Exchange Article/Gianluigi Marsibilio





Continuing in 2020 with our collaboration with the leading Italian music publication Kalporz, the Monolith Cocktail will be cosying up and sharing reviews, interviews and other bits from our respective sites each month. Keep an eye out for future ‘synergy’ between our two great houses as we exchange posts.

This month, Gianluigi Marsibilio looks into the phenomenon of “Spotification” as he explores the evolution of music’s fruition through streaming with Prof. Rasmus Fleischer.

 

Spotify is a giant metaphor for the entire cultural sector. From music to podcasts, which have changed the way of radio and storytelling, Swedish society since 2008 has fostered a new way of interacting with users and people, and with the whole cultural production, not just music.

“Spotifisation” then is a fundamental theme and we talked about it with the theme expert Rasmus Fleischer, who wrote an interesting publication on the theme of cultural “universal spotification” (“Universal Spotification? The shifting meanings of “Spotify” as a model for the media industries”). Fleischer is a researcher in economic history at the University of Stockholm: his academic work has mainly focused on media history and political economy, with a particular focus on music. He was also co-author of the book Spotify Teardown (MIT Press, 2019).

The Spotify model, although not unique, hides many criteria that have been taken up by various startups to promote a similar model, applying it to news, books, magazines and every aspect of the cultural sector.

At the heart of this business model is certainly the concept of hype, i.e. the establishment of a flow of news, rumors and anticipations that shift attention and expectation to a particular element. An interesting definition comes directly from Professor Fleischer’s paper, in which this process is identified as a mechanism for “shaping the future from the present”.

However, in order to understand this circularity Spotify has shaped one has to remember how it all came about: “At least in Sweden, the process has been closely linked to social and political conflicts over file sharing and copyright enforcement, including the legal case against The Pirate Bay (a popular file sharing site in Sweden and active in 2003). The music industry,” Fleischer explained, “would probably not have agreed to license the tracks if it hadn’t been so desperate.

With the passing of the years and the development of the model everything has become much more complex, until what we can define in 2010 as “Spotify’s curatorial turning point”, in fact Fleischer insists on this point: “Before then, Spotify was basically conceived as a big archive”.





The breakthrough that came in the early 2010’s was important and defined streaming as we use it and know it today: “Starting in 2013, the service has been rethought in order to give more importance to the recommendations. This no longer assumes that the listener knows what to look for, in fact an endless stream of music is presented”.

A change, a revolution of this kind, offers important insights and perhaps brings back to the question that Kalporz’s very own Paolo Bardelli asked himself in the site’s My2Cents column: “Isn’t it time for Spotify, Deezer and the other platforms to become record labels? The change of direction has in fact given another kind of influence to Spotify on the way people listen to music and it would be interesting to see how this kind of reasoning has led to the development and growth of some genres over others. Fleischer pointed out for example that: “Music described as “chill” is particularly well suited to the new paradigm”.

There is no single model to describe and encompass the infinite facets of the cultural and music industry: “At first it was thought that the “Spotify model” was linked to free access, leaving everything to be financed only by advertising”. Over the years, however, everything has been designed and structured in the form of monthly subscriptions and today, thanks to the care and management of Big Data, we are able to have reliable predictions about the music industry. The change of strategy has also been reported in an article published in Wired that indicates how: “Consumers have become more and more accustomed to the idea of paying for access to digital media that they once received for free” and in fact, data from 2018 shows how now only 10% of Spotify’s revenue comes from advertising.

To get into a purely musical discourse, you can see that Spotify and co. have contributed to “destroy the album, now count the singles made to enter the playlist”. Over the years, however, “it’s also conceivable that Spotify will try to integrate the playlists by directly releasing music. In any case – recalled Fleischer – we must not forget that there are important movements developing outside Spotify and even in opposition to it. An example could be the rise of the so-called Soundcloud Rap”.

The phenomenon of Spotify and streaming platforms in music can then be linked to the deeper analysis of a media landscape moving towards an algorithmic culture. From this point of view among the various services, Fleischer explained: “Netflix dealt with algorithmic recommendations long before Spotify”. The music streaming service, on the other hand, has started to take care of this, particularly expected by its “curatorial” turning point. This phenomenon of playlist care, through algorithms, comes out of a whole series of choices made by services such as Songza, which used music experts to target listeners already in the early 2000s, or Pandora, which first introduced a system of keywords to categorize music.

The theme of a culture of the algorithm then surely will be a fundamental step to be taken, maybe in one of the next “investigations”, to understand how music is changing, because it is out of the question that the way to enjoy music changes and directly influences its sound and cultural connotation.

In this moment of lockdown culture, in particular music and cinema, have migrated to digital platforms and at the time it seemed right to reflect on “Spotification” and offer a cue for future insights into the process of digitization and its mechanisms in the music industry.




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PLAYLIST/Dominic Valvona





Cool shit that the Monolith Cocktail founder and instigator Dominic Valvona has pulled together, the Social playlist is a themeless selection of eclectic tracks from across the globe and ages. Representing not only his tastes but the blogs, these regular playlists can be viewed as an imaginary radio show, a taste of Dominic’s DJ sets over 25 plus years. Placed in a way as to ape a listening journey, though feel free to listen to it as you wish, each playlist bridges a myriad of musical treasures to enjoy and also explore – and of course, to dance away the hours to.

For those of you without access to Spotify, we’ve chosen a random smattering of tracks from Youtube.



Tracks 

The Lovin’ Spoonful  ‘Revelation: Revolution ’69’
Dyke & The Blazers  ‘Swamp Walk’
Keef Hartley Band  ‘You Can Choose’
Steamhammer  ‘Supposed To Be’
Klaus Doldinger’s Passport  ‘Schirokko’
Som Tres  ‘Eu Já Tenho Você’
Freda Payne  ‘Let It Be Me’
Emitt Rhodes  ‘Let’s All Sing’
Keyboard  ‘I Wish You know’
Clothilde  ‘Saperlipopette’
N’Goma Jazz  ‘Kupassiala Kuawaba’
Tabou Combo  ‘Haiti’
Dick Khoza  ‘Zumbwe (Baby Tiger)’
Def Jef  ‘Get Up 4 The Get Down’
Souls Of Mischief  ‘A Name I Call Myself’
Honey Cone  ‘Deaf, Blind, Paralysed’
The Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz & Percussion Ensemble  ‘One For The monica Lingas Band’
Sum Pear  ‘Bring Me Home America’
J Scienide & Kev Brown  ‘100 Grand’
Paper Garden  ‘Lady’s Man’
Brian Eno & John Cale  ‘Lay My Love’
Mick Ronson  ‘Growing Up And i’m Fine’
David Johansen  ‘Here Comes The Night’
Ben Von Wildenhaus  ‘The Limping Axeman’
Marconi Notaro  ‘Ah Vida Avida’
Alessandro Alessandroni  ‘Babylon City’
Between  ‘Scatter’
Finis Africae  ‘Zoo Zulu’
Gescom  ‘C2’
Luke Vibert  ‘Funky Acid Stuff’
Cos  ‘Video Boma’
Haruomi Hosono  ‘Sports Men’
Blurt  ‘Let Them Be (Live)’
Essential Logic  ‘The Order Form’
Parasites Of The Western World  ‘Mo’
Rob Jo star Band  ‘Stone Away’
Semi-Colon  ‘Ebenebe’
Sam Rivers  ‘Crux’
N’Ghare Hi Power Band  ‘Campus Rock’
Dr. Alimantado  ‘NO Gwaan SOH’


VIDEOS
























PLAYLIST
Compiled by Dominic Valvona





Cool shit that the Monolith Cocktail founder and instigator Dominic Valvona has pulled together, the Social playlist is a theme-less selection of eclectic tracks from across the globe and ages. Representing not only his tastes but the blogs, these regular playlists can be viewed as an imaginary radio show, a taste of Dominic’s DJ sets over 25 plus years. Placed in a way as to ape a listening journey, though feel free to listen to it as you wish, each playlist bridges a myriad of musical treasures to enjoy and also explore – and of course, to dance away the hours to.

The first volume of 2020 includes a couple of live ones from the cosmic, country rock doyen Mike Nesmith (taken from his performance with foil Red Rhodes; released as the The McCabe’s Tapes last year, slipping below the radar and just missing our albums of 2020 features), and from that ever exhaustive archive of lost and under wraps David Bowie material, a brassy resonating eastern and ethereal alternative take of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’.  There’s also Thai go-go beat nonsense from the Erawan Band; Afrobeat Salsa from Gyedu-Blay Ambolly; rattling garage punk from The Pandoras; 80s nu-soul funk from Konk; House(ing) diva funk collaboration from Kym Mazelle & Robert Howard; a rock steady grooving transformation of a classic from guitar picking Ernest Ranglin; plus the usual unusual mix of jazz, no wave, punk, post punk, power pop, country, avant-garde and whatever else tickles my fancy.


Track List

Erawan Band  ‘Khon Muangkhan’
Episode Six  ‘Morning Dew’
Eula Cooper  ‘Try’
Paolo Ferrara  ‘Afrotheme’
Bronx River Parkway  ‘Song For Ray’
Gyedu-Blay Ambolly  ‘Simigwa-Do’
Rikki Illonga, Musi-O-Tunya  ‘Sunshine Love’
Konk  ‘Love Attack’
Kym Mazelle & Robert Howard  ‘Wait’
Ernest Ranglin  ‘Summertime (Rock Steady)’
Eugene McDaniels  ‘Tell Me Mr. President’
Josefus  ‘America’
The Carpettes  ‘Radio Wunderbar’
The Pandoras  ‘You Burn Me Up And Down’
Total Control  ‘Future Creme’
Rosa Yemen  ‘Decryptated’
La Floripondio  ‘Dime Que Pasa’
Nat Birchall  ‘Ism Schism’
Ted Daniel Quintet  ‘Mozambique’
The Lyman Woodard Organization  ‘On Your Mind’
Engineers  ‘Forgiveness’
Wall Of Voodoo  ‘Dark As The Dungeon’
The Shivvers  ‘When I Was Younger’
The Velvet Illusions  ‘Town Of Fools’
David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights  ‘Smoke You Right Out Of Here’
Walter Ghoul’s Lavender Brigade  ‘House Of Small’
Emit Rhodes  ‘Mary Will You Take My Hand’
Michael Nesmith & Red Rhodes  ‘Grand Ennui (Live)’
Michael Nesmith & Red Rhodes  ‘Some Of Shelly’s Blues (Live)’
David Bowie  ‘The Man Who Sold The World (ChangesNowBowie Version)’

Quarterly Playlist 2018: Part Two: Choice tracks from the last three months.





Welcome to part two of the Monolith Cocktail’s carefully selected and put-together quarterly playlist revue of 2018. Featuring an eclectic mix of ‘choice’ new music, re-releases and recently dug-out nuggets, all released in the last three months of the year, the blog’s staff (well me, Dominic Valvona, and our resident hip-hop fanatic Matt Oliver) have, as usual, produced a lively, sometimes meditative, at times distressed and harrowing, playlist.

Twisted dark arts sit next to cosmic sounds from the Maghreb; peregrinations flow into more steely razor sharp post-punk; and key hip-hop pontifications go hand-in-hand with shoegaze and the psychedelic. But as always, the musical flow will take you to all the most interesting locations, and hopefully introduce you to something you’ve never heard before.


Tracklist in full:


London Plane  ‘New York Howl’  Review
Josh T. Pearson  ‘Straight To The Top!’  Review
The Seven Ups  ‘Stampede’
Homeboy Sandman & Edan  ‘#NeverUseTheInternetAgain’  Review
Lee Scott & Jazz T  ‘What If Lee Was A Super Dope Rapper In 1988?’  Review
The Nonce  ‘Chocolate Cake’  Review
Warmduscher  ‘Standing On The Corner’
Samba Toure  ‘Yefara’  Review
The Turbans  ‘Zawi’  Review
David Dor  ‘Sapri Tama’
Hany Mehanna  ‘Mouna’
Bernard Estardy  ‘La Route Au Tabac’
The Magic City Trio  ‘Black Dog Following Me’  Review
Grimm Grimm  ‘Still Smiling’ Review
Black Light white Light  ‘Forward Backwards’  Review
Matt Finucane  ‘Damn Storyteller’  Review
Canshaker Pi  ‘Pressure From Above’
Ammar 808  ‘Bognga & Sandia’  Review
Shimshon Miel  ‘Amsterdam Experience’
The Mauskovic Dance Band  ‘The Opposite’
Black Thought  ‘9th vs. Thought’  Review
Pan Amsterdam  ‘The Lotion Song’  Review
Del The Funky Homosapien  ‘Humble Pie’  Review
Brownout  ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’
Dr. Octagon  ‘Operation Zero’  Review
Sad Man  ‘Parrot’  Review
Yonatan Gat  ‘Projections’  Review
Die Wilde Jagd  ‘2000 Elefanten’  Review
Elefant  ‘Norsun Muisti’  Review
Lucy Leave  ‘Look//Listen’  Review
Bas Jan  ‘Argument’
Sudan Archives  ‘Pay Attention’
Georgia Greene  ‘Lonely For You’
Evil Bone  ‘In Vain’  Review
The Bordellos  ‘Fading Honey’  Feat
Anton Barbeau  ‘Secretion Of The Wafer’  Review
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita  ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’  Review
Thomas Nation  ‘Hold My World’  Review
The Lancashire Hustlers  ‘Consider Me’  Review
Alex Stolze  ‘Way Out’  Review
Crayola Lectern  ‘Rescue Mission’
Tanzania Albinism Collective  ‘Albino’
Spiritualized  ‘A Perfect Miracle’

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