letter seven



This is where
The address would go
In a real

13 April 2022

Dear pals,

This is a little off-topic, but Placebo put out a new record recently, following a very strong return to form with an EP that was either their first in a long while, or the first that made it onto my radar.

The new album is really good. It's almost certainly something of a nostalgia trip, but I've been really enjoying it. I'm now listening to their 2000(!) album Black Market Music, which I fondly remember coming out and being very excited about. It still sounds good today. Big and lush, and with subversive lyrics and themes. Just like the new album, satisfyijngly.

I've written before (and thought much more) about how one should enjoy music these days. What formats, platforms and processes. Crucially: how best to remunerate an artist. Some bands are small enough that buying something directly off them via Bandcamp makes sense as they'll see those pennies come straight into their account (particularly when purchased on 'Bandcamp Friday').

But for bigger acts, what's the next step up? Any music I don't buy on Bandcamp I consume on Spotify. That's a problematic platform but it's become the way I listen to music, and it's come massively to the exclusion of my actually buying much music. There are a handful of releases I pick up on Bandcamp, but they're in a tiny minority. Everything else is Spotify.

At a band like Placebo's level, is this suitable? They're a band I'm so glad exist, and especially that they can still exist. Is the band rich enough to retire early and just record music when they want to? Maybe. But probably not. So how are they best supported. Buying tickets? Merch? Vinyl purchases surely don't give them a heck of a lot of income as the format itself is so expensive. And yet they're surely bigger than a Kickstarter or a Bandcamp purchase. (I haven't checked, but by and large, 'big' releases aren't on Bandcamp, presumably as it would just mean having to employ an intern to run that one, specific, niche way of selling their music.)

So I'm not sure. What else can I offer? My support? I'll excitedly tell my friends about the new Placebo record and then... What? They go on and buy something, or play some streams on Spotify, or maybe go and see them on tour?

It's late on a long day. I don't have the answers. I just wanted to jot down some slightly frustrated thoughts... While at the same time rejoicing that Placebo, in the year of our lord 2022, have new music out - and it sounds great.

Yours with black painted nails,