen that pay for radio play. One of the biggest causes for concern is the dam that the lower royalty rates will create in the flow of cash from Spotify to songwriters.

Members of congress are also starting to question if the new tool goes against the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission under the subsection that covers transparency over disclosures of paid content.

How Discovery Mode Works in Practice

If you don’t mind taking a royalty rate cut, you can create a Discovery Mode campaign by logging into Spotify for Artists, heading to the campaigns page and hitting Discovery Mode.

From there, you can set up a month-long campaign; new campaigns must be created from the 11th to the last day of the month. Select the tracks you would like to be part of the campaign and submit them.

If you don’t see the track you would like to select for a campaign, there are a few items in the eligibility criteria you need to take into account. Your track must be distributed via a participating licensor (CD Baby, DistroKid, Venice Music, Stem, and Vydia), has been streamed on Auto Play in the last seven days and has been on Spotify for at least 30 days.

Note that Discovery Mode is a way for artists to let Spotify know which tracks are a promotional priority. This will add a signal to the Spotify algorithms, which are tasked with personalising listening sessions for premium subscribers.

By creating a Discovery Mode campaign, you will increase the likelihood of selected tracks being recommended, it is NOT a guarantee that your streaming stats will skyrocket.


Article by Amelia Vandergast

Video Killed the Radio Star; Now the Philistine Vultures of Disaster Capitalism are Pecking at the Carcass of BBC Introducing

BBC Introducing

The uncertain future of BBC Introducing has sent lament for one of the few remaining vestiges of the industry as we knew it ricocheting through the grassroots music communities since the staff redundancies were made public knowledge.

Yet, The Guardian has been harbingering the demise of non-commercial radio stations for quite some time. In September 2022, when most people who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths were too busy worrying about how they were going to pay for their heating bills, the outcries from radio stations and their DJs fell on silent ears.

Bootstrapped independent radio stations aired their anxieties around the increasing financial pressures, amplified by the threat of rising bills, alluding to how local and internet radio shows have become labours of love for everyone involved.

Those committed to the cause endeavoured through, knowing that without independent and local radio, independent artists have one less platform to stand on and receive royalties. Yet, there is only so much self-sacrifice tastemakers can take before they are little more than burnt-out martyred scar tissue attempting to keep up the momentum in a thankless society that would feel better to have radio around, even if they haven’t tuned in since 2007.

Of course, holding out hope for government support is as redundant as the BBC Introducing staff now find themselves as the BBC looks for ways to cut their budget. Culture doesn’t have a place amongst disaster capitalists on the front benches that are intent on dragging the country to rock bottom so they can mine what is left out of the economy.

Just before that last-ditch cry for help from independent radio stations across the UK was printed by The Guardian, the socially sharp comedian, Stewart Lee, shared his opinion on how the arts end up as cultural damage while the anti-woke philistines throw their toys out of the pram indiscriminately.

“Worms are chopped by the plough, but the plough means them no harm. Brexit Britain is that plough. Artists are those worms. And Nadine Dorries is a woman crouching at the side of the field, watching the plough, while doing a massive shit in the nest of a rare bird.”

The culture war is decidedly upon us. Yet, the anger from the sane minds that see the value in art and music beyond the monetary gains is as quiet as a Nils Frahm album. If we are too pacifistic and placid to make a stand beyond Tweeting outrage, do we only have ourselves to blame for falling like dominos?

Is the Unsustainability of BBC Introducing a Sign of the Tuned-Out Times?

BBC Introducing is far from the only independent radio show dedicated to platforming up-and-coming talent. Amazing Radio, XRP, Postcards from the Underground and Hard Rock Hell Radio are just a few stations holding the torch from the bygone era when radio stations didn’t have to worry about supply and demand.

However, it has been a while since radio stations were the number one means of music discovery and consumption. It was always just a matter of time before numbered days of independent and local radio stations dedicated to platforming independent and new artists reached zero.

While that is not to say that the downfall of the local BBC Introducing stations is something that should be taken lying down, it is to say that the changing tides of our relationships with music are something to consider. Sure, it is easy to bemoan that the postcards of our youth have gone out of print, to be replaced by a new digital format that is easy to hate for its difference to familiarity and relics of nostalgia. Yet, demanding a demand to create a supply is more than a little blind-sighted.

In January 2022, You Gov published its findings from a survey on how global music consumers are sourcing their new sounds. It should come as no surprise that the traditional means, while they remain important, are far less integral to the musical ecosystem – especially for the younger generations. And to any self-entitled boomers who think that the world should stay stagnant so that it feels more akin to how it was when you left high school. I am sorry to tell you that the younger generations that you have scorched the earth and destroyed the economy for deserve to be catered for to some degree.


In 17 global markets, Spotify and other music streaming apps were the most popular means of music discovery, with over 36% of people using Spotify AI recommendations to fill their playlists. 33% of the people surveyed used terrestrial or satellite radio to discover new music. However, it was mostly music fans aged 35 and over, using this method.

Furthermore, if you look at any list of how independent artists should promote their music in 2023, submitting music to radio stations hardly makes it into the top five items. Music promotion strategies in this era usually revolve around pitching to playlisters, using a third-party distribution service, using social media for self-promotion, playing live, building a website and mailing list, creating music videos, and submitting your music to blogs.

While I will never be happy to see the death throes of any valuable service within the grassroots music industry, a touch of realism goes a long way to keep the melancholia of our rapidly changing world at bay.

BBC Introducing has done so much more than launch the careers of Florence and the Machine and Ed Sheeran; the impact it has had on thousands of artists’ careers is wholly inestimable. But sadly, the majority of those who purport to care about the grassroots music industry would rather let it landslide into obscurity. There are so many bigger fish to fry in these recession-blighted disjointed times, but everyone’s got too much anxiety to walk into the kitchen.

Article by Amelia Vandergast


The Crypto Crash Burst the Music NFT Bubble. Here’s What All Artists Can Learn from the Rise & Fall

Music NFTs

Web3 and music NFTs were primed to be one of the biggest trends in the music industry in 2022. Some of us dared to dream of a digital world where artists could operate free from the money-grabbing middlemen, exploitative platforms, and generally just the crushing weight of capitalism. That vision was shattered by a crash that showed us the true volatility of the market. The optimism was sweet while it lasted, but reality quickly soured it, and the tears of all the investors now at a loss salted it.

The foundations were laid for a more egalitarian music industry when sites such as, SongVest and Royal Exchange launched. However, NFT holders keen to invest in their favourite artists weren’t immune from the cryptocurrency cash. In January 2022, NFT sales peaked at $12.6 billion before plummeting to just over $1 billion in June. For context, some of the big ticket NTFs, such as GIFs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, dropped in value by 60% between May 2022 and June 2022.

The music NFT market was never perfect. The ecological impact from the NFT carbon footprints was enough to raise alarm bells. The volatility of the markets meant that people could only invest what they were prepared to lose. Many music fans were priced out by the tokens, and their utility certainly didn’t match their value.

So, no great loss, right? Not quite. There were several notable innovations and moves in the music industry that happened alongside the frivolous acquisitions of ridiculously expensive NFTS. The Whitney Houston NFT containing an unreleased demo which was recorded when she was 17 selling for $999,999 was never going to equate to adequate income for independent artists. But there are lessons to be learnt from the digital trends that echoed around NFTs.

A Retrospectively Realistic Review of Music NFTs for Independent Artist

Throughout the hype over music NFTs, it became evident that they were for the few, not the many. The few people with excessive money to burn and the few artists with the ability to make their fans fetishize everything they touch.

During the economic crisis that is shifting the comfortable into discomfort and evaporating the notion of disposable income, it’s a stretch to ask music fans to purchase a t-shirt, CD, or £5 gig ticket. Let alone make high-risk investments in their music careers via NFT.

At this stage in the game, it should go without saying, taking music NFTs off the table while promoting independent music and building your brand is a sensible move but don’t forget what initially triggered the love, fascination and novelty of music NFTs.

The true beauty of NFTs included their ability to act as collectable keys to digital archives curated by artists, they gave the thrill of exclusive content, and they became an incredible way of beating the ticket touts by acting as gig tickets.

The Legacy That NFTs Should Leave Behind

Before we get into it, for clarity, we’d like to emphasise that in the context of music, NFTs aren’t just a piece of digital art that can easily be copied and shared. The irreplicable digital asset, which exists on a blockchain, is ideal for storing and sharing music, videos, and artwork with NFT holders.

In one (not so simple) transaction for the average Web2 user, fans could own exclusive bonus tracks or entire discographies, collect keys to music communities, earn royalties from the music they invest in and receive perpetual perks courtesy of the gratified artist.  Even if you abstract crypto, NFTs and Web3 possibilities from the equation, the short stint of success of the music NFT market highlighted a few things for every independent artist to take away.

Scarcity Sells, Create It

Even though many like to believe that humans are the most advanced species on earth, when it comes to possessions, we’re no better than magpies looking for the shiniest objects to take back to our nests. The case for species superiority weakens even more when our obsession with hierarchies is called into question.

Just anthropomorphise a silverback mountain gorilla trying to gain dominance in the jungle based on what they own in the ether on their metaphorical iPhone to get the picture; that is where we are in 2022; chasing scarcity, out of want, instead of need. Because when you chase scarce necessity, that is desperation, but when you financially scurry after a marked-up luxury, that is a privilege that you can flash to the rest of society to prove you are worthy of following.

Like numbered limited edition vinyl records or rare first pressings, NFTs were briefly great at triggering a sense of scarcity amongst digital consumers. It isn’t the non-sentient NFTs’ fault that they beckoned people into status/dick swinging contests of people proving they have ludicrous money to burn. Independent artists can curse the sociologically warped marketplace, or they can learn the value of exclusive products and content.

For example, incentivise physical sales of your music by including bonus material that isn’t online on limited-edition releases or send exclusive previews to members of a mailing list. Maybe don’t go as far as Fyre Festival on creating FOMO, but don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.

Music Will Always Be More Than Just a Transaction

A massive part of the appeal of music NFTs were the special privileges that came through NFT ownership, which could be everything from exclusive content to custom content to royalties to naming rights on songs. Around NFTs, artists got more inventive than ever before with how they could thank fans for their loyalty and increase engagement and excitement. There is little room to wonder why so many got caught up in the ill investment frenzy. Honestly, artists should be funding their NFT investors’ therapy at this point.

We’re not saying that all independent artists should be out of pocket to offer freebies to their fans. We are saying that for any remote shot of success in the contemporary industry, you will have to stop treating music as a commodity you throw out in the world and realise the power of building connections. Artist & fan connection was the key driver behind the multi-million-pound music NFT market. And time after time, we see the artists that truly care about their fans thrive with cult like followings. You don’t need to be the next Jim Jones, just don’t think you’re above thanking the people you rely on for success.

If Snoop Dogg has his way, the Web3 world will be back with an appealing vengeance. Until then, bring the perks of NFTs to your fans, without asking them to stump up insane cash for the privilege of recognising their loyalty.

Amelia Vandergast

Alex PGSV is back with the groovy electro vibe on ‘Shame On You’

Alex PGSV is a talented singer-songwriter and producer who is cranking up the heat with his new track called ‘Shame On You‘.

Taken off ‘Purple Matter‘, this is the 2nd single from this powerful release that adds pop, indie and electronic music like a well-made gin & juice. Pogosov is Alex’s surname so he just took out the vowels and used it as an artist name. Very clever indeed. This Green Day fan makes music that he loves and is always looking for new ways to improve. Trust your ideas. Proceed with love, never violence. This is the mantra of this inspirational new producer and artist.

Alex PGSV’s ‘Shame On You‘ is a rewarding journey of self-discovery. His story is about a special person who let him down badly. He fell for them so hard but was left at the dial tone and things went quiet. Alex’s career is only going to get louder due to the quality music here.

Stream this new groove of a song here on Spotify.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen