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  • (electronic music)

  • - I was never intentionally really thinking about,

  • I wanna break the system.

  • Like I just, for me it's just like,

  • I was feeling very creative

  • and wanted to release my music rapidly

  • and when I wanted.

  • Without streaming it would be so difficult

  • to be able to do that.

  • - [Female Narrator] We all know streaming

  • is changing the way we listen to music

  • but it's also changing how artists release music.

  • Charli XCX is a singer and songwriter,

  • known for hits like Boom Clap,

  • ("Boom, clap").

  • Boys,

  • ("I was busy dreaming about boys".)

  • and "1999" with Troye Sivan.

  • ("I just wanna go back, back to 1999").

  • She's known to release music however and whenever she wants.

  • Often with little warning.

  • Which would've been unthinkable before streaming.

  • Now artist can instantly put their music online

  • but this also means they have to find ways

  • to stand out among the millions of songs at our fingertips.

  • As a result,

  • the idea of what an album is has completely changed.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - I wanna release music when I feel like it

  • and how I want to.

  • And I find that particularly major labels,

  • who have like a very like strict structure

  • of how they want artist to release music.

  • That just doesn't really work for me.

  • And I don't think, especially now,

  • it doesn't really work for my fans.

  • - What do you mean by that?

  • - Well, I think fans are hungry for content

  • and for music from their favorite artists.

  • And there's so much out there at the moment, you know?

  • They can get whatever they want all the time.

  • So it's very, everything's very like rapidly digested

  • and people want more.

  • So, yeah everything moves so much quicker now.

  • - But first, let's take a step back.

  • Technology has always dictated how artist release music.

  • The flat record was commercialized in the 1890's

  • and for decades, singles were popular

  • because early kinds of records could only hold about

  • three minutes of audio.

  • Around the 1950's, the LP was introduced

  • Which could hold up to 52 minutes of audio

  • and the album, as we know it was born.

  • The traditional album lasted for decades,

  • continuing with the cassette and then the CD,

  • all the way until the 2000's,

  • when digital services like iTunes popped up.

  • This let people pick and choose

  • what songs they wanted to buy from albums,

  • ushering the singles market back.

  • Now, with the rise of streaming services,

  • how artists release music,

  • whether it's singles, mixed tapes, or albums,

  • has dramatically changed once again.

  • (relaxed music)

  • - Traditional album cycle is,

  • you put out a single,

  • maybe a second single,

  • if you're crazy you'll put a third single out

  • before an album comes out.

  • As a way of sort of teasing

  • the larger product that is to arrive.

  • - What are you seeing now that's different from that?

  • - I think the best way of putting it would be that sort of

  • waterfall method, where artist are putting out single,

  • single, more singles, and maybe a single every month,

  • that maybe would lead into an EP or an album

  • and sometimes it will take years.

  • - And this waterfall strategy is used by tons of big artists

  • like The Chain Smokers, Bebe Rexha and Billie Eilish.

  • - I've heard that term for like three or four years now

  • and its like whenever I go to a meeting with my label

  • and they'd be like,

  • yeah you know we've been thinking about this new strategy

  • its called the waterfall strategy.

  • You drop one song and then three months later

  • you drop another one and then three months later

  • you drop another one and that's the waterfall.

  • I'm like wow okay, every body got paid today great.

  • (laughing) Like its just,

  • its just, that's just dropping songs.

  • - What is the difference to you

  • between a mix tape and an album?

  • - Literally nothing (laughing)

  • the ones recently that I did

  • like "Number 1 Angel" and "Pop 2"

  • I called them mixed tapes

  • because then my label felt more relaxed about them.

  • Because I think for a major label,

  • we're making an album, then we're putting it out

  • there's expectations like we want it to hit this, this, this

  • like blah, blah, blah whatever.

  • And so like for me the mix tape thing like,

  • I just wanted to like bang bang

  • like two albums in one year, like lets go.

  • - [Zane Lowe] Artists are putting out

  • more and more individual songs because you can.

  • You don't have to wait around anymore,

  • get into a cue, wait for a record label

  • or some company to tell you its your turn up to bat.

  • I think you're seeing younger artists coming up

  • who were raised in a free space

  • using things like Sound Cloud to a degree,

  • watching iTunes democratize the release of songs

  • and now looking at streaming services and go well,

  • I can fill this with as much or as little music

  • as I want and I just want to be creative all the time.

  • I don't necessarily want to wait.

  • - [Female Narrator] Charli has a new album

  • and in the five months leading up to it

  • released the four stand alone singles;

  • "Flash Pose", "XXXTC", "Spicy" and "Dream Glow".

  • As well as six songs from the album

  • including the hit "Blame It On Your Love".

  • Which roughly breaks down to a single every twelve days.

  • (techno music)

  • - I think streaming really lends itself

  • to artists being artists,

  • streaming is determined by the user right

  • the person using the platform

  • so they can click on Billie Eilish

  • and stream her as much as possible

  • and they can also like go to her Instagram account

  • and like work out pretty quickly

  • that she's like a very unique and cool person

  • and its driven by like the kids

  • and the people who are listening to her music.

  • Which I think is really good for pop music and for culture

  • because its not like a bunch of like white males

  • at radio stations and record labels deciding

  • like what the general public should listen too.

  • - The boundary between

  • can people get my work could not be lower right?

  • Its at the lowest point in history.

  • We could make a track right now

  • and we could go put it on the internet

  • we could get it on Spotify almost immediately,

  • that's not the problem, the problem is

  • how do you get peoples attention once its out there?

  • How am I going to be noticed in that crowd

  • of music that's being released every single Friday?

  • There's like this tension

  • between the business of music and the artistry of music.

  • There's I think also a lot of people crying wolf

  • of like music is over

  • because of this new streaming economy,

  • songs are only going to be

  • one minute and twenty five seconds long,

  • they're not going to be meaningful.

  • But the thing about attention

  • is that people get bored of fads,

  • they get get bored of things that are just pure tricks.

  • You ultimately have to

  • grab someones attention and sustain it.

  • - How do you think streaming

  • has changed the way people write music?

  • - Oh extensively.

  • I've heard from multiple song writers

  • that they are actually thinking about

  • the song structure differently

  • because of how they are going to get paid

  • via song streaming.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - [Female Narrator] Which means,

  • streaming isn't just changing the album,

  • its changing songs.

  • - [Charlie] Like if its not for me

  • and if I'm writing like a song

  • that is for another big pop artist,

  • that's where I get really into my commercial zone.

  • So I want to play all the games

  • and I want this song to be huge,

  • be the perfect little package that will make it

  • as most maximally appealing to every body.

  • - So what are some of those tricks that you use

  • to make sure that the skip rate is as low as possible?

  • - Like chords within the first thirty seconds,

  • no like weird like self indulgent intro

  • which basically are on all the songs I put on my album.

  • Hook at the top, in the intro,

  • maybe even start with the chorus.

  • I think that radio songs should be like two minutes twenty,

  • like get in and get out

  • like everybody just get on with your life.

  • - So you just try to front load

  • as many of the catchy bits as possible?

  • - I think so.

  • The formula and tricks I think are used

  • and paid attention too so much in the streaming climate

  • because its all about like making sure

  • the person doesn't change the song.

  • Now its like all about like did you like grab them

  • in that first five seconds.

  • - Do you think that what you're doing

  • represents more what people will be doing in the future?

  • - I kind of think its the norm now,

  • I mean like Ariana Grande is one of the most

  • huge artists in the world

  • and to me it at least

  • it felt like she is like doing what she wants.

  • She just like put out an album

  • and then like straight away dropped like "Thank You, Next"

  • and I think that's happening a lot more now.

  • I think the new landscape really

  • like lends itself to artists who are unique

  • and have a different language

  • and a very specific vision

  • in that sense I think streaming is good

  • because it just opens everything up

  • and every thing becomes much more cross pollinated

  • and there's for so many you know genres

  • and its not about radio which is great

  • and so I think that's a good thing,

  • I think that's great.

  • (electronic music)

  • - [Female Narrator] Thanks for watching

  • this video is brought to you by

  • "Loft Hotels" different by design.

  • For more videos like this,

  • like and subscribe.

  • Before we talk about anything else,

  • one thing that I'm dying to know about

  • is why you call yourself Charlie XCX.

  • - It was just my MSN screen name when I was younger

  • and then I would just make MP3's and put them on MySpace

  • and I didn't have a stage name

  • so I just panicked and used my MSN screen name and

  • - [Woman With Pink Hair] The rest is history.

  • - The rest is history yeah.

  • - God you're such a child of the internet.

  • - Yeah (laughing)

  • - An MSN screen name and then putting it up on MySpace.

(electronic music)

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A2 music album streaming release female narrator waterfall

Charli XCX interview: how artists optimize for streaming

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/26