CRADLE OF FILTH's DANI FILTH: “SPOTIFY are the biggest criminals in the world”
In a new interview with Sakis Fragos of Rock Hard Greece, CRADLE OF FILTH frontman Dani Filth spoke about the decline of the music industry as consumers value access over ownership and experiences over assets. He said: “It’s been deteriorating ever since… I think 2006 was the year that everything swapped from being comfortable for musicians — well, not necessarily comfortable; it was never comfortable. But (it went to) just being a lot harder with the onset of the digital age, the onset of music streaming platforms that don’t pay anybody. Like Spotify are the biggest criminals in the world. I think we had 25, 26 million plays last year, and I think personally I got about 20 pounds, which is less than an hourly work rate.
“For example, the other day my girlfriend… She’s got an ill cat; her cat’s very sick and needed a life-or-death operation,” he continued. “She’s a well-known tattooist, and she posted a thing online about… a GoFundMe for her cat, and she was gonna do a raffle and people could win a tattoo, et cetera, et cetera. The point of it is a lot of people were, like, ‘Why the fuck should we pay for your cat? You’re going out with a multimillionaire?’ And she was, like, ‘Excuse me, I don’t think you understand how the music industry works nowadays. One, he’s not a multimillionaire at all. Two, I’m my own person, and this has nothing to do with him.’
“I think people just have this amazing ability to (believe) that when you have stuff out there, like physical product, that you’re earning a fortune from it,” Filth added. “They don’t realize you have so many people taking pieces of the pie — record company, management, accountants, blah blah blah blah; it doesn’t matter. If you’re not getting any money in the first place, there’s not much money to share around. And nowadays, the reason why people put out limited-edition vinyls and stuff, it’s for collectors — they’re the only people that buy it; other people just stream it for nothing. That’s why you’re finding a lot of bands, since the pandemic, are not touring. Petrol’s gone up. Tour bus hire’s gone up. The cost of living’s gone up. Yeah, it’s very hard for bands at the moment. But it doesn’t help when people just have this in-built idea that it’s not a privilege to get music, that music is something that should be given away free. I mean, I don’t walk into someone’s shop and just pick up — I don’t know — a pack of bananas and say, ‘Well, these grow on trees. They should be free. I’m walking out with these.’ I’d be arrested for shoplifting. But it’s fine for people to download… Even before albums are out, you find fans, like, ‘Oh, I’ve got a link to it,’ and they put it up and then instantly any sales you’re gonna get from people buying it for a surprise are out the window because they’ve already heard it and then they just move on to the next thing.
“Yeah, the music industry is on its knees at the moment,” Dani concluded. “I still enjoy making music — don’t get me wrong; I love it — but, yeah, the musician nowadays is finding a million things against them. It’s a hard time.”
Two months ago, Dani talked to Dom Smith of Soundsphere magazine about the realities of post-pandemic touring, including increased travel expenses — gas, tour buses, hotels and flight costs. He said: “We’re a bit in a weird state of play at the present because of the whole Russian scenario. That’s had a knock-on effect with fuel and bus hire. People really now have not been able to afford to do a lot, so tours are becoming very difficult.
“There’s a lot of American bands I’ve spoken to — big bands as well — who are not touring Europe for a while,” he continued. “A lot of English and mostly European bands are not touring America for a while. Now there’s even talk of bigger taxation by venues on merch, places taking bigger cuts of the band’s merch, which is their life’s blood, seeing as everything’s digital these days and physical product’s down. And America is now talking about upping the cost of touring there, the prices of the visa. I mean, it’s about 30 quid for them to come over here; it’s in the thousands for us to go there.
“So, yeah, it’s all doom and gloom now,” Dani added. “Obviously, as everything goes in cycles as well, we’re seeing a bit of a re-emergence, a bit of a reaffirmation of the whole metal community.”
Financial issues are continuing to wreak havoc on the touring industry, with the economics of the business simply not adding up.
Acts of all sizes are canceling or postponing shows, with several claiming that it was “not sustainable” for them to go ahead with the tours.
For many midsized acts, ticket sales are not even enough to cover their overheads.
CRADLE OF FILTH recently announded their recording process, which is well underway.
Last month, CRADLE OF FILTH released its first live album in over 20 years, “Trouble And Their Double Lives”, via Napalm Records. The LP was recorded between 2014 and 2019 at different performances in the USA, Europe, Australia and beyond during the band’s “Cryptoriana” world tour and dates following. Produced, mixed and mastered by Scott Atkins at Grindstone Studios, with recording captured by Danny B, the effort not only features a slew of fan favorites encompassing the band’s discography but also two bonus tracks and two entirely brand new songs, “She Is A Fire” and “Demon Prince Regent”.
Asked in a recent interview with Decibel if the two new songs on the record indicate what the next CRADLE OF FILTH album will sound like, vocalist Dani Filth said: “Maybe a little bit but no. It’s pretty hard to explain, I can’t really talk about it. The new album has a ‘Dusk… And Her Embrace’ vibe to it. But no, we moved on from that. We started writing as a collective after that, these were stopgap songs that originally were intended toward a new album but because of the pandemic, it delayed everything and they found themselves out there. We just thought it was best to put them on the new record.”
He added: “A record takes up so much of your time. It’s a monument to a band’s career, a lot of effort gone into it, a lot of time gone into it. It deserves its own sort of place and each album will have its own unique identity that’s in place due to whatever outside due influence is happening at the time. People in the band, when they recorded, there’s so many things that determine what an album’s about. Of course each and every one is hopefully going to have a very strong and different identity to the previous one and also the future one.”
In a separate interview with Echoes And Dust, Filth said the new CRADLE OF FILTH album will “be recorded this year and out next year. We’ve got the live album and then we have our collab with Ed Sheeran coming out later in the year. We’re going to record it in May, but we also will be working on it behind some festivals. A record will be delivered to the record company at the end of the summer. And it’ll be out, I reckon, in April next year.”
Earlier this month, Dani was asked by BLABBERMOUTH.NET if he envisions the next CRADLE OF FILTH studio album staying in the same vein as “Cryptoriana” or “Existence Is Futile”. He responded: “It’s not going to be a million miles away from that. I’ve been working on some of the material today. We’re putting the finishing touches on the songs we’re going to record, whether all of them make the grade or not. It has a ‘Dusk… And Her Embrace’ vibe to them. Musically, it plays across ‘Dusk’ and ‘Midian’, but lyrically, and the vibe of it, it has a ‘Dusk… And Her Embrace’ feel to it. I don’t know why. History repeats itself. Maybe it’s because we wrote ‘Dusk’ around this particular time of year, but it has that vibe. It sounds great, but I would say that, wouldn’t I?”