New Vevo iOS App

Vevo have just launched a new iOS app, totally redesigned, to focus on the personalisation features they have been developing in the last months, like:

  • Pick favorite artists to receive a custom-tailored music video experience in Vevo’s brand new Spotlight.
  • Notifications are triggered for the artists picked whenever there’s a new music video, collaboration, or live performance.
  • Make video playlists, favourite playlists and videos

Download it here – App Store

New Digital Service: Saavn


Essential have recently signed an agreement with the digital streaming service Saavn, a US based company focussing on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

The Saavn Service was launched in India in 2007 and currently hosts a library of over 10 million music tracks, consisting largely of Bollywood, English, Hindi and Indian regional content. The Service currently has over 18 million monthly active users (including both paid and ad supported users), with the significant majority being ad supported users based in India.

Indie Shop of the Month: Pie & Vinyl

pie-and-vinyl shop front

We’d like to introduce you to the amazing indie stores we work with, and this month we’ve been talking to Steve from Pie & Vinyl, a stunning shop in Southsea that offers a carefully curated selection of LPs and posters, but also local teas and pies…

Please introduce yourself and give a brief bit of background / history to the shop…

My name is Steve Courtnell, founder of Pie&Vinyl and the keeper of the secrets of Castle Greyskull. 

The Pie&Vinyl concept was put together with the belief that there was still an audience that wanted to purchase physical format music, and in particular vinyl. I still believe the reason vinyl disappeared (sort of) was because no one could buy it. Being a huge music fan with a keen interest in new music, I noticed that vinyl had reinvented itself, an first of all in America – the LP came with a DL code or CD. For me this was a great move, and after fighting the MP3 downloading, piracy market – it became apparent that the labels were starting to embrace it, and use it to create almost a brand new ‘Ultimate’ format, which ticked the boxes for quality, experience, tangibility and the chance to get the album on your hardrive device. Whilst not being 100% confident that opening a shop selling something that was essentially free in a lot of people’s minds, I loved the idea of adding another sensory experience to the concept. And that was food, and in particular Pie and Mash. I felt that Pie and mash which is one of the original takeaway English working class foods, with its history and tradition, would work well with the vinyl concept. We offer a very contemporary take on Pie and mash, with around 40 different fillings – similar to the way vinyl, a format with history and tradition had reinvented itself in my eyes. Also, the look and feel of the place would be very important, and thus a hub that embraces all the senses in a most positive way, the taste, visually, touching and of course the ears. 

We sell a unique experience, somewhere that people who love music on any level could come and feel welcome and  relaxed and have a memorable time. Basically, everything the internet doesn’t offer you. 

What positive developments and changes for independent music retail have you noticed occurring recently?

I think the indies only coloured LP, even if some people don’t admit it – they will always take a limited coloured version over a standard, and that really helps get people in store. Also, freebie – People love a gift with a purchase. We’ve been able to give away so many great things this year, from actual Jackets (The new Youth Lagoon release) to screenprints, like Fat Cat have done recently with the new Shopping LP.  Also, in store shows are a massive part of what we offer, and it’s great that touring bands and labels seem so much more supportive of their bands playing in store. A perfect chance to meet the people behind the record you’ve just bought, have an amazing intimate experience in store and spread the word. Again, it’d everything you don’t get when you purchase a song online for 79p – we are trying to show people, particularly younger people that there is another way you can listen, experience and consume music.

What more do you think can be done to help independent music retail?

I think many labels, majors as well as independents really are supporting independent music stores much more. Obviously some of us won’t be able to buy in huge quantities like some other online retailers, but they understand the effect on customers is much greater than with on line purchases. Obviously, sharing what you love directly to the customer and feeling privileged enough to be able to recommend titles, gives you a great chance of repeat custom. We’ve managed to make lots of friends, and feel we have earned a level of trust with some of our regulars which is amazing. I guess keep up the exclusives, whether it’s gift with purchases, coloured LP, released in indies first –Available only/first in physical stores is a great one too – I’d like to see much more of that J


How is the local music scene in Portsmouth / Southsea? What role do you think an independent music store can / should have in its local community?

The local music scene is going from strength to strength, we have so many types of music and scenes, and micro scenes, ha – and many bands for quite a small city. We have a record label (imaginatively titled Pie&Vinyl Records) which aims to support and encourage bands we like and feel could have an impact nationally. We help release and obviously stock and sell in the shop. We do that for any local act that self distributes. We feel it’s important to be part of the local music community. We are in a pretty privileged place, it’s great seeing so many types of music fan come in to the store and this really reflects how we try and support the local scene. We also promote, and put shows on as well. We also release a mix tape compilation of local acts, called ‘Portsea, You Black Island’ which has gone down well. To be honest we don’t just limit ourselves to the local music scene, we invite local artists to reinterpret our logo, design album covers, we’ve recently put on a music poster show at the guildhall, and encourage any creativity that we can be a part of.

Finally, what three recent / forthcoming releases are you particularly enjoying at the moment?

We are really enjoying the new TRAAMS LP in the shop, what a fine band they are…we have our first ‘in store outside’ this weekend. This happens when we wouldn’t dare ask a band to compromise their sound but if they are way too loud for our little shop, so get them at an interesting venue Southsea, (Where they can be loud). We try and play new unreleased music in the shop all day long, which keeps the customers guessing and excited if they recognise it. #We do mix in released bits also though – but always relevant to what we sell.  I guess the new Fuzz record is popular, a few people have asked about Richard Dawson recently, and quite right to…Kurt Vile, Songhoy Blues is a staff favourite on the kitchen side and the New Oneohtrix Point Never LP – Mutant Standard is good to clean the shop during close down which kind of makes sense. I guess it’s that time of year when I have to seriously start thinking about Records of the year 2015! It’s been a strong one…so is going to be tuff!

Make sure you visit Pie & Vinyl if you’re around Southsea –

Apple Music arrives to Android!

AppleMusicLogoAndroid_AppStore_Logo-1Today Apple Music has launched an official app for Android devices!

The music streaming service, that was first launched in the summer of 2015, was exclusively available to IOS users, now, 4 months later an Android version has been unveiled and built especially to look and work as a native Android application. All buttons and features within the Apple Music app have been carefully altered to match the style of Android apps and to cater to the Android user experience.

The app contains most of the same features found within the IOS app, including Radio, Beats 1, New, Connect and For You which is a section of specially human-curated playlists. Some features however, are missing such as Music Videos and the option to obtain a Family Plan subscription, as this can only be purchased with an Apple ID.

By allowing the popular music streaming application to go cross-platform, Apple can be looking at a further outreach of new subscribers and fans dedicated to listening and streaming their content.

Find out more about Apple Music for Android here.



Spotify Introduces New ‘About Tab’

SpotifyA new feature has recently been introduced by Spotify on their artist pages, the About Tab. A place where fans and followers can view certain insights into their favourite artists within the streaming service.

Here is what is available to discover within the new About Tab:

  • Biographies with beautiful full screen image browsing
  • Monthly listeners
  • Global rank based on monthly listeners
  • Where people are discovering the artist, ranked by most popular playlists
  • Which cities the artist is most popular in

Spotify is slowly opening up more of their analytics and making them available for public knowledge. They started this by publishing the play count next to each track included in their service. With many accounts accumulating over 10 million followers, we can see that Spotify is trying to push for the understanding that streaming services are not just about the music listening feature but also the rapid growth of loyal fanbases.

Find out more about this new Spotify feature here.

Record Store Day 2016!

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The new campaign for Record Store Day 2016 has begun, and what better way to celebrate than with a new website revamp!

Record Store Day has updated and improved their website, with a great new slider that showcases the latest indie releases from artists such as TRAAMS and Boy & Bear as they get ready to start the campaigns for Record Store Day 2016. This event is held annually to celebrate the culture of the independently owned record stores and to showcase new products such as limited edition LPs provided exclusively for the event.

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On the website you can view the gallery which is full of images from the previous Record Store Day events as well as navigate through to find out what the latest releases have been for over the last 3 months with an archive section to see any previous releases of 2015.

Find out who the participating independent music stores are here.

Find out more about Record Store Day here.


Skepta Wins ‘Best Song’ at MOBO Awards


We are incredibly thrilled to announce that Skepta won the ‘Best Song‘ award with his great single “Shutdown” at the MOBOs which took place on the 4th November in Leeds.


With eyes both east and west of the Atlantic firmly watching his next move, the English MC has let loose a new song called “Shutdown”. Ushered in by a sample of one of Drake’s own Vine videos, the track wastes no time in getting down to business. It’s hard-hitting and fast-footed, effectively commandeered by Skepta’s pointed flow. This is the start of a new dawn for the global music industry, let alone the UK urban scene. Grime has just taken the lead once again.

Visit the official MOBO website to read more!

YouTube announces new subscription service: YouTube Red

youtube-redYouTube just announced YouTube Red, a new subscription service that allows an optimised watching experience on the platform, without ads, and with offline and background playing being the star features, but also including original programming only accessible to subscribers, offline curated mixtapes generated by YouTube (equivalent to Discover Weekly on Spotify), audio only streaming options etc.

Launching in October 28th in the US, at a $9.99 monthly price point, the  membership extends across all devices and content specific apps where the user is logged in, like Gaming, YouTube Kids and the forthcoming YouTube Music. Launch date for the Music App and YouTube Red outside US hasn’t been confirmed yet.

What’s more, a YouTube Red subscription will also include Google Play access, and the other way around. This means that users can take advantage of the features of both services. 

More information here:  Meet YouTube Red, the ultimate YouTube experience 

New Skindred playlists! Pump up the volume!

12087936_966752223370295_3302110487413486162_oThe crossover metal band from Wales are back with their 6th studio album, Volume, out on October 30th. Expect their signature mix of Core, Dub, Reggae and Funk, in an album full of Nu-Metal style guitar shredding, grooving beats, dub and electro inserts, and of course featuring the vocal diversity of frontman Clive “Benji” Webbe (ex-Dub War).

The first single “Under Attack” should give you a taste of what the album sounds like… Listen on Spotify or download it straight away when you pre-order the album on iTunes.

Do you want to know what Skindred listen to when they are on tour? What about the bands that have influenced them? Go check out their playlists on Spotify: Influences, Tour Bus Classics, Skindred Recommends and of course a handy Collection of their own tunes. Make sure you follow Skindred to be up to date with their new releases and playlists.

We caught up with Skindred‘s Mikey Demus this week to hear how these playlists came up…

Hey Mikey! Good to speak to you, the Skindred Recommends playlist sounds ace! How do you find new bands these days?
Mainly through word of mouth still. I am constantly around people who say “have you checked this band out yet”, I also see a lot of new bands during the summer festival season. Don’t get me wrong, I see a ton of shit out there too but certain bands really turn your head and make you wanna track them down. I also use things like Shazam when I hear something catchy, BBC 6 Music is always turning me onto new stuff. Spotify Radio is great for hearing new music also.
Do you think that streaming is key in the discovery process?
Definitely, you have to take every medium and opportunity to get your music out there, whether you’re new or established. There will always be a place for Vinyl, it’s the ultimate format really. But the quick access of streaming keeps music flowing and helps musicians to have their finger on the pulse of what else is out there.
We love the Tour Bus Classics playlist, is there a song that for you guys works as a good luck charm before going on stage?
We’re normally in the venue immediately before the show – We have a whole changeover mix that we play every night out front, from the minute the support band finishes to when we walk on. It’s part of the show as far as we’re concerned. There’s 30 mins or so of music we think will help to hype the crowd, which culminates in ‘Thunderstruck’ by ACDC. We’ve been doing it for a couple years now, it hypes us all up like crazy! The few times we haven’t had changeover music for whatever reason always feels like a real drag, it’s an important part of the process!
Some of you choices on the Influences Playlist are unexpected, do you think that Skindred fans also have a broader music taste than other rock/metal fans?
I definitely think so. We get a real spread of people into our music, all sorts come to the shows. But the hardcore ‘Dred fans are more often than not pretty open minded. They’re into the different stuff and they’re not afraid to defend it! We don’t follow a clique or scene and we find a lot of our fans are the same. We love it!

Skindred‘s Volume is out on October 30th through Napalm Records, pre-order on Amazon / iTunes

Touring the UK in October / November –