Published Apr 10, 2019Artists have laid bare just how little compensation they receive from streaming services time and again, while the environmental impact of streaming was examined earlier this week. Now, Julian Casablancas has joined the growing chorus of those yelling at the cloud, revealing that he finds the platforms "a waste of time."
In conversation with Billboard, the Strokes and Voidz frontman spoke about his frustrations with the structural changes of the music industry, questioning the role of record labels in an eras where "it's all about Spotify":
I don't use Spotify. I think all those streaming services are… I don't like them. They're the new MTV, the new gatekeepers, so labels make deals with them to basically… they're all just ripping everyone off. I don't know. I don't think labels have a clear identity right now. I'm not there on the forefront trying to figure out how to exploit and make money. I'm more interested in doing something like the Grateful Dead did: go town to town, be friends with the cool radio stations, play the cool venues, make relationships with cool promoters. You can have your online existence, but trying to suck on Spotify's sweet sweetness is just a waste of time for me.
Casablancas noted that as a listener, he either plays music from "a non-Apple device, because they don't even let you have MP3s anymore," or tunes into the radio.
"Everyone I know who's listening to Spotify or Apple Music doesn't discover anything interesting," he said. "When I ask them to pull up a cool song, they don't even have one. If you have to choose a streaming service, I would say YouTube is the only one, even though that's kind of not what it is."
He added, "If you want to hear music in a simple way, it's $10 a month, I get it. You're not gonna buy songs on iTunes, I understand that... It's gone so backwards. The whole process of music is so stupidly complicated right now, for all the technology."
When asked about the ideal role a record label should play in 2019, Casablancas offered, "Finding a great talent and nurturing them has its place, and that's where [labels] could technically survive, but really what they're doing is trying to play the system and make as much money [as possible]. There's making money and then there's developing artists. Developing artists is hard and complicated and annoying and thankless. Trying to scam the system and make deals to rip people off is easier."
Casablancas also spoke about his lone solo album Phrazes for the Young, which is set to turn 10 years old this year.
You can read the complete interview here.
Casablancas and his Strokes bandmates are set to play in Toronto next month.