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Spotify: Independent Music Friend or Foe?

Spotify LogoIn the last year, the Swedish music platform Spotify has gained considerable media attention in the United States with their free online streaming service. Although many are hailing it as a great way of discovering new artists and music, many are also criticizing the site claiming that it fails to properly compensate independent artists.

Spotify offers a free service that can be accessed online, while access from a mobile device requires a paid “premium” membership. Furthermore, the paid membership allows you to bypass the video and audio advertisements that are present with the free account.

In 2010, Napster founder Sean Parker invested $15 million in Spotify’s development, and has since been involved by sitting on their board. Spotify cracked the ten million user mark that same year, with a quarter of the accounts belonging to paying customers. After many delays and years of negotiation with major record companies, the site finally launched its US version in July 2011.

Spotify compensates artists via their record labels by paying for both downloaded content and streaming. In some countries, record companies have marked a significant increase in revenue since joining Spotify. Not everyone is happy however, American rock duo The Black Keys have gone as far as pulling their newest album El Camino off the site. So why are so many speaking out against Spotify?

Liz Phair’s Funstyle, or How The Music Industry Destroys Artists

lizphair1Some musicians are independent whether they like it or not. They can try to conform, try to get on board with a label and produce pretty, marketable pop tracks, but in the end they find it impossible, and system collapse is inevitable. The tragedy of this whole scenario is that it can actually destroy talented people, compromise creativity, and confuse artistic instincts. Case in point: the strange and corrupted career of Liz Phair.

Phair is making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons. She released her new album, Funstyle, on the 4th of July, and if you thought she’d been getting mixed reviews as of late, the word on Funstyle is anything but. Pitchfork called it “horrible on every conceivable level.” MusicRadar called it “bizarro.” And LATimesBlog generously suggests that you shouldn’t overlook it, even if it is terrible.


The album, Phair’s sixth, was released exclusively online, because according to her, she lost both label and manager for it. In response to reviews of Funstyle, the homepage of her website reads:

How To Like It.

You were never supposed to hear these songs. These songs lost me my management, my record deal and a lot of nights of sleep.

Ripple Music Announces Line-Up for New Indie Record Label

PrintLast year, John Rancik (Pope JTE) and Todd Severin (Racer X) of The Ripple Effect music site and radio show were asked if The Ripple Effect would be interested in releasing previously unearthed material from legendary Proto-metal rockers, JPT Scare Band.

After much soul searching, and hours of research, the duo responded with an enthusiastic “yes,” and Ripple Music, the record label, was born.

Since then, Ripple Music has amassed a stellar roster of guitar-oriented, rock-based acts that range in style from Roots Americana to psychedelic Proto-metal, and everything in between.

The first release will be hitting the streets on June 22nd, 2010 with JPT Scare Band‘s Acid Blues is the White Man’s Burden. The heavily fuzzed-out blues-based rock outfit has been hailed by Classic Rock Magazine as the “Lost Pioneer” of Heavy Metal.

New Media Pioneer: Dave Kusek, Author of The Future of Music

davekuseklogoWe recently caught up with Dave Kusek, author of The Future of Music, to talk about his latest project, Music Power Network.

Q) You had received a lot of requests to follow up The Future of Music with another book. What makes your service, Music Power Network, a better response?

A) Music Power Network (MPN) is a dynamic, interactive service. It can be constantly updated on a weekly basis. Rather than just reading a bunch of static information with no specific action steps, MPN provides applicable tools for each and every situation. Whether you have a band, label, management company, publicity firm, or other music business, MPN provides templates and other information that will specifically cater to your needs.

Q) As the large record labels become less significant each day, artists are turning to the direct-to-fan model more and more. Were you afraid that this service would give bands too much power?

Do it Yourself Hip Hop Music Business

Hip_Hop_GraffitiAt one point, artists really needed to rely on getting a recording contract or having a top management firm such as Violator Management to work their contacts and make a deal happen for the artist. This is a first hand account of how to build your own career in order to get a deal offered to you similar to Drake’s $2.5 Million deal from Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Records.

If you do NOT have a home studio to produce and at least reference tracks, I would start by doing this first. This will stop you from being at the mercy of any producers when you want to jump in a studio because you are creative. Creativity can hit at any moment to an artist. To be dependent upon a producer to get into their studio will hinder you and stop the creativity because you can’t just jump in and create music at will.

Q&A: Indie Songstress Lauren Ianuzzi

Photo by Fadil Berisha

Photo by Fadil Berisha

Lauren Ianuzzi has a full public relations team, booking agent, lawyer, etc. The New Jersey artist has even worked with songwriters and producers who have helped out major label artists (Justin Timberlake, Sheryl crow, Nelly Furtado, etc.). Ianuzzi has accomplished all of this without having help from a record label.

I had a chance to interview Ianuzzi, and she expressed how appreciative she is for her musical experiences, so far.

GH: How have you gained so much support from the music industry? I mean, it’s really hard to do and it’s great to see an artist get that without a label.

LI: I have the most incredible team behind me, so they deserve most of the credit (Team Ianuzzi’s info can be found on  But at the same time, I’ve always been really self-reliant–you know, that girl who takes over the project even when no one asks her to–and I know that nobody’s going to make my dream come true for me.  I have to make it happen on my own.  So I’ll show up anywhere, sing whenever anyone says “Sing”…I ain’t too proud to beg!