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Former Searchers drummer’s new band release 1,000-track album to highlight poor streaming returns

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Rock Band The Pocket Gods, featuring the former drummer of Merseybeat legends The Searchers among their ranks, are to release their second album of 1,000 songs, each 30-seconds long, to protest low royalty rates from streamers such as Spotify.

New album 1000X30 Music Streaming Is Broken But Together We Can Fix It! Is the follow up to last year’s release of 1000X30 Nobody Makes Money Anymore, which also contains 1,000 songs and holds the Guinness World Record for most songs on an album. 

30-seconds is the streaming length at which Spotify pays artists for each stream, and the 2022 release gained worldwide media attention and even meetings with Spotify to discuss the royalty situation.

Lo-fi outfit The Pocket Gods are made up of Noel Storey (keys) and Mark Christopher Lee (Vocals and Guitar – both founding members), ex-Searchers drummer Scott Ottaway, and Simon Herries on Bass.

Lee said: “For too long we have all been used to getting music either for free or very cheap and maybe we as consumers of music need to pay more if we value it so much?”

This new album takes continues to tackle the issues raised by 2022’s 1,000-song opus, and the lead track – We All Need To Value Music – calls on music fans and consumers to “value” music more and to include themselves in this debate.

Lee added: “Since the internet came in and the music industry was so slow to adapt we found ‘free’ music and had sites like Napster and then Youtube where you could download songs for free. Spotify came along and put some order to this and started to pay artists but the system hasn’t evolved to the next level and maybe we as consumers of music need to pay more if we value it so much?”

Illustrating their point, the band says that their 2022 album has so far racked up 1.2 million streams on Spotify, netting them a total of £256.

At the other end of the spectrum, the band recently released just one copy of their most recent album – Vegetal Digital – on vinyl for £1m. It’s on sale at their local record shop – Empire Records in St Albans, although so far it hasn’t been snapped up.

If they do sell it, the band plan to set up their own ethical streaming service called Nub Play where they guarantee to pay artists at least 1p per stream, which they say is 50 times Spotify’s current standard rate. Prolific North has contacted Spotify for comment.

The band have also released a film about their campaign for fair royalties. It’s called Inspired: The 30-Second Song Movie and is streaming on Tubi in the US and Canada.

The Film highlights their campaign for fairer royalties since their first (in a series of nine) albums of 100 songs, all 30 seconds long, back in 2015. The band read an article by US music Professor Mike Ericco who asked why songwriters of today weren’t adapting their craft to the media of today.

He surmised that the reason people started writing three-minute pop songs was due to the length of seven-inch vinyl and suggested artists should just write 30-second songs as streaming services paid out a royalty in full after this.

The Pocket Gods were formed in 1998 at Tower Records in London and have recorded 74 albums since. They were briefly championed by the late John Peel before his death and have also had rave reviews from the likes of Tom Robinson and Steve Lamacq from BBC 6 Music.

The Searchers were a leading member of the 1960s Merseybeat scene and part of the notorious “British Invasion” of the sixties US pop charts. Hits included Sweets for My Sweet and Sugar and Spice – an early chart triumph for soon-to-be-legendary composer and producer Tony Hatch. Ottaway was in a later iteration of the Mersey legends, playing with the band from 2010-2019.

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