Friday, 24 May 2013

Longpigs: Out Of The Loop?

If you've listened to the radio shows then you'll know that I'm a big fan of Longpigs and so are you probably, because their songs always get a great response whenever we play them.  Comments are normally of the "I'd forgotten how good they were" variety; On And On, She Said and Lost Myself all big hits and quality tunes.

So when I saw that there was a new Longpigs anthology coming out this month, including 5 previously unreleased tracks, I was quite excited.  I tweeted about it, and gave out the Amazon link.  33 songs for £9? Bit of a bargain.

Then I started to get a couple of comments back from people suggesting that all was not as it seems.  The label behind the release was, it was suggested, "a bit dodgy".  Richard Hawley, now mega-selling solo artist but formerly Longpigs guitarist, said on his web site:

"This has nothing to do with me,I know two of us haven't been asked about it,it's some dodgy company as far as we can tell,I doubt very much that anyone from the band will get a penny,the"artwork"is shite,I don't endorse this in any way......thanks folks for your time"(Richard Hawley)
This was worrying. As much as I'd like to see more Longpigs material released, nobody wants to think of artists not being paid.  Time to investigate...

So who are the company behind this?  They are called 3Loop Music and their strapline is "re-engaging artists and fans".

As I understand it their model is to partner with bands and release archive material, licensed from the original record label.  In return for helping to promote the release, bands earn a cut of the sales.  It reads like they are breathing new life into old back catalogues, enabling physical releases of specialist material to a non-mainstream audience (that's you and me folks!), activity that would be uneconomical for a mainstream label.  You can read more about how their business model works on their own web site, here.

The 3Loop website clearly states "our partner artists receive a direct share of the profits from the relevant projects; this is in addition to any recording or publishing royalties that they may be due from the relevant rights holders".  So that's alright, isn't it?  So how come Richard Hawley thinks it's dodgy?  Now I was confused.  So I sent an email off to 3Loop asking some questions and today they called to give me some answers...

3Loop have licenced the Longpigs back catalogue from Universal, who are the rights holders.  They initially spoke with Crispin Hunt (Longpigs frontman and songwriter) about 18 months ago about the project but he was not keen to get involved in promoting any future release.  They state that he is fully aware of the project.  They decided to proceed with the Anthology anyway though, whilst saying that they would have preferred to do it with Crispin's involvement.  Therefore the band do not get a cut of any profits that 3Loop might make but they do get the recording or publishing royalties that come from the licence that 3Loop is paying to Universal.  So by my reckoning Crispin, Richard and the rest will get the same royalties as they would if Universal had put the record out themselves.

There is a problem though.  On their website it clearly lists Longpigs as being a 'partner artist' and they manifestly are not.  So anyone reading the website and buying into the ethos of 3Loop will think that they are supporting the band directly and they are not.  I put this point to 3Loop and they agreed that the website was wrong and that "we really must sort that out".  Yes, they really must and they should do it quickly if they want to retain any credibility.

I'm pleased that 3Loop were open about all this and took the time to get in touch with me.  I don't think that they are 'dodgy' but for a label whose whole ethos is supposed to be about connecting artists, their languishing back catalogues and fans, it is regrettable that their highest profile release so far doesn't follow that actual model.

The model that they are trying to follow is an interesting one and if it can bring unreleased music out of the vaults that can only be a good thing.  I will follow their future releases closely as there is the potential for some really good music to come out - they just need to be careful about how they are listing people on their web site!

For now though, I shall leave the final word to Richard Hawley again:
"Although further to this I hope it gets Crispin some well deserved respect as a songwriter and lifts the band out of an undeserved place in history to something a little nearer the truth"
Longpigs, On And On: The Anthology is out now on 3Loop Music

[Update: Within 24 hours of our contacting them 3Loop had updated their website. Longpigs are no longer listed as 'Partner Artists']

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Our Alternative Best Of Britpop

Don't despair Jarvis, we have an alternative!
Recently the NME had a Britpop issue and selected the 100 Greatest Britpop songs. The songs were all good, I've played most of them on the show, but to be honest it was all a bit predictable.  So I asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter for what they considered to be the best of Britpop, but avoiding the behemoths.  Yes, we could still have Blur, Pulp, Oasis, Suede etc. but no Wonderwall, Common People, Parklife - you get the picture.

And did they respond?  Oh yes - hundreds of songs were suggested.  Plenty of them were hits in their own right but some unexpected songs from well known bands (Last Day Of The Miners Strike by Pulp for example) and even some bands I'd not heard of; The High, Headswim & Nancy Boy!

As it happened our monthly Phonic FM show was coming up and that seemed like the perfect opportunity to play some of these songs in our own highly subjective Alternative Best Of Britpop!

Now I'm normally very prepared for our monthly live Britpop Revival Show.  I have most stuff laid out on my laptop in advance, with a back up on my phone just in case and finally in reserve a big bag chock full of assorted Britpop CDs.  I load a couple of CDs into the players in the studio just in case, but not this week.  No, the laptop always worked so why bother?

I get everything plugged in, settle down, say hello to the listeners, "and we'll kick off with this from McAlmont & Butler"!

S   I   L   E   N   C   E

Dead air, the cardinal sin - even at this level.

I start pressing buttons, more in hope than expectation. Okay, time to switch to CDs - the Alternative Best of Britpop idea going out the window, I just need to play something.  Why didn't I pre-load a couple?  Where is my big bag of CDs?  Of course the ones on top are my recent purchases, stuff I haven't even listened to yet; Warm Jets, Smaller, Geneva's much ignored 2nd album.  I dig deeper and pull out Symposium's Farewell To Twilight, I've played it not long ago but it'll do.  I cram it into CD drive 2, apologise to the listeners, fade up and relax.  But no, still silence and now I get the feeling that I am doomed.  Fortunately Spencer, the presenter of the previous show, is still in the studio and calmly points out that I've simply selected the wrong CD drive.  Fade up, music plays and offer many, many thanks to Spence whilst we finally get the laptop working.

Phonic is a community station, run on a shoestring by volunteers.  There are no engineers or producers (well not for most of the shows) and when things go pear-shaped you realise how little you know about how the studio works.  So my objective now is to get to grips with all this gear properly.

After all that the rest of the show went smoothly enough, apart from cutting short Oasis' Slide Away with some bongos.  The joy of live radio.

Thanks to everyone who suggested tracks or who got in touch on twitter during the show.

Track Listing:

  1. Farewell To Twilight - Symposium
  2. Yes - McAlmont & Butler
  3. History - The Verve
  4. You're Always Right - These Animal Men
  5. Sale Of The Century - Sleeper
  6. She Said - Longpigs
  7. Here Comes A Soul Saver - The Charlatans
  8. Twisterella - Ride
  9. Dragging Me Down - Inspiral Carpets
  10. Olympian - Gene
  11. Tourniquet - Headswim
  12. Tranqillizer - Geneva
  13. Dolphin - Shed Seven
  14. Window Pane - The Real People
  15. Slide Away - Oasis
  16. Being Brave - Menswear
  17. This Feeling - Puressence
  18. The Wild Ones - Suede
  19. End Of A Century - Blur
  20. I'm So Lonely - Cast
  21. Box Set Go - The High
  22. Last Day Of The Miners Strike - Pulp
  23. Cocaine Socialism - Pulp
  24. Step Into My Word - Hurricane #1
  25. Untouchable - Rialto
  26. Sleep - Marion
  27. Love Is The Law - The Seahorses

The Britpop Revival Show broadcasts on the 3rd Sunday of the month, 2pm to 4pm, on Phonic FM (106.8FM in the Exeter area or online at

However you can hear our weekly Vapour Trails show every Monday 3pm EST (8pm UK time) on Strangeways Radio,