Monthly Archives: July 2013

Sorry Thom, but I disagree



In the late 1990s, Napster divided music listeners and makers in two.

Although not all encompassing, the Metallica-led makers group argued that restrictions should be put on Napster’s file sharing service where users freely shared music files with other users around the world.

Was it great? In my view, yes, as it allowed you too listen to music you didn’t own and download entire albums at your leisure.

Admittedly this concept has not really spawned legal replicants, while Napster itself trails in the wake of iTunes and its competitors.

Now if you want to listen to something you just use YouTube, visit a bands own website or use a streaming site like Last FM or Spotify.

It is Spotify that has hit the headlines this week, with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich both speaking out against royalties paid by Spotify to new bands. Well there is a point there. Yes we have seen bands like Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Radiohead join Spotify and upload all, or some, of their back catalogue to it.

However those bands earned money from record sales before the Internet existed in the public domain and their point that bands cannot survive in a climate where people don’t get paid, or don’t get paid enough, will be welcomed by the next great acts. Spotify’s payment plans do offer great value, but the restriction is on listening only.

If you want to listen to a great album (let’s pick Bastille as an example) you can do, and if you like it, you can download it for free from a file sharing website.

I disagree with this concept completely. I have known two bands well who have had top ten albums and because of that personal element, I haven’t
feel the need to buy physical copies. Also because I like to own physical CDs and vinyl, and this may sound sad, but a lot of my CDs do have memories attached to them.

Back to Yorke/Godrich and Spotify though, yes they have a point, but I don’t think that their targets should be aimed at the listening service, they should target those who distribute music illegally online.

In the past few months that I have used Spotify, I have come across and bought music by the likes of Palma Violets, Billy Bragg and Winter Olympics. The Strypes are on my shopping list and I recommend Parquet Courts.

Perhaps the guns should also be aimed at those places where music is not sold at a better price.

For example, The Beatles may only have recorded Twist & Shout in 10 minutes and in one take, but does it deserve to be sold for more than 99p? Also how much is YouTube paying out for views of videos on its site? Is Psy now a billionaire after a billion+ views of Gangnam Style? I doubt it.

Spotify did come across this type of criticism a few years ago when it was revealed how much Lady Gaga had earned for a million+ listens to Poker Face, but how many albums did she sell as a result of those listens?

During my short spell on Napster I did download a Metallica track (their cover of Bob Seger’s Turn the Page) and bought it on CD single when I could locate it. Ditto today, I listened to some of Radiohead’s back catalogue upon this announcement.

The music industry makes a lot of money for too few, and the most important factors are making sure the best new bands get listened to and they do enough to make a living from it.


To run away from you…

I recently passed (in other words missed) the ‘100 days to’ alert on the Royal Parks half marathon so I’ll mark it with this three months to instead.

In my last blog post I announced my decision to do the run for the second time and since then I hit the streets and parks of N17 to get started with my training.

The first few times were bloody hard going (and that’s swearing) and it was tough hitting a stride, not being constantly out of breath and basically, not looking like a fat, sweaty fool in public.

A few sessions in though, and it came back to me. Ok my speed isn’t great, but my stamina is building up and tackling 5k runs is not as daunting as it was back in May.

Of course no blog on this is complete without a link to my sponsorship page, so here it is . Hey I am not going through all this effort for your entertainment you know!

One thing I wanted to address in this blog post was those who are so kind to say that I am an inspiration to them and wish they could do what I did/do. Ok the language is a little generous, but I do get comments from friends about this venture and I always give the same answer – if I can do it, anyone can.

There is no trick to it, it’s about getting started and getting going. Yes at first you may be conscious of┬árunning in public and how you appear, I would be lying if I said that thought didn’t come to my mind now and again.

However some decent trainers, comfy clothing, ipod/other music device or portable radio and a pair of headphones is all I have used. Why headphones? Because if anyone does say something, just wave as if it is someone cheering you on.

So if I can do it, you can. Just don’t forget to sponsor me ­čÖé