JME: Spotify should create “unlockable music” only available by attending events

“I miss the days of tangible music. The process of going somewhere to get the music meant you actually cared.”

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JME performs at a private view of "Grime Stories: From The Corner To The Mainstream" at the Museum Of London on November 22, 2022 in London, England.

Credit: Getty / Dave Bennett

JME may have stepped back on regularly releasing new music in the past decade, but he’s still full of ideas. The UK grime MC, songwriter and record producer recently shared on social media a vision for a Spotify tool that could help re-introduce a “tangible” dimension to new music consumption.

The idea, according to JME, would require fans to go to a physical event or location in order to “unlock” albums, EPs or singles on streaming platforms rather than just being given them instantly. This would mean the music is only listened to by the biggest fans who are willing to put in the effort in order to be able to listen to it, rather than just being delivered as part of a recommended playlist, for example.

“I don’t want to throw music into the communal abyss,” JME writes in an X post, referring to the vast swathes of new music going on Spotify and Apple Music on a daily basis. “But I want people that actually care and love music to have it. I miss the days of tangible music. The process of going somewhere to get the music meant you actually cared.

“So I had an idea… Spotify & Apple Music should make streaming music slightly more tangible by having unlockable albums/songs. Make it so that some songs are available only by attending an event/location.”

Big Zuu responded with “That would be cold.” One fan, however, wasn’t entirely sold on the idea, writing, “Issue is though, some people may not be able to get there if it’s an event. Maybe if you had to get down to your local HMV or something but then that’s just buying a CD basically, isn’t it?” Another said, “you have to think of accessibility and fans that aren’t privileged geographically to benefit from this.”

“If they can’t get there then they can’t get there,” responds JME, “That’s the point? If I make a song and I want everyone at Wireless [festival] to have it, and you can’t get there, then you don’t get it.”

Recent statistics in vinyl record purchases show an uptick in music fans looking for more tangible ways of consuming music. MusicTech’s recent feature, How the vinyl industry weathered pandemic disruptions to emerge stronger than ever, highlights that record stores are “places to get in touch with new music in an accessible way”. A recent Luminate report also showed that US vinyl record sales increased by 21.7 per cent in the first half of 2023.

Follow JME on Twitter/X.


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