Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Steve Albini's bands Shellac and Big Black return to Spotify & other streaming services

Steve Albini, who died last week, was not a fan of Spotify or streaming services in general. His band Shellac used to be on most streaming services but their music was pulled off Spotify in early 2022 and as of yesterday none of their music had been available anywhere but Bandcamp. Multiple times in the last two years Albini has written on X/Twitter, “Spotify is an awful company and we don’t want to be part of their business.”

But today (5/17), the same day as Shellac’s presumably final album, To All Trains, was released, Shellac’s music is now back on Spotify and other services. (So is Big Black’s.) Before you start imagining nefarious plots, this had already been the plan. In a feature on The Wire titled “‘I wanted it to be for keeps’: an oral history of Shellac” published in April, Albini and his bandmates Bob Weston and Todd Trainer said so:

Todd Trainer: But it will be available on streaming services.

BW: It will be available everywhere on the same date. Streaming, CDs and LPs. It’s just that we don’t send anything out to the press. We don’t give free copies away to anyone except our friends.

SA: Yeah, there’s also kind of a marketing strategy which is another capitalist notion that we’re just not participating in where you release it in certain formats or certain outlets and give certain streaming services the material and then it starts a word of mouth buzz and then there’s a street date and then you have a fucking team putting up stickers in the stores and shit, like, we just don’t do any of that.

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