𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 - this week: #StopPayola - Ed Eagle
Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
#𝙎𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙋𝙖𝙮𝙤𝙡𝙖 - 𝙀𝙙 𝙀𝙖𝙜𝙡𝙚
Charles bucks the trend of love…
So it’s love day. So of course, Charles is going to write a soppy piece about love. Well obviously. What would you expect from someone so predictable as CC. Well I’m not going to, you see. I’m just not. Not because I don’t like love. I LOVE love. It’s the most perfectly wonderful thing ever in the history of the world and probably beyond. If you believe in love beyond Earth. Ah, I see where he’s going with this. It’s going to be another piece on Space. Alien love. He’s going to review a funky song about aliens making love, probably called Alien Love Making. Oh, as if I would write about something so crude as that. Besides, I’ve probably done that before. I’ve written about a lot of things, ya see. In fact, it can be difficult to come up with something entirely new, week after week after week. Love is love, and we all know it. Hallmark, Cadbury’s Milk Tray, Interflora and Durex have taught us well. So I feel it is time for something a little different. An alternative message of love to our founder and to all of you. Here goes…!
Never mind peace… Give US a chance! (Us, not U.S.). We lowly scum deserve enough to survive, surely…? We peasants are surely worth SOMEthing, no? We are the many, not the few. We come in millions, not scores. And together, we can make a difference. This is how protests go, isn’t it? I’m not sure because I’ve never really been part of one. Well let’s do just that. What’s the old codger on about THIS week, then? What’s broken his biscuit before he’s had a chance to dunk…? Well, the music industry, that’s what. The broken music industry has broken us. It may be broken, but it’s far from broke. In fact, it has never been richer. Hollywood used always to be leagues ahead of music in terms of pennies, but that has very much changed. The music industry earns billions. Actually, not just billions, but billions and billions, to be more precise. But one can only be a part of this if one is signed to one of the Big Three. I am not referring to the obscure Merseybeat band from the very early 60s, but in fact the total of pretty much all music you have ever heard of. Sony/Universal/Warner. There are very few artists you could name that aren’t part of the “system”. This is not remotely or by any means to say that the artists are to blame for such a sinister trio existing. Those lucky artists are just that. Lucky. They are not the best. They are not the worst. They just happened to be picked. And we all feel deep resentment towards them for being in that situation. You shouldn’t. They were lucky. We were not. But we still have a chance to make a career out of music, right? Just not be as huge? Well, that used to be possible. These days, very much not so much. 1000 streams is rather a lot, no? I mean, just think about that figure for a second. One zero zero zero. So we earn quite a lot from that, then? Well, actually we earn not much more than zero zero zero. Around $4. Whoop-whoop! That’s enough to… Wait, what IS that enough to? Maybe buy a coffee? Couple of lottery tickets? Half a pint of shandy booze? It’s just not what I would call “living the dream”.
But we artists are desperate. The blood, the sweat and the tears that go into creating our own personal art. Sure, if it gets only 5 streams from an auntie, then maybe you’re not so deserving of the loot. But say you get as much as 20,000 streams, because evidently you’re so bloody brilliant at what you do and people love you, then surely you’re in the big bucks, no? No. “Do the math(s!!!)” - it’s around $80. Just take in that remarkable achievement of Two zero zero zero zero. And we get Eight zero do llars. Hardly fair, is it. I mentioned that desperation. We artists will do ANYthing to try to justify our efforts. Dance naked on Twitch for an hour (or until you’re cancelled, blocked and banned for life - whichever comes first)? Fine! Hashtag yourself to death in the hope that one of them might trigger some algorithm or other? Absolutely! Sleep with the CEO’s wife? No problem. Wait, what? Yeah, sleep with the wife of Warner’s CEO. Oh right: gotcha! No, wait. What?? Because then you could get signed! dumb-dumb. But then you very much WOULD incur problems. And how on Earth would that work anyway?? Well yes, all right. Details, details. You get the gist. We have lost our collective mind with desperation. We shouldn’t be thinking like this. But we have to. How can we get our music to as many potential fans as possible…? Playlists. Right, I get that. But how? Well, you could go crazy and beg every single person you know to put your song on their playlist… But there are two problems with that. That’s only a total of three playlists, and it won’t make a damned difference to anything. Because their playlist is only known by you and the other two people you know… Hmmm… So what do I do?
Wait, I’ve got the answer! I got a message in my inbox the other day from a gorgeously bosomed young lady by the name of Rhazel Hhzaa. She promised 1000 streams for only $7, or 10,000 streams for only $20! Bonza!! I’m in, the mo-ney. I’m in, the mo-ney (sing with me). Now stop singing and start thinking. How is she able to guarantee such a specific figure? Why is it so cheap? Why isn’t everyone doing this? It’s so good it should be illegal… Well, she CAN guarantee a figure because it is not actual people listening. It is stream farms. Robots or illegally employed workers (slaves) - not that they're not people, but you know what I mean (hardly music lovers). Or, they just type in a figure as they’ve “hacked the mainframe”. Is $7 so cheap? It is nearly double what you would earn from that number of streams. And why isn’t everyone doing this…? Well, the sad truth is, so many are. So many desperate artists are falling for this ruse every hour of every day. And it sucks. Surely it can’t harm though…? Well I questioned whether it should be illegal… IT IS! This is the biggest factor of it all. If you choose to go ahead with Rhazel’s transaction, the very next morning you will be awoken by at least 12 policeman banging on your front door. Well, okay. It’s not illegal in that sense, but it is illegal by the terms of all streaming services. You are in effect stealing their money, and therefore an accessory to the crime. Yesterday, you were a broke artist. Today, you are a broken criminal. Now, maybe that’s cool if you’re an angry rapper: “F**k da po-lice” and all that, but personally I’d rather not ruin what I have built up over months and years, through a brief moment of greed, impatience and naïve stupidity. And even IF you get away with it, what have you achieved? Figures sky rocket one day, then plummet the next. And goodbye $7 (or $20) Whoop-whoop! You see, young Rhazel was almost certainly not who you thought she was. In fact, that image might not even have been anything more than A.I. She is a they. You’re not in the mo-ney. THEY are.
This whole “pay to play” thing should have stopped at the door of the gaming arcade. But it’s still as tempting as “GAME OVER. INSERT COIN”. Hence why it goes on and on. They’ve turned us into addicts. Even if we’re clean, the temptation lives on ad finitum. Once an addict, always an artist. We crave attention. LISTEN TO MY EFFING MUSIC, GOD DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!! Sound like a sane person…? Nope. It sounds like you. And so we go on with the barrage of 500 emails to people and companies we've never heard of. The few replies you get are from people who “LOVE” your music, and who would be “DELIGHTED” to write about you - if you send $30 to “this” PayPal address. And when you ask them to justify the fee, they get all confrontational and mention things like overheads. OVERHEADS!!! Like for the heating in your own home, where you’re lounging right now…?? Bastards. Then you push them further, and they suddenly switch to overly gushing and apologetic, stating that “unfortunately” it is mainly due to the upkeep of the website. Yah. Sure. Because a cheap website costs THOUsands per year to “maintain”. Then they start the usual guff like “if it were up to me, I wouldn’t charge a penny. But a man’s gotta eat”… Wait a sec, you eat websites and overheads…? And so it goes on. If they ask you for money for a review, just politely decline or don’t reply at all. It is after all, basically a bribe.
All of this of course goes out of the window when talking about the Big Three. Of course, it’s okay when THEY do it… The Big Three can do anything they like. They are legal mafia. They run the joint, while allowing you to take the odd puff. Or sniff. They want something? They command and pay. And Spotify waggles its tail like a good little dog. A rich little dog. Rich for the wrong reasons. Posh plastic tunes for the masses, as the true peasant art goes unheard.
The New Artist Spotlight is one of the VERY few communities that does everything for zero pennies, because it is exactly that. A community. There is no stream farm. No review fees. No podcast for a tenner. Not a single penny is skimmed across our pond. Sure, this community will get you a nice regular batch of streams, but that is so far from the point of its existence. The NAS is all about the music. And the people. The artists behind the music. It celebrates and hails the great NASians, and warmly welcomes the newcomers with open arms, knowing full well that if they support other artists, they too will be celebrated, supported and loved. It is not a cult! I just realised it was sounding that way. We just simply all have one thing in common: our love and passion for music. This after all was what it was all about in the first place. The reason you picked up a guitar. Or a piano. Don’t try picking up a piano, or a paramedic will be picking YOU up.
So with all that being said, the founder of the New Artist Spotlight surprised us on Saturday morning with a brand new song. No fanfare. No pre-save begging. No tacky Instagram promo. Quite literally not even a mention. It was simply placed on the NAS playlists. I personally think that’s rather cool and classy. Maybe it was some sort of experiment to see how well it could do without promotion. Well, I have surely screwed THAT up!! But I’m happy to do so. And finally, here is Ed Eagle, with #StopPayola. A name that might seem rather familiar to many of you, as we have been using it as a hashtag for quite some time now on our social platforms. The thing is, we’ve got to spread this to be not so much an opinion, as a fact. Payola (as it has come to be known) is wrong, bad, harmful and illegal. And it must, stop, now. Ed has always known the power of song, and realised he could use it to his advantage. He doesn’t do love songs. He CAN’T, apparently. Or can’t bring himself to. He’s more of a “fight the power” kinda guy. So while the message is usually love, for most of us at least, we know about love. We get it. Love, love, love (bom bo-bom). But Ed uses song more as social comment. Or societal comment. You may or may not recognise a couple of NASian guest voices in the song, but #StopPayola is absolutely an Ed Eagle song. Like SOOO Ed Eagle. It has his charm, his wit, his wink, his oomph, his grit and his “get outta town and don’t even think of looking back”. Not to say Ed is a mean man. Quite the opposite. He could be making a small fortune from the NAS, but doesn’t make a single penny from it. For all the right reasons. Any money that IS generated through various things affiliated with the NAS, goes straight back into the community for such things as this very website. Let’s call it upkeep. Or overheads. But it certainly isn’t for Ed’s cheeseburger. And you personally won’t be paying a penny for any of it (what a pleasing rhyme). This song really shows where Ed’s heart is. He basically wrote and recorded it for us. For all the struggling musicians in the world. In the vain hope that artists will realise that the best things in life are free. It’s just love and the New Artist Spotlight. Everything else costs. Ed wants you to save your pennies for that guitar you craved for so many years. Or that plugin that promises to sort everything with the click of button (spoiler alert: it won't). Or that mix you realise your song deserves. Or a new bicycle chain that doesn’t go K-KLUNK every half mile. It’s about morals. And that’s what Ed is all about. I won’t speak about the actual song itself, because I want you to press play. A surprise, just like how Ed wanted it. I will say one thing though: it will make you smile.
Tell me in the comments below, about the most absurd or hilarious transaction or conversation you’ve had with one of these conning sharks. I know you all have stories…
There’s one thing we can say to these thieving pirates all over the internet: “GAME OVER”.
And as for all you desperately tempted artists throwing dollar bills away like they’re germs, I will quote The Supremes: “Stop, in the name of love”. Happy Valentine's Day!
Listen to #𝙎𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙋𝙖𝙮𝙤𝙡𝙖 on the Connolly’s Corner Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to #𝙎𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙋𝙖𝙮𝙤𝙡𝙖 on the Connolly’s Corner Apple Music playlist HERE!
Follow 𝙀𝙙 𝙀𝙖𝙜𝙡𝙚 on Instagram HERE!
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