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Bath Moles is closing because right now, in 2023, it simply isn’t possible to present original live music in a 220-capacity venue without losing money.

He’s right, and he’s also right that by ignoring what’s going on at the grassroots level the music industry is letting those roots rot. Without venues like Moles (and similar venues, such as Glasgow’s King Tuts and recently closed 13th Note) the British arena-fillers of recent years would never have become famous. No Moles no Radiohead, no Oasis, no Massive Attack, no Ed Sheeran, no Blur.

True, they all played the place. But that’s rather different from saying they’d not have existed if they’d not played that place. For a very large number of bands which have existed have not played that place. Like, say, Tears for Fears who played The Bell around the corner….

Bit of a whinge, this

And now, to make matters far worse, starting in 2024 Spotify will stop paying anything at all for roughly two-thirds of tracks on the platform. That is any track receiving fewer than 1,000 streams over the period of a year. Tracks falling under this arbitrary minimum will continue to accrue royalties – but those royalties will now be redirected upwards, often to bigger artists, rather than to their own rights holders.

OK, but 1,000 streams what are we talking about here?

What it won’t tell either artists or users in Spotify Wrapped is how much money was paid for all that streaming time. Short answer: not enough. If you want to do the maths, the maximum one can possibly earn in Spotify royalties is $0.003 a stream. It doesn’t add up to a living wage for most artists.

Three cents? Seems, umm, entirely reasonable to me actually. You?

Who wants a company – anyone in fact – to be chasing millions of under 3 cents amounts each reporting period? Note that Spotify doesn;t then keep that – it just pays it out to other people instead.

Err, yes?

Over half of employees, including white men, downplay parts of their identity to fit in better at work

Well now, Mick Jagger didn’t eat a mars bar with Marianne at work now, did he, on stage?

Lizzo? That Lizzo?

Lizzo has been sued by three former dancers who accused the Grammy winner of sexual harassment and allege the singer and her production company created a hostile work environment.

The civil lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims Lizzo pressured the dancers to engage with nude performers at a club in Amsterdam and shamed one of them for her weight gain before firing her.

Weight gain? Dear Lord…..

Oh, wonderful

To her credit, she never lost a sense of humour in her distress. When protesters hired a steamroller to crush piles of her albums outside her record company HQ in New York, she donned a wig and sunglasses and joined them, even giving an interview to a news crew in which she claimed to have come from Saratoga to add her patriotic voice to the protest.

Yes, that’s great. Sinead O’Connor.


Welsh rapper dropped from festival for singing in English
Bilingual artist says he refused to change his set for the cultural event, which celebrates the Welsh language

I thought the point of rap was that it wasn’t singing?

I remember this first time around

British ‘von Trapps’ release album as 15-cousin group
Bevan Family Consort are releasing ‘old family favourites’, half a century after their parents did the same thing

That original was actually a couple of years before I turned up in the area. But one of the lads was in our year (with Peter Briffa, if he’s reading, also Peter Morgan, who I know isn’t).

The original choir was formed around 50 years ago by Roger Bevan – grandfather of the current group – who lived with his family in a 15th century farmhouse near Wells in Somerset.

Well, yeeeees. He was head of music at Downside. So, for his sins, he had to try to teach me Music O Level. Which didn’t work out well. I can still remember him playing a third then a fifth for me on a piano. Then being horrified when I couldn’t immediately grasp the difference. “But, but, it’s obvious!”

Francis Bevan, one of the members, writes in the foreword to the album: “Music was so pivotal to the older generation’s lives that none of us cousins needed to be pushed to pursue it.

“Some have taken it more seriously and turned professional, but all of us share an innate ability and a love of making music together.”

Innate ability, that’s the thing. I was a techncailly proficient trumpet player. Got through Grade VI no problem, had a good timbre, could make it swing. But I never did grasp the basics of music. Couldn’t actually hear it, wasn’t, in fact, a musician. Possibly a technician who knew how to make a noise, but not a musician.

And that’s the thing about those with innate ability. They find it very difficult to understand those without it. But, but, it’s obvious.

Lovely man but teaching the theory of music to me wasn’t going to be his forte.

BTW, anyone else feel that cold breath on the back of the neck? Events of childhood now being half a century ago, things to be jubileed?


Youtube served me this:

OK, as always, Ms. Simone is excellent. But that tune, surely no, that’s not original. Some old gospel, right? Summat.

Ah, this:

From 45 seconds in. Ah, yes us oldies all do recognise that, don’t we?

Still think that melody and chord structure are likely to be older and more traditional but…..

I think I recall Barry at one point saying he’d had so many people asking that here was the man to play it. Which he did.

Err, no, really, just no

He said that AI can dilute the market, “making original creations harder to find and violating artists’ legal rights to compensation from their work”.

If someone’s listening to an AI thingie then they’re not listening to your work and you deserve no compensation. See how this works? Just the same as if I listen to Chris Rea (say) then Beyonce doesn’t get a cut.

(Actually, there could be some fun with this sort of thing. Train the AI on Beggar’s Banquet, say, then get it to play Sgt Pepper’s in that style. It’d rack up the views as well)

The rhythm section of Talking Heads

My dad was a general in the army and Tina’s dad was an admiral in the navy.

Very avant garde, even punk, eh? Not that they’re a bad rhythm section but it’s just not the formative background you quite expect. Bit like finding out Shane McGowan’s the son of an accountant/accounting clerk (he is, mate used to know the parents).

They’re musicians, not economists, but still……

The Cure also criticised Ticketmaster over its “dynamic pricing” policy, introduced in the UK in 2022 and used by artists such as Harry Styles and Coldplay, which inflates the price of remaining tickets for in-demand concerts. The Cure opted out of dynamic pricing, calling it “a greedy scam – and all artists have the choice not to participate … if no artists participated, it would cease to exist”.

So what actually should be done with something in short supply at a particular price?

It’s possible to increase supply. Play an extra gig. It’s possible to reduce demand – slag off a trannie and watch the audience shrink perhaps. Or, prices can change so as to match supply and demand. Or, obviously, it’s possible to have some sort of lottery – and electronic queues are a lottery – whereby some gain tickets at the official price and some do not. Which leads to the secondary market in tickets where tickets turn out to cost whatever the supply/demand balance says tickets are worth.

Those are the options. So, whatever one thinks of Ticketmaster, which option you gonna go for?

No, sorry, that you’re a musician, that these are fans, does not elevate you or them above these basic worries of economics.

Err, yes

The slide guitar at the end of the song always gives me chills. Duane Allman is one of the greatest players ever

A comment about Ramblin’ Man. Which, err, famously was after Duane’s death, showed that Dickie Betts could play slide too.

Ho hum.

This sort of music always amuses me

Never heard of the bloke before so maybe I’m being unkind. This could just be album filler.

It’s fine. Well played. Good musicians. And yet, umm, there’s nowt there. In many ways it’s like Georgia Satellites. But it’s missing that one thing that GS has. Which is, well, you know. Well, perhaps you don’t – but I think one expression of it would be that this is a group of good musicians playing. GS – often enough – is a band. The difference being that a band has that something more. It’s, umm, an organism.

Here’s Delbert again with Bonnie Raitt.

Excellent musicians and musicianship. And yet, well. Long thought this about Raitt too. She nails a couple of John Prine songs and she’s a very talented musician. But not, perhaps, a band leader – that thing is lacking. That whatever the heck it is.

The other way around. Jagger can’t sing, can’t really hold a note. On the other hand, that thing?

Not bad, not bad

Apparently Rod Stewart’s first release

Not sure about some of the phrasing and that opening guitar line sounds a little stilted. Love the bass line tho’.

I also know that I wasn’t doing anything at all halfway that competent at the age of 18.

AI song generation – the value of economic basics

Musicians face an artificial intelligence nightmare from the rise of ChatGPT-like song generators, the world’s biggest record label has said.

Universal Music warned that AI-created music threatened “widespread and lasting harm” to artists and threatened a Napster-style crisis without robust copyright protections.

So-called generative AI models have already caused uproar among illustrators for using human-produced work without compensation to create art. The rise of ChatGPT, which produces authentic-seeming poems and essays, has caused concern from publishers about a tidal wave of AI-generated material.

Both Google and OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, have developed software that creates vocals and music in the style of certain artists and genres.

OK, so is this the songocalpyse? Let’s assume yes. We’ve now got an unlimited supply of mildly inventive but largely derivative songs and music. This will screw over all those who produce largely derivative and mildly inventive songs – just about all songwriters.

Is this bad for society?

Well, back to basics then. Songs are a public good. Very difficult to produce one of any quality. But once produced anyone can copy it, that copy does not diminish the amount of it available for any one else. It’s non-rivalrous and non-excludable – a public good. We tend to think that things like that will be underproduced. For if the profit ain’t there then the incentive to do the difficult bit ain’t.

So, we institute copyrights, to provide the excludability and thus produce a possible profit, the incentive and the production.

So, where are we with AI songs? We’ve got no constraint upon supply any more, do we? We’ve moved songs from a public good to a non-economic good. There’s no constraint upon supply (OK, a little bit, the cost of running the AI but Pfft) therefore there’s no need to the profit, nor the incentive, to generate supply, is there?

Abolish copyright.

We’re done.


Yet it also threatens to derail a blockbuster rights deal that would land the group a $500m (£413m) payday.

So, they’re looking to sell the rights. Hipgnosis and the like. It looks like a rich, rich, price:

By comparison, Bob Dylan’s songs are estimated to have sold for around $300m. Bruce Springsteen sold his back catalogue for a reported $550m in 2021, though this included both recorded and publishing rights.

The auction includes Pink Floyd’s recorded rights but not the publishing rights. This means that while the buyer would gain control of the recorded songs, they would not own the compositions themselves.

Ah, no, that’s a ludicrous price. It also explains this:

In a further sign of deteriorating relations, Waters this week told the Telegraph that he has re-recorded The Dark Side of the Moon from scratch, cutting his bandmates out in the process.

Those rights would only include the old version, not the new. As with Taylor Swift re-recording her albums.

Rights come in a number of flavours. And trying to sell the ones just running out, partially being replaced, for near half a billion does seem steep, no? Especially when the longer running ones on the songs themselves, the ones with 70 plus years still to go, aren’t included?