Late to the Party

I’m not sure if I’m late to the party on this one or not, the pandemic/end of days that started in March 2020 has had long running knock on effects. Some of these are still working themselves out. Others have irreparably changed life as we know it. Add to this, a heady mixture of political fuckery, wars, Brexit (file under ‘political fuckery’), big boats getting wedged in big canals and many other pieces of detritus nonsense people have endured, it’s good to be coming back swinging.

The start of 2020 saw Morass of Molasses, Meursault, Juniper Grave, Deaf Mountain, Old Man Lizard and the seemingly unstoppable DVNE have to pull tours. And that’s just from our own humble roster.

It’s been well documented that the pandemic (and all the rest), has impacted not just music, but the arts in general. Vinyl pressing turnaround has been in the toilet since mid 2020 and is only just recovering. Many artists have had to down tools and refocus their energies to put food on the table. Touring costs and visa requirements are prohibiting a great deal of artists and acts from taking to the road, and it seems that buying a gig ticket now comes with the added ritual of crossed fingers.

As things have slowly been returning to some kind of alternative reality version of normality, it’s not all been doom and gloom. Sales of recorded music seem to be up, record stores are thriving again thanks to renewed interest from the ‘working from home’ crowd. The public in general seem a great deal more aware of what goes into making music, not just in financial terms with costs and renumeration, but the life sacrifices that go with it. From my limited experience, gig attendance seems to be up, and there is still a slew of new music making its way into peoples ears.

Tom Grey’s #brokenrecord campaign for writers’ royalties has been speeding up, and the UK government’s DCMS Streaming Enquiry, while not really achieving much (so far), has certainly raised the profile of artist renumeration and changed how a good number of labels (even majors!!) are paying royalties.

So what’s next? By the time I hit ‘publish’ on this blog, there will no doubt be some kind of new shit show to deal with, but there’s no time for that. There are test pessings on their way to our office, there are records in stores and more on the way to our distributors, bands are back playing live, writers are writing, drummers are drumming. Life is (relatively) good. Long may it continue!

Toni Martone

Toni Martone