Billy Bragg is joining Spotify for a series of “radio shows” – playlists collecting some of his favourite tracks. The first goes live tomorrow (11-Feb) and will be followed by a new show at the start of every month.
“I’m looking forward to using my ‘talking playlist’ to introduce listeners to some of the amazing material in Spotify’s back pages,” said Bragg in a statement.
“One of my favourite artists from the 50s is a guy named Louis Prima. Spotify have over 100 albums of his on their system and he’s just one among thousands of obscure artists who have languished in the racks in second-hand record stores for the past half century.”
The news comes after Bragg suggested last year that artists attacking Spotify should turn their attention to labels, and contracts hanging over from the analogue era.
“Those rates, carried over to the digital age, explain why artists are getting such paltry sums from Spotify,” Bragg wrote on his Facebook page in November, noting that Swedish artists had been threatening to sue major labels over streaming royalties.
“I’ve long felt that artists railing against Spotify is about as helpful to their cause as campaigning against the Sony Walkman would have been in the early 80s,” wrote Bragg then. “Music fans are increasingly streaming their music and, as artists, we have to adapt ourselves to their behaviour, rather than try to hold the line on a particular mode of listening to music.”
The news came shortly after Spotify’s latest media partnership was announced, with News UK and based around its The Times and Sunday Times newspapers in the UK. Annual subscribers of both newspapers paying £6 or £8 a week for its ‘digital’ and ‘ultimate’ packs respectively will now be offered a free year’s Spotify Premium subscription bundled in.
News UK’s chief marketing officer painted the deal as a marriage of content philosophies: “It is great to be working with a like-minded brand that also offers premium paid-for content,” she said. The pair will be working on “bespoke content and experiences” in the future, including exclusive acoustic sessions from artists for members of the Times+ membership scheme.