Opinion

Will There Be a Third Verve Reunion?

If you count the band's temporary disintegration in 1995, and the 2007 comeback, we're due for a third reunion by The Verve. Given that the return of Richard Ashcroft yielded a good but not great album that did not set the charts on fire, this news seems to be a pretty good indication that the band will come together yet again:

On September 9th UMC release expanded editions of The Verve’s seminal first two albums A STORM IN HEAVEN and A NORTHERN SOUL.

Both remastered by Chris Potter (co-producer of the band’s Urban Hymns) at Metropolis studios, the albums feature previously unreleased and never-heard-before tracks, E.P. and B-sides material and BBC sessions.

Both albums are presented as 3CD box sets (A Storm In Heaven also contains a bonus DVD) and both come with booklets featuring new interviews and previously unseen photos. Limited edition vinyl versions will also be released in faithful reproductions of the original packaging.

The reissue of their masterpiece, Urban Hymns, should follow shortly. In 2017, that album turns the magical age of twenty in September of that year. Having sold over ten million copies, there's a lot of incentive to give it a real celebration. If they went on a short tour of England and Europe, and played the whole thing live, it would be a huge event.

UPDATE: I went and retrieved this from the archives because it strikes me as being both possible and impossible that the Verve might get back together. I thought for certain that there would be a commemoration of Urban Hymns, but nothing came of it.

To be fair, the last two Richard Ashcroft solo albums have not set the world on fire in terms of sales or impact. At some point, the dam has to break.

Streaming Music is Still a Form of Piracy

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This is a really smart move on behalf of streaming music companies--ensure that the general public is convinced that what they are doing is NOT stealing music when they admit that that's what they used to do:

The number of Britons illegally downloading music has fallen, a new study has found. 

Conducted by YouGov, the report revealed that streaming has steadied the number of people pirating music as more affordable options for consuming music have become available in recent years.

One in ten Britons said they download music illegally – an 18 percent drop from five years ago. That number should become even lower, too, as 22 percent of people who said they illegally download music said they don’t expect to still be doing it in another five years time. 

Using unverified sources such as file sharing sites and torrents to illegally download music is becoming more difficult, according to 36 percent of those who pirate music in Britain. Surveyed participants added that the rise of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music had helped them stop illegally downloading music by making it easier than pirating, offering fair pricing and “fill[ing] the vacuum” with new releases and old songs. 

People who said they still accessed music illegally also explained why they continued to do so. Over half of the group (51 percent) said it was frustrating when music is released exclusively on one platform, like Beyoncé and Jay-Z releasing their joint album ‘Everything Is Love’ only on Tidal at first. Meanwhile, 44 percent of responders said they only illegally downloaded music when they couldn’t find it anywhere else. 

In a press release, YouGov’s Associate Director Justin Marshall said: “While illegal downloads still present a significant challenge to the music industry, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Our research reveals a change in behaviour, with those that previously attained music by unlawful means now being enticed by the low costs and ease of use associated with streaming.

 

The technology has caught up to the immediate needs of the people who consume music--they want everything right now, and they're willing to pay a small fee for it, even though they know they can just download it, organize it, store it, and retrieve it for themselves. What this amounts to is laziness on the part of the consumers responding to this survey--it's easier to "stream" it than it is to "pirate" it becomes a new mantra.

Never mind that this is just another clever dodge.

Never mind that, even if you're paying for a streaming service, the vast majority of the people making listenable music aren't getting paid. The streaming services themselves are sitting on the cash, using it to keep themselves in business, while an understaffed or non-existent compliance department somehow forgets to send the checks to the artists whose music is being used to keep them viable.

Never mind that a select handful of people at the top of the music industry on the commercial side are reaping most of the financial benefits that an artist currently without a major deal could never receive from any streaming service.

Are you an artist who made music twenty or thirty years ago? The chances are, people are still listening to your music and you're getting paid--maybe twenty bucks this year, maybe fifty bucks a couple of years ago, if that. 

This is all a scam, and artists are still being ripped off. Even though streaming is pushing out illegal downloading, you can be rest assured that there are countless artists out there who made great music that are never going to see the earnings they deserve.