Here’s this week’s Essential stories and the best new music we’ve heard this week (that haven’t already featured on the blog). Click the jump to see the 10 articles, then on the next page are some new videos by the likes of M83, a new track from the Weeknd, the return of Girls’ Christopher Owens, and a two-hour documentary on Miles Davis.

It’s the new album from Windings, which is out now via Out On A Limb. It’s very good. Don’t believe me? Read this.


French Music Streaming Service Is Taking On the World, but Omitting America
Deezer, which started in 2007, has just moved into a slick new headquarters, where employees conduct business meetings on lawn chairs and on sofas disguised as musical keyboards. “Paint it black,” reads a neon sign on the somber-toned wall behind Mr. Dauchez. Like the Rolling Stones, Deezer is on a mission to blot out the color red — in this case, from the ailing music industry’s ledgers.

Lower Dens on Spotify and music consumption
Music shouldn’t be free. It shouldn’t even be cheap. If you consume all the music you want all the time, compulsively, sweatily, you end up having a cheap relationship to the music you do listen to. In turn, this kind of market makes for musicians who are writing with the burden of having to get your attention, instead of writing whatever they’d write if they were just following artistic impulses. It’s increasingly difficult and un-rewarding to write music that is considered, patient, and simple* when the market increasingly demands music that is easy, thoughtless, and careless.

“We think of ourselves in terms of what we’re doing, as opposed to who we are” – DiS talks to Sparks
When we first started off, the only contrarian aspect was we didn’t want to be American. We wanted to be sort of mainstream British. But then I guess a slight failure to become really that kind of led to the direction of what we’ve done. But now I think there is a certain element of not wanting to fit in with things, just because there’s not anything interesting from our perspective that we want to fit into. We’re sort of automatically contrarian.

Why Remix Culture Needs New Copyright Laws
Those who — like Girl Talk and Danger Mouse — have already achieved some degree of notoriety in the media are actually much less likely to be sued. There are two reasons for this: first, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has made it clear they’re eager to litigate fair use cases, and second, the negative press associated with suing them outweighs the benefits of the potential licensing fees.

What happens when your music is free for a day?
To me it seems like everyone involved came out happy. There were really no costs to me for doing this experiment, rather the gains were huge. And my listeners were not taken advantage of. One final statistic and maybe a slight cost to me is that my paid download percentage went down from an average of 22% to 8%. But given everything else that happened this doesn’t bother me at all… Hopefully one thing this does is show you the value of experimentation. You’ve got to try some things to see what your fanbase will respond to. You’ve got to learn about them just like they’ve learned about you.

Can The “Musical Middle Class” Be Saved?
When I was an artist, it was harder and harder for me every year to make a living. We’d break our backs filling up our van going from town to town in the hopes of sparking a fan base or having the right manager see you. But the musical middle class, for me, are the people who make a living off their music, who pay their bills, are able to get benefits, and continue to grow as an artist. And if we can contribute to that in any way at all, I’m happy.

Why No One Knows How Much Money Musicians Are Making Now
Let’s break streaming down into two camps, based on how they pay the copyright holders of the sound recording, since music composition is its own, separate copyright: 1) satellite radio and Internet radio (“non-interactive” streaming) and 2) interactive streaming. In the first group are services like Sirius XM, Pandora and Muzak, and in the second are interactive streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and MOG. The biggest difference between the two groups is that the first group pays royalty rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) every five years, while the interactive streaming services negotiate privately with each copyright owner to set their rates.

The current fad for streaming entire albums online before their official release doesn’t make obvious sense. So why so so many labels, especially independents, doing it?
streaming services are competing against the pirates, rather than against legitimate sales. By the same logic, a pre-release stream can be a way of stopping fans from downloading an album illegally when it leaks online before its release date.

How Sublime Got Me Through A Nightmarish High School Experience
To a kid who’s heard no reggae and no ska in their entire lifetime, and has only furtively absorbed hip-hop, Sublime can sound pretty damn good. (By the same token, a person crawling through a desert will drink stagnant pond water like a gift from the gods.) The songs had warm, immediate melodies, and Nowell’s voice had a beery soulfulness in it that felt new to me. I was excited. I was an idiot. I didn’t tell anyone at all.

Sasha Grey: Music is just like the porn industry
“It’s just like the music industry – it’s fucked now, no pun intended. It’s the wild west.” At the same time, “it’s become an American dream – for a lot of girls, it’s their day job, or night job, to pay their bills and get to college.”