Merzbow Inspires Podcast Reflections
A new underground music podcast has set itself a mighty challenge: to listen to and discuss one-by-one the albums of Japanese noise godfather Merzbow. Each episode of Merzcast sees Greh Holger of Chondritic Sound and another musician or noise fan sit down together to absorb a particular album by Masami Akita and reflect on it afterwards. […]
The podcast episodes are lengthy and detailed, with the contributors breaking down the album track by track, dropping thoughts on equipment, effects, track titles and more. Pictures posted online show sheets of paper with notes on each track written during the listening sessions …
I love the idea of this podcast. Merzbow is a tough swallow for most and it might be a challenge to keep the podcast fresh over hundreds of brutal noise releases. I’ll check out at least a couple of episodes and am curious how it’ll shake out.
I’m intrigued by the idea of a podcast diving into a singular sonic oeuvre. I’m sure something like this has been done before but I think there are unexplored ways to combine the album-listening experience with the podcast format. Of course, there are music clearance issues to consider. But the podcast doesn’t have to actually contain the music. How about a podcast host telling the listener when to start an album at home, and then the discussion is edited to coincide with songs as they play in real time?
Spotify’s Podcast Ambitions Are Clear
Not only has Spotify acquired Gimlet Media, a podcast producer and network, for around $230 million but it has also bought Anchor, a startup that makes it easier for people to record and distribute their own podcasts.
The company says it isn’t done — it says it has other podcast acquisitions in mind, and that it expects to spend up to $500 million on deals this year.
Spotify is taking the Netflix model, in short. As the company grows, it’s inevitable that established record labels will start charging higher licensing fees. Podcasts, however, is something that Spotify can buy and own as exclusive content. If it green-lights the right shows, it could pull users away from third-party podcast apps and then slowly persuade them to take out a premium subscription. Anchor, too, gives Spotify the potential to rapidly build a YouTube-style distribution network.
The Gimlet Media deal is a glimpse of where Spotify is headed, but, coupled with the Anchor acquisition, we’re seeing the platform’s transformation into a different kind of company. As Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek
Per the fiscal 2017 filing, SoundCloud has taken “significant steps to improve its financial health,” including renegotiating certain rightsholder contracts, retiring outstanding debt and cutting major operating expenses, and it achieved positive operating cash flow in 2018.
While its 2018 results will not be available until later this year, SoundCloud says it has surpassed its 2018 growth plan and remains focused on two major ideas: expanding its creator business with a suite of useful artist tools and offering a unique listening experience for its “young, trendsetting, global music fans.” The latter will be increasingly tough as Spotify, Apple Music and other big streaming services solidify their place as market leaders, but the former — a focus on music creation — is something in which SoundCloud remains unsurpassed.
SoundCloud is a popular subject on this blog and, yes, there was a time when we contemplated the service’s possible demise. It’s astonishing that SoundCloud once made a go at Spotify and Apple Music, and the ensuing failure was arguably the direct result of an overreach to attract a mass audience.
I’d say ‘SoundCloud rap’ saved the platform’s bacon. This phenomenon was bubbling hard during the depths of SoundCloud’s financial woes and surely pointed the way out: by doubling down on a core user-base of