Category Archives: Record Labels

Electronic Labels on Spotify: Search New Releases (2013)

Here’s an interactive list of my favorite electronic record labels with music on Spotify. Click a link to start a new search on Spotify: it’s a quick and easy way to check what the label has released so far in 2013!


Synthpop / Electropop

Coldwave and Minimal Synth

Industrial, EBM, Futurepop

Discotronic / Radiophonic

Psychedelic/Progressive Trance, Psybient


Moog Liberation image from the Electricty Club’s excellent Synths & Electronic Music Devices We Like photostream.

The Seven Types of Artist on Spotify

Spotify is now over three years old but the debate rages on in some quarters about whether it’s a “good thing” for artists to have their music available for streaming. Has is moved enough music fans from illegal torrent sites? Does it cannibalize physical and download sales? Do the marketing and promotional benefits outweigh any potential loss of sales? Over what period of time should album profits now be measured? Each record label has come up with what it thinks is the best strategy to answer these questions. Most now license all of their content to Spotify and the other streaming services, but some labels and artists are still testing the waters and trying out different approaches. So here is a list of the Seven Types of Artist on Spotify (or more accurately, the six types on Spotify plus the dodos).


The Eternalists

Most musical artists are Eternalists: their music lives forever and is permanently available on streaming services from the day of release. This earns the artists, their labels and publishers revenue on a daily basis, long after a song or album’s initial release. Pioneering indie record labels such as Alfa Matrix, DC Recordings, and Electric Fantastic Sound embraced the streaming model from the very beginning. Their continued existence and profitability are a shining example to the Sulksters and Aged Aloof (see below).

Some Eternalists probably didn’t even know they’re on Spotify: when I spoke with Visage’s Rusty Egan a few months ago, he didn’t realize his fans could listen to his music on Spotify (and more importantly, generate revenue for him some 30 years after his band had split up). And you’ll find many “iTunes Exclusive” releases in Spotify, perhaps proof that there were often just “Digital Yes/No?” tickboxes for artists to agree to, rather than a specific breakdown of service.

The vast majority of Spotify’s catalog is permanent and expanding at a phenomenal rate. They’re close to 19 million songs now, almost double the catalog size from a year ago. This is due to the vast majority of bands and record labels who see the benefits of being – and staying – available on Spotify.


The Late Arrivals

Some artists and labels delay new releases as a strategy to force fans who just can’t wait to buy the album on download or CD. The belief is that this strategy will provide a higher instant return compared with releasing on all channels.

For example, a big fuss was made about Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto album being absent from Spotify when it was released, despite all the other Coldplay albums being on there. Music and tech press hyperbole proclaimed that Coldplay were yet another high-profile act to shun streaming services, but in fact it was all just a staggered release tactic on the part of the record label. Music industry expert Mark Mulligan believes release windows could be the cure for the access vs ownership debate. Read his thoughts on

Another special case of the Late Arrival is when Spotify strikes a deal to host exclusive pre-releases. For example, albums from First Aid Kit, Tribes, World Routes and Enter Shikari were all recent “Spotify Exclusives” in the UK. This makes them effectively late arrivals to all other platforms, including iTunes. This enables Spotify to continue to proclaim “exclusive content” as a feature incentive for users to upgrade and subscribe to Spotify Premium.


The Teasers

Teasers are artists who release sampler versions of a new album as an enticement for you to go and buy the full download or CD. These samplers usually have 5 or 6 songs from the new album as a “try before you buy” incentive. For example, Adele, David Guetta, and Tinie Tempah have all teased with album samplers on Spotify.

Slight variations on the Teaser theme are cut-down versions of new albums released to Spotify as an “Exclusive Spotify Sampler” as well the occasional “Exclusive Session” of live songs. One of the first artists to try this approach was UK synthpop act La Roux, who released a 3-track Spotify Live Session of songs from her (then forthcoming) album. Ironically the full album was pulled from Spotify about a week after release.

Most sample albums are superseded by the full version of the album some months after initial release however. The original sample version is usually left there in memoriam.


The Hokey Pokeyists

(or “Hokey Cokeyists” for UK readers!)

Hokey Pokeyists are artists who temporarily remove their entire back-catalog due to a new album release or special event. For example, Paul McCartney recently pulled all his albums from Spotify US because he had a new album coming out and some gig lined up with Apple iTunes. As with the Coldplay story, the tech music press frothed at the mouth with claims that Sir Macca had done the math and decided he was permanently pulling the plug on streaming services, but it’s since been revealed that this removal was only temporary and his albums will be back on Spotify soon.

I’ve seen the hokey-pokey on Spotify time and again over the three years I’ve been using the service: content comes and goes then comes back again as the artists either move labels, renegotiate contracts, or just decide to temporarily pull their back-catalog in the hope that promotion of a new release will also persuade fans to impulse-buy older albums.


The Sulksters

Sulksters are labels and artists who suddenly decide to permanently remove their previously-available content from Spotify. Sometimes this is done very quietly (for example, John Lennon’s entire catalog was removed only a few months after it had been added) but the recent trend is to make a big fuss about it. Electronic music distributors ST Holdings yanked all content from the 200-odd labels they represent back in November 2011. They publically accused Spotify of ripping off indie artists, citing as evidence a misinterpreted and oft trundled-out claim from 2009 that “Lady Gaga Only Made A Few Dollars From Spotify After a Million Plays!” That claim has been debunked countless times – did they really think that someone with the business nous of Lady Gaga would continue to allow her content on Spotify if it wasn’t profitable? Here in 2012, all her albums remain on Spotify.

In perhaps an embarrassing climb down, ST Holdings now have a statement on their website saying “We’re working with some streaming companies on solutions that work as well for artists as they do consumers.”


The Nation Statists

Nation Statists are artists whose content is available in some countries but not in others. For example, Rammstein and Oasis are both absent from Spotify UK but are available through the service in other countries.  This might lead you to think that your favorite band doesn’t let you listen to them on Spotify because they particularly dislike your country, but this is probably not the case. Territorial restrictions are a hang-over from the olden days, when bands would have different record labels in different countries to help them maximize their return and earn more money across all territories (or something like that; I never did quite understand territorial restrictions). Since not all labels are on Spotify yet, this means that some artists can only be heard in some countries.

There’s growing evidence that delayed international releases drive illegal downloading, at least for movies, so we’ll hopefully begin to see the move towards global album release dates with no discrimination just because of the nation you happen to live in.


The Aged Aloof

The Aged Aloof are usually established, older rock bands who want nothing to do with “that modern streaming stuff.” These denialists have large existing fanbases, many of whom would automatically buy the new CD/download anyway, so the belief is that it’s not profitable to have their music on a music service that has over ten million active listeners. Example bands include Pink Floyd, The Beatles, AC/DC, and of course multi-millionaire luddites Metallica. Ironically of course, most music fans with an interest in these Rock & Roll masters are likely to return to the torrent sites when they find them AWOL from Spotify.

But even these Aged Aloof sometimes eventually come into the stream: here’s to you Mr. Zimmerman! Welcome aboard, Arcade Fire! We hope you enjoy your new revenue stream…


PIAS-distributed labels on Spotify

UK independent music distributor [PIAS] suffered a massive blow when their warehouse was destroyed by lunatics during the London Riots. My favorite band The Human League are on Wall of Sound records, whose stock was among those that went up in smoke.

PIAS have been great supporters of Spotify, making all their content available for you to listen to. If you put on some music this weekend, give some of the PIAS-distributed artists a go, as this will give them a little bit of a payment for each track you listen to.


From the [PIAS] website:

[PIAS] have been overwhelmed by the support received since news broke that the warehouse we used for our artists and labels physical stock was burnt down during the London Riots. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for music fans to discover and rediscover the great music that went up in smoke and to share that music with their friends. Below is a list of the [PIAS] labels that had stock destroyed in the fire. If you click on any label name, you will be taken to their catalogue on Spotify.
We would love to see as many playlists featuring tracks from these labels as possible. If you send your finished playlists to and we will feature the best of them on the [PIAS] website, Facebook pages and on


[PIAS] Recordings
Absynthe Minded
Air Recordings
ALC Music
Ambush Reality
Angular Recording Corporation
Arcady Records
Ark Recordings
Atlantic Jaxx Recordings
Bad Magic
Balling The Jack
Banquet Records
Battered Ornaments Records
Beggars Banquet
Best Before
Big Brother
Big Dada
Bird Records
Bloody Chamber
Blowout Music
Border Community
Borstal Beats
Boysnoize Records
Bright Star Recordings
Broken Sound Music
Brothers and Sisters
Brownswood Recordings
Buzzin’ Fly’-Fly
Cache Cache
Cadenza Records
Celluloid Records
Chalkmark / IE
Chemikal Underground Records
Control Tower
Counter Records
Dance To The Radio
Dead Oceans
Dirtee Stank
Divine Comedy Records
Domino Records
Double Six Records
Drive Thru Records
Drowned In Sound
Dummy Records
Eat Sleep Records
Fabric Worldwide
Fatcat Records
Finders Keepers Records
Flock Music
Flying Circus
Freerange Records
Friends Vs Records
Full Time Hobby
Gang Of Four Recordings
Ghost Ship
Glaze Recordings
Groenland Records
Hardly Art
Hassle Records
Hem Hem Records
KMS Records / Fabric
Laughing Stock
Lex Records
Little Sister Recordings
LO-MAX Records
Loose Music
Lovepump United
Low Life Records
Lucky Number Music
Lucky Seven Records
Memphis Industries
Metric Music International
Metroline Limited
Model Citizen
Motion Audio
MyMajorLabel Ltd
Ninja Tune
No Quarter
Nusic Sounds
One Four Seven Records Ltd
One Little Indian
Peartree Records
People In The Sky
People Tree
Pirates Blend Records Inc
Planet Function
Play It Again Sam
Polyvinyl Records
Poseidon Records
Raw Canvas
Red Cord Records
Rekords Rekords
Reveal Records
Riverman Records
Rock Action Records
Roots Records
Rough Trade Records
Search and Destroy
Secretly Canadian
SideOneDummy Records
Silva Screen
Slam Dunk Records
Sonic Cathedral
South Paw
Southern Fried Records
Stereo Bang Media
Stolen Recordings
Stranger Records
Sub Pop
Sunday Best
Thrill Jockey
Too Pure
Torque Records
Touch & Go Records
Transmission Recordings
Tri Tone
Trouble Records
True Panther
Try Harder
Twisted Nerve Recordings
Universal Sound
Victory Records
Wall of Sound
We Love You
Willkommen Records Ltd
Xtra Mile Recordings
Young Turks



Warp Records on Spotify

British electronic music label Warp Records have recently been adding a large chunk of their back catalog to Spotify. Boards of Canada will be a welcome addition for many, but as a long-time fan of the label there are several other new additions from the Warp archive that I think are well worth checking out.

Boards of Canada – Geogaddi

Edinburgh’s finest IDM band Boards of Canada finally arrive on Spotify, with both Twoism and Geogaddi (for me their best album) now available. They’re sometimes a bit too ambient and IDM for my tastes, but they’re one of Warp’s biggest bands and a group who’s absence from Spotify was often lamented.



Broadcast – The Noise Made By People

Broadcast are one of my favourite bands and this is perhaps their finest album. Available now for the first time on Spotify, The Noise Made By People is psychedelic sixties electro that’s at turns ethereal, haunting, timeless and retro-futurist.

I was so sad to hear that lead singer Trish Keenan had died after catching swine flu a few months ago. Her voice was quite unique and I’ll never tire of listening to this album in particular: it means a lot to me.


Red Snapper – Reeled and Skinned

Warp band Red Snapper added jazz and other “real” instruments to the electronic mix of Warp’s mid-90s sound. I’m no fan of jazz but I loved Reeled and Skinned when it came out, with its dirty sax and intricate drumming. You could say I was hooked 😉



The Sabres of Paradise – Haunted Dancehall

The Sabres of Paradise (and later Two Lone Swordsmen and The Aloof) were bands whose singles and albums I all eagerly bought back in the 1990s. The Sabresonic sound is dubbed-out dance music with a heavy dose of electro-experimentation; 1994’s Haunted Dancehall is probably their triptastic classic.



LFO – Frequencies

The Low Frequency Oscillation kick-started the whole Warp success story, with the single LFO hitting the UK Top 20 back in 1990. It might sound a little dated in parts now, but just you wait for the forthcoming acid house and techno revivals…



Thanks to @ulyssestone for pointing out the new Warp additions!

Spotify & Online Music: My Survey Responses

Following on from the results of his online music survey, Leeds University music student Richard Pilkington asked me for my own opinions on Spotify, online music, and the future of music distribution. I spent some time putting my thoughts together and composed the following replies to his thirteen questions.

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Spotify & Online Music: Survey from Leeds University

Richard Pilkington is a music student at Leeds University. His final year paper is on the future on music distribution, where he discusses peer-to-peer downloading, online music streaming services and how musicians are affected by how people access music. Richard’s main case-study is on Spotify and its crusade against illegal downloading. While completing his final paper, Richard has kindly allowed the Pansentient League to share the results of a survey he conducted to assess the success of Spotify amongst 15 – 25 year olds. The survey results make for very interesting reading: read on for more!

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My Top 10 Tracks: Electronically Yours

Electronically Yours is one of the longest-running synth-pop websites. Originally a Human League fansite, EY has since grown to encompass all-things synthpop and electropop, focusing on both established acts as well as up-and-coming bands. Site owner and editor Orac is ably assisted by his team of contributors, chief of whom is the enigmatic Babooshka. As well as running the website, Orac masterminds the Electronically Yours record label which has put out some fantastic releases, including the superb compilation Electronically Yours Volume 1. Gorgeously packaged, this 2x CD features the very best of current female-fronted analogue electro.

I asked EY for a list of their Top 10 current favourite tracks. Orac and Babooshka provided five picks each along with some excellent commentary. Check it out below!

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My Top 10: Electric Fantastic Sound

Electric Fantastic Sound is a Swedish record label that specialises in synthpop, electro, and alternative music. Pioneers of digital distribution (and Spotify-friendly), their roster includes such artists as Flux, Basswood Dollies, Quelles Paroles, and Diskodiktator. If you’re new to these bands a great place to start is the recently-released label sampler Electric Fantastic Sound No.6 2010, or the new summer releases from Garland Cult, SULF, and I, Synthesist. Founder Johan Billing (formerly of the brilliant S.P.O.C.K.) is the bearded mastermind behind the label. I asked Johan to tell us about his Top 10 favourite songs. He describes his list as “something new, something old and something more” with the assurance that he “made the choice not to include any of the tracks I’ve released myself.” Over to you Johan!

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My Top 10 Tracks: Electro Arc

Electro Arc is an independent German label specializing in industrial dance and oldschool EBM (Electronic Body Music). They were featured on this blog last year and since then label boss Intrendent has been busy putting out more of Electro Arc’s showcase compilations, as well releasing artist albums such as the brilliant Brutpop from First Aid 4 Souls. I asked Intrendent what his ten favourite tracks were: here’s his list.

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So Long, And Thanks For All The Streams

Have you listened to a Spotify playlist recently and found that some of the songs are greyed out and don’t play? That’s because the track has been removed. Artists (or more usually their record labels) sometimes decide to pull their content from Spotify and other streaming services. This might be unintentional (for example, because a publishing deal expires), but more often than not it’s due to the band’s label deciding to pull the plug. Whether this leads to increased CD sales or increased illegal downloads and bad-will towards the band is up to you to decide. I’ve built up a lot of Spotify playlists over the past year or so: finding holes appear in them is disheartening as I’m always keen to ensure my playlists work as a whole. I try to treat each one as an album in its own right and order songs so that the playlist flows.

You can check the Pansentient League’s Spotify Removals page for an on-going list, but here are some of bands I’ve used in playlists over the past year whose tracks have now gone AWOL.

NOTE:  This “list is ridiculously out-dated.” (June 2015)

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