Music producer Steve Albini is known for his strong views – his ‘The Problem with Music’ op-ed in 1994 famously began by comparing major label deals to “a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit”. As a longtime artist advocate, Albini might be expected to be equally unimpressed with streaming music services, but in an interview with Quartz, he sprang a surprise. “The single best thing that has happened in my lifetime in music, after punk rock, is being able to share music, globally for free. That’s such an incredible development,” he said. But yes, he still isn’t super-keen on major labels. “Record labels, which used to have complete control, are essentially irrelevant. The process of a band exposing itself to the world is extremely democratic and there are no barriers. Music is no longer a commodity, it’s an environment, or atmospheric element. Consumers have much more choice and you see people indulging in the specificity of their tastes dramatically more. They only bother with music they like.”

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