For the last eleven years, Merlin has been championing the independent music community in a variety of ways. During that time the organization has put over two billion dollars into the pockets of indie labels and distributors, through its negotiated deals with DSP’s like Spotify, et. al., and the organization is only continuing to grow its reach internationally. On this episode, we talk to Charles Caldas, the man at the helm of Merlin for the past eleven years, along with Jorge Brea of Symphonic Distribution and Katie Alberts of Reach Records, who both use Merlin’s services for their businesses to great advantage.
In previous episodes, we’ve discussed the diminished role that music criticism plays in today’s market, and now we’re turning our focus towards music journalism at large. With more and more magazines and newspapers going out of business, writers find themselves with even fewer publishing options, and they’re being forced to look for work outside of the music industry.
Denmark’s Crunchy Frog has been releasing albums for a quarter century this year, and they are celebrating their anniversary with a new compilation of music from the label’s roster, that’s being released in tandem with a variety of specialty beverages to commemorate the occasion. Listen in as label head, Jesper “Yebo” Reginal, talks about the origins of the label, and its successes with international crossover hits from bands like Junior Senior and The Raveonettes, while Johannes Gammelby tells us why his many bands are all signed with the label.
At this point, we all know that streaming royalties have become a larger and larger share of revenue within the music industry, but how those royalties are calculated by DSP’s is still somewhat of a mystery to artists, labels, and consumers. For example, why doesn’t your $9.99/mo. only go to the artists you’ve streamed that month? And, why do the per-stream rates fluctuate so much, based on time of day, the specific plan you’re on, etc.? On this episode, we talk to Vickie Nauman and Louis Posen about the “pool method” of royalty calculation (currently in use by most DSP’s), and alternatives to this method that are being proposed by some, and piloted by others.
With more and more venues shutting down due to rising costs in metropolitan areas, some musicians are looking towards non-traditional venues, and people’s homes, as a means to an end. On this episode, we talk with the founder of the Undiscovered Music Network, a service that pairs musicians with willing home concert hosts, and Amber Sweeney, a singer/songwriter who’s recently done several house shows as part of her tour route. Rounding out the episode, we talk about the non-traditional venue host, So Far, with writer Emma Silvers, who wrote an exposé on the business’s rather unscrupulous practices for KQED.
The world has changed quite a bit since the Pacific NW queercore outfit Team Dresch released their first full-length album 25 years ago. There was no internet, there weren’t any openly gay people running for president, and there weren’t nearly as many corporations sponsoring pride festivals. While the band never truly broke-up, they have returned to the public eye after announcing a few reissues and a short U.S. tour schedule. As If that wasn’t enough to re-establish their presence, they’ve also recorded some new material for their new singles comp, which you can hear in this episode!