Music News

An indie band is retiring by offering a final album for £1 million

God bless the Pocket Gods, a UK indie band that’s been protesting against meagre streaming payouts by refusing to record songs much longer than 30 seconds. The thinking is if Spotify et al only pay out a fraction of a cent once a song streams for 30 seconds, what’s the point of recording anything longer?

I quote from leader Mark Christopher Lee: “We started releasing just albums of 30 second songs back in 2015 and being “inspired” by an article by US music professor Mike Errico who asked why artists weren’t just writing 30 second songs as this is when Spotify pays out a royalty in full and as artists don’t get paid much from streaming – why write longer songs!”

In their career, the Pocket Gods have released hundreds, thousands of these songs, sometimes with up to 1,000 tracks on a single album. But now they’re done and want to retire.

To make the occasion, there is one final album–their 76th overall–entitled Vegetal Digital. There is one vinyl copy on sale at Empire Records in St. Albans. The price? A mere £1 million. But before you think that this is just a way to top up the pension plan, it’s not. Lee wants to use the money to create a new streaming service called NUBPLAY which will guarantee 1p (which I think is about 16 Canadian cents) per play. That’s more than 50 times the standard streaming rate.

More from Lee: “We’ve finished with the 30 second songs we did them in a rebellious punk spirit to to force streaming companies like Spotify to pay artists and songwriters better. We’ve had success in terms of meetings with Spotify but in order for real change we need to make a stand and by setting up our own service we guarantee to pay artists at least 1p per stream. £1 million I guess is small change to the likes of Spotify but by making a stand we hope others will come on board and help create a fairer future for artists, songwriters & musicians.”

Noble. Best of luck to the Pocket Gods. I hope they find a buyer. Hey, if Wu-Tang Clan could…

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38403 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.