Spotify’s “New Music Friday” playlist: It ain’t all that!

I think it’s time that Spotify change the name of their “New Music Friday” playlist. Yes, it’s new, and it’s music, and it’s delivered on Friday, but it is completely myopic. By that I mean, the overwhelming majority of songs are all cut from the same cloth: Urban Electronic. My guess is, this list is compiled by a small group of urban dwelling, club frequenting, 20 somethings… not that there’s anything wrong with that. Oh, they throw in an occasional country, rock or indie song, but those genres are ALWAYS under represented and very poorly curated. So, here’s a request from someone who LOVES new music: Please create a playlist that reflects EVERYTHING that’s going on in modern music, not just the narrow view you currently favor. Pretty please… with sugar on it?
Now, do I really think Spotify is listening or cares in the least what I have to say? Nope. Do I believe that they will address my concerns in any way, shape or form? Not at all. Do I think this post is a useless exercise in complete futility? I’d put money on it. But, do I feel better now that I’ve vented? Li’l bit… not much, but… li’l bit.

New Music: 2016

I didn’t find 2016 to be a particularly great year for new music, Still, here are YouTube links to a few of my favorites… in no particular order.

Emotions and Math – Margaret Glasby
I was immediately captivated by the stripped-down, rock arrangement and mush-mouthed vocal on this cleverly constructed song. It refuses to let go of me.

Hideaway (the entire album) – Jacob Collier
It’s very rare to find a musician/composer as gifted as Jacob Collier. Sometimes his arrangements serve his abilities more than they do the song, but even then he dazzles.

Remember Us to Life (the entire album) – Regina Spektor
This is a quirky collection of songs, from somber to silly, and I like it.

Blood In The Cut – K. Flay
There is an insidious subversive gravity to this record that grabs hold and pulls hard.

Stick to Your Guns – Watsky (feat. Julia Nunes)
Makes you feel like you’ve broken into a broken life and know too much.

Alaska – Maggie Rogers
The story behind this song is almost as good as the song itself… almost. Look it up. BTW, I love the song and hate the video.

Fairy Tale in New York – Bob Schneider
It’s a cover of the Pogues song… half of it anyway. Some may miss the uptempo section… I didn’t.

So, that’s it. 2016 is gone. I can’t wait to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel what the next one has in store. Let’s meet back here in a year and do this again.

Happy New Year!


Digital technology has revolutionized music. Recordings that rival the best of decades past can be created on an iPad in a closet. A quick listen to any new music playlist reveals just how sophisticated and lush even the most obscure indie artist can sound. On the consumer side, fans can download their favorite music instantly, without the need for a trip to the mall or big box store. When you visit most digital retailers, however, there is one vestige from the past that refuses to loosen its grip, the album.

Anyone who has ever purchased an album, in any format, has felt the sting of paying for 15 songs, only to discover that 13 of them weren’t worth a dime. You might think that in the digital buffet line of today’s music, where you are able to load your auditory plate with just your favorites and ignore the rest, albums would be a rarity. You’d be wrong.

It’s easy to understand why digital music retailers hold onto the album format. Ringing up a sale of $9.99 is preferable to a measly $.99. For the artist/label, the equation is much the same. Motivating your fans to buy 10 tracks at a dollar each is much more difficult than getting them to buy one album, one time, at $10.00. The only party at a disadvantage in this current scenario is the consumer.

Digital retailers like to feature albums and bury singles. This practice became very apparent to me when I began to distribute my music digitally. I chose Distrokid as my distributor. Each time I uploaded a song, I indicated that it was a single and not part of an album. After several days, when the song appeared in the Amazon store, it was listed as a single… and an album. The same thing happened when my music populated the iTunes store. Thinking there had been some kind of mix-up, I contacted Distrokid. They assured me that my songs had only been submitted as singles but that the retailer’s systems were set up to categorize music in terms of albums first, and then singles.

I understand the need for grouping certain songs together; soundtracks and concept albums are good examples of that. What I would like to see, however, is a system of singles and collections. Collections, as a class, could be much more flexible. It would not only include the traditional delineations of EP and LP but also allow for new concepts such as multiple works that are not linked by release dates. Let’s say an artist occasionally dabbles with a style of music for which they are not necessarily known. They could gather those works under a unifying umbrella, while also being able to add new tracks over time so that the collection constantly evolves. Whether or not the music industry follows suit, I intend to use the “collection” approach for certain groupings of my music. I’m currently working on just such a collection. It’s a series of modern country songs. You can expect to hear the first of these later this year.

Having said all that, at some point I might come up with a concept that demands to be labeled, “Album.” If that does happen, feel free to file this rant under another new category, “Never-mind.”