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Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Neil Cowley Trio have very nearly got a hit


I went to see the Neil Cowley Trio play a short gig in an underground garage this week. They did some tunes from their new album "Spacebound Apes". These days the words "new album" only cause excitement among the people who have made said new album. It's like back in the old days people used to come round and make you look at their holiday snaps. You paid attention largely to be polite.

Nowadays the precious currency is not the recorded music. It's the audience's undivided attention. That's a fact. You can waste your time mourning the world that's gone and is never coming back or you can take notice of the fact that new opportunities may arise from time to time in this new dispensation. People's attention can no longer be demanded but it can be piqued.

Neil talked about a tune called "Grace". A few weeks ago he noticed that it had been streamed 30,000 times on Spotify. He was quite gratified about that but he knew it wasn't going to amount to much. But then next time he looked it had gone up a lot. Then it went up even more. Next thing he knew it had been streamed over a million times, which is a lot for a barely-known British act operating in the space dangerously adjacent to jazz.

The reason it had been streamed this many times is Spotify had included that one tune in one of their playlists of new material. It had popped up on people's playlists and since they hadn't skipped it it appeared to have met with their approval. I've just looked again and the total number of times it's been streamed is over four million. That's not going to keep Adele up at night but it's not nothing.