The single copy of the album, Vegetal Digital, is on sale from today at Empire Records in their hometown. But why are they selling it for such a hefty price? And will they be able to shift it for the hearty sum of a cool million quid?
The band seem pretty confident about the sale – not least because of the item’s rarity (although that is a tough pitch, given the band isn’t entirely among the crème de la crème of musical outfits). They have a cause designed not just to highlight but actively challenge the usual pittance paid by influential music streaming platforms like Spotify.
That’s because they’d use the £1 million to fund a new streaming platform, Nubplay, which would pay artists 1p per stream – that’s around 50 times the amount Spotify currently pays.
Our latest LP 1 copy on vinyl £1 million – funds to be used to create ethical streaming service pays 1p per stream (50 times Spotify)#streaming #spotify #brokenrecord #music #indie #thepocketgods@nme @IndyArts @guardian pic.twitter.com/d0UVP17HNW
— The Pocket Gods/Mark Christopher Lee (@thepocketgod) September 27, 2022
The Pocket Gods are no strangers to novelty when releasing their music. Just last year, the band put out a 1,000-track album, with each track being 30 seconds in length, in protest at the fact Spotify’s model means a stream of a song is activated once a track has been played for that period. This means the album, titled 1000×30 Nobody Makes Money Anymore, does indeed classify as a thousand tracks.
The stunt wasn’t just aimed at the method of royalties, but at the fact that this system may itself be inadvertently altering how music is composed, making some artists consider how they capture their listeners within the opening moments of a track rather than have a fully rounded, more artistic song.
The Pocket Gods, led by frontman Mark Christopher Lee, were inspired by an article by New York-based pop professor and songwriter Mike Errico, which argued we could see the end of the three-minute pop song.
And now, for their next trick, the band are hoping to take their anti-streaming platform protest a stage further. But just who will pay £1 million for their record? Especially when, let’s face it, they’re hardly a recognisable name.
“Someone who’s got lots of money and wants to do something good with it,” Lee told Sky News.
“It’s a crazy world we’re getting into… but we’re making a stand. We want to make a better future for artists and songwriters. We talk a good game, but actions speak louder than words, which is what we will do.”
You might not know them musically, but credit where it’s due for a bit of ingenuity.