With your help, we will train 15 more Community Music Leaders, and support our team of 30 experienced Community Music Leaders to work with over 1000 children in 2017; former street children; young people facing profound challenges, and children affected by HIV. Through life-affirming music and connection to their cultural roots, children will feel supported and valued as they so richly deserve.

On this 23rd Day of Remembrance in Rwanda we stand with all Rwandans in memorial and for a peaceful future.

A young band from our partner organisation in Rwanda wrote this song, expressing their feelings of the tragic events of 1994.  It begins:

“Although I wasn’t there, I was told about it.
Imagining it is hard for me.
Their tears are flowing and they are full of sadness and my sorrow.”

Listen to the song here.


Tornados generally have a knack of leaving behind a trail of roof tiles and displaced livestock, but so far Australian producer Tornado Wallace has left behind one of the most varied back catalogues on labels like Beats in Space, LateNightTales, ESP Institute, Second Circle and, just weeks ago, delivered his brilliant first full length LP on Running Back. Originally from Melbourne and part of the Animals Dancing crew (makers of the best music T-shirts in the Southern Hemisphere, two years ago he made the move to Berlin.

Seeming to master any style he chooses, from chugging acid electro, stomping Aussie Bush techno or funk that could have been stolen straight from Prince’s vaults, we set out to find out how he does it. You can also sample some photos of his studio as you read the in-depth interview.

Tornado Wallace – Lonely Planet LP is out now on Running Back and available from Juno. Catch TW at Farr Festival 2017 (13th-15th July).


Hi Tornado, thanks for the photo of your studio. Let’s get straight to business – how do you do it? Talk us through what we can see.

Well this is my studio in Berlin that I share with Luca Lozano. I moved two years ago from Melbourne where I still have a lot of my favourite bits of gear, but I wanted to start fresh as I was finding myself too dependent on some certain sounds. So I have a motley crew of hardware that all has a particular role in doing the things that I want them to. Everything is wired up to the patch bay which I can then send through mixer channels and then into the RME UFX Fireface where I can have the various sounds coming through split channels in Ableton. All midi-synths are running through a MOTU midi-interface and I use the Sync-Gen to sync the drum boxes with the Ableton clock.

Where is your studio located? Do you go for the home studio, making tracks in your dressing gown over breakfast, or do you have your own separate space where you escape to create?

It’s in a separate space behind a bar about a five minute walk from where I live. There are some other studios in there too.

Have you made any special non-musical touches to make it feel like a productive workspace?

Yes my girlfriend and I found a cool fake plant store at this massive Vietnamese warehouse complex in Lichtenberg, so I bought up on the stuff to help create a vibe. There’s very little sunlight and Lucas and I travel a lot so we can’t be trusted to rear real plants. 


A lot of your music has an abundance of space, something not going short in Australia. How do you go about that? Is it samples, field recordings, or all original copyright T Wallace magic? 

It all comes down to the mix really. Making sure everything has some space to breathe. Sometimes it takes some discipline to keep something you think is really cool very low in the mix for the sake of the track’s sound. But yeah I’m not one to shy away from any audio resource available to me be it phone recordings, samples, EQing, reverbs/delays etc.

What’s your approach to working with samples? Do you build tracks around them, or add them as a garnish to an existing idea?

Yeah I’ll generally find a little something interesting in a record store or online – a little percussion loop or a pad or effect – and switch on the machines and jam over a four bar loop until there’s something worth expanding on. I’m a massive fan of sampling and usually find, ironically, that it’s the best way to make something sound unique. 

Speaking of samples, you were behind the sensational Aussie bush anthem ‘Kookaburra’. What’s the story behind that one?

I was working on a track with Tom Moore (the other half of Coober Pedy University Band) and it was really taking a lot of work and not really gelling together even though we’d spent hours and hours on it. We decided that it might be fun to try make a ‘tool’ version of the track, so we took out the best bits which was some afro percussion loops, a didgeridoo sample that we lifted off a German made Australian library record that I bought in Amsterdam, and then added a big 909 kick drum underneath it all. It was sounding OK but it was missing something so we thought we’d try add an Australian bird sound. Of course we went straight for the most famous Australian bird sound – the Kookaburra – which we ripped from a Youtube video. The idea was to put it low in the mix and have it be a subtle little addition, but when we dropped it into the project, Ableton had automatically tried to quantize it and it sat very up front in the mix. It was never the plan but it sounded great/stupid/ridiculous so we moved it around a bit and it turned out to be the cherry on the cake. From starting the new project to finishing it took about 2-3 hours.


You made the jump from Australia to Berlin in the last few years. Have the new surroundings affected the type of music you want to make?  

Only in a way that going through a bit of change like moving to the other side of the world has affected me in terms of personal development and maturity. But I don’t think that the specific surroundings in Berlin have had much of an influence on the sound of my music very much.

RA held an interesting round table about ‘Process vs inspiration’ – where does your inspiration come from in the studio? Do you have a process that you follow? And how do you go about balancing the two? 

I go through phases where I’m really influenced by something and for a few days or a week or something I’ll get really caught up in an idea and experiment with that sound and usually wind up with a few new tracks. But that doesn’t happen too often and usually I follow a loose process like the one I mentioned earlier about finding a weird sample and building ideas around it. It’s a nice way to create something unique when the inspiration just isn’t making itself too aware.

What was your original set up when you first made tracks? Were you a laptop only wizard, or did you go straight for hardware?

I was 15 and I used my school laptop with a demo copy of Fruityloops and Cool Edit Pro I got in a Computer Music magazine. I could move around pretty well on those programs but it wasn’t until years later when I added a bit of hardware that I started making music that I felt was good enough to be heard by other people.


What was the first serious piece of kit you bought?

I had bought guitars and drumkits and various percussion instruments and effects pedals throughout my teens but the first electronic piece of kit I bought was a microkorg.

Do you fetishise that old sound, or put your faith in new technology? What’s your current split like between software and hardware?

I like technology that has its limits. The problem with some newer technology is that there’s so much you can do with one machine, but it doesn’t necessarily do any one thing particularly well. Developers have realised this along the way though, which is why you now see the main manufacturers remaking older gear that have their limitations and their strengths. I have various bits and bobs in the studio that can do their one thing particularly well, whether it’s the Cruise for it’s strings, the Kurzweil K2000R for it’s digital pads/leads or the Chroma Polaris for analogue SFX and basslines. I use some software for effects but I don’t use VSTs, purely because I like generating sounds with a more tactile approach rather than a belief one sounds better than the other.

What kit do you think is a modern classic? 

I don’t have too many new bits in my studio nor have I played around with many new pieces so I don’t think I can think of one.

Are you always seeking to experiment and develop your studio? If money were no object what would you add?

Yes definitely, there’s always more money that can be spent, mostly on more cables and cv/midi converters and things that make the process a bit smoother rather than anything particularly interesting. But I’m pretty happy with the way things are at the moment. If money were no object I’d probably just get some things I still have in Australia sent over like my Prophet 5 or my Arp Odyssey.


What impact have some recent changes made in your approach and sounds?

The patchbay is a new addition. And for the first time I can easily patch things through an FX chain without having to muck around for ages. So it’ll be nice to incorporate the Filterbank, Space Echo and DPX into the workflow more easily.

You must have a most treasured bit of equipment. If you had to keep just one piece, what would it be?

Maybe the Matrix 1000 or the 808. They’ve been with me the longest and I’ve used them the most so there’s that sentimentality value as well as both being badass.

The new album is a masterpiece, something not just inside the club walls. A first album is a big step for any artist, but it must be especially hard when it deviates from a club-centric sound you’ve made your name on. What were your sonic intentions with this album and what else were you listening to during its inception?

The LP is a product of several years of working on music for both listening at home and dancing to in a club. Along the way some of the tracks that I didn’t want to previously release started making sense together and the idea of making an album formed and then it was just a matter of finishing it with a couple of extra tracks and some mixing down. So along the way I was listening to lots of different music but I think the most influential on how it ended up were artists that I’ve been listening to over many years, like Dire Straits, Wally Badarou, Daft Punk, Sade, Boards Of Canada.


How involved was Gerd and Running Back in the creative direction of the album?

Gerd came in late in the picture actually. I had finished the album before I approached him. We had talked about doing things in the past but it hadn’t worked out so this time we were both keen and we had pretty much informally agreed to do the LP before he had listened to the tracks.

The guest vocal with Sui Zhen is a real highlight. Do you take a different approach working with a singer? And do you have more plans to go down that route?

I’ve never really worked with a singer before but I had an idea for this track to be like a wavey, 80s synth pop track, and to really bring that home I felt a vocal was needed. Sui Zhen is a very talented vocalist and can pretty much twist her voice to how it’s needed and for Today we felt like a Nina Hagen/Laurie Anderson sound would be cool. She got the vibe and we had a chat about how it should go with the track and she came up with a really cool lyrical direction and that was that. She recorded it with quite a few variations and I arranged it in the studio. I don’t think it would normally be that cool/easy working with someone, so I’m not in a hurry to try it again (unless is was Sui Zhen again). That and generally I have a habit of listening to mostly instrumental music.

Are you considering performing the album live? What would you bring from the studio to the live set up?

No I’ve got no plans to do a live show any time soon. I’ve heard too many horror stories from other artists. But I also love DJing and that makes more sense for me relating to an audience at the moment.

Beyond the album, what other plans are afoot for the rest of 2017?

Maybe a remix single from the album, and an EP for Animals Dancing, hopefully something from Coober Pedy University Band. Otherwise I’m going to keep the focus on DJing and traveling around with that for the year.


Originally hailing from Belgrade, Vladimir Ivkovic not only has the best name in dance music, but is a long-standing and integral part of Dusseldorf’s club scene. Originally getting into selecting through spending time at his father’s venue ‘Sara and Omen’ back in Belgrade, Vladimir has been at home in Dusseldorf for many years now and is a resident at Dusseldorf’s legendary club, Salon des Amateurs; keeping good company alongside Lena Willikens, Jan Schulte and Tolouse Low Trax. Vladimir’s skills don’t stop at DJing however, he also plays a central role in running the labels Offen Music and Loco Dice’s label, Desolat. We’re thrilled to present Vladimir’s own city guide for Dusseldorf, complete with a dark and experimental mix of 100% local music, and an extensive and oft wryly-written guide of what the city had to offer. 

Check out the map above and interview below for Vladimir’s favourite spots, while you listen to a 100% Dusseldorf mix.


Favourite place to buy records?

My favourite place to buy records is Hitsville. The store exists since 31 years, and Ralf who owns it today started to work there 25 years ago. So besides friendly service there is lots of knowledge. There is fine balance between new releases and 2nd hand: punk, rock, pop, reggae, kraut, jazz, techno, house… each have their little sections.

Worth mentioning as another store in the city is A&O Medien. There you’ll find mew release on vinyl and CD, music books, DVDs and more.

Slowboy shop and gallery closed recently, but the music department should open soon somewhere. Until then check their online shop.

Favourite live music venue?

There are always nice concerts and performances at Salon des Amateurs. Zakk is cultural centre established in 1977. Place for discussions, spoken word, concerts and more in an old factory building. Loud live music in AK47, Düsseldorf’s punk rock club no.1. Stone is located in a legendary Rattinger Hof. There are concerts and a chance to meet ghosts of exciting times when Rattinger Hof was artist bar or later the place where punk first happened in Germany.

Then there is Tonhalle a concert hall in a beautiful former planetarium built in 1925, home of Düsseldorfer Symphoniker.

Best soundsystem / favourite club?

Salon des Amateurs. Our home and breeding ground for many good things that happened in the last 13 years. Toulouse Low Tracks, Lena Willikens, Jan Schulte, Rearview Radio… you’ll hear them there. Jondo, DJ Normal 4 and the Aiwo posse are never far away. And there are wonderful guest artists.

Then there is Golzheim, proper club where you’ll most likely hear good house and techno.

Best parties in the city?

Salon des Amateurs, Fridays and Saturdays. ‘Desolat im Salon’ on Sundays, when it happens. ‘Music Is’ at Golzheim. There are ‘Something parties‘ in Tanzhaus NRW. There is also Kiesgrube in Neuss. It’s very close to Düsseldorf, and a perfect place for people into some kind of Ibiza techhouse sound and crowd. It takes place on a sunny Sundays from April until September. But when you visit the city it’s always good to ask someone at the Salon, check flyer and poster at Hitsville, talk to people and find out where is something nice happening. And there is annual Open Source Festival with it’s fine diverse program. This year you can attend on 8th of July.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 09.59.54

Best view of the city?

There are few places that offer best view of the city  – depending on what you want to see. Rhine Tower Rheinturm with it’s 240,50 meter is the highest building in the city and obvious choice if you want to spend 9 EUR to get to the top. The terrace of Tonhalle offers a nice view in summer. Sitting on a Rhine wall in front of Fortuna Büdchen can be interesting. There is great view from Skulpturengang of Kunstakademie, which is located in the Altstadt.

Favourite Cafe’s and Restaurants?

There are lots of places, so this is just small personal selection..

Zur Sennhütte, quite small place, friendly staff, great food.  Recent highlights: Rote-Beete-Carpaccio & Semmelknödel mit Wirsing & Trüffel. Check Papella, New Georgian restaurant & Bar. When you’re there, also visit Solobar and check some of their exotic cocktails. Bar Olio, Italian bar / restaurant with tasty food, fine staff and interesting mixture of guests. There are  several good Japanese places around Immermannstr. like Naniwa Sushi or Takumi for probably best Ramen in town. If you’re not into Japanese food, but into toys, street art, caps, and urban wear, pizza and burger you’ll find then at What’s Beef and What’s Pizza. Proper Napoli pizza you’ll find at Di Napoli and more burgers at Feuerstein’s. Simple fresh vegan food for nice prices you’ll find at Butze and simple tasty falafel for unbeatable 2.50 EUR at Falafel ala Kefak – they sell falafel from a trailer located at the front of their future restaurant. Leopold Wagner is 86 and his Poldi, if you’re into authentic Wiener Schnitzel you’ll have quite unique experience there.

Is there somewhere you like going to escape the hustle and bustle and take some time away for yourself?

The best place to escape the city is a walk through Grafenberger Wald, a run around Unterbacher See. There are also kite and surfing opportunities if you travel with your board, maybe a meadow at Volksgarten park. Also you can just go to the Rhine river and walk in the direction of Kaiserswerth.

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Best place to experience something unique to Düsseldorf?

Best place to experience something unique to Düsseldorf is Königsalle also known as Kö. Lots of people of Düsseldorf are proud of their city centre boulevard, mainly for it’s luxury shops. But Kö is also Düsseldorf in a nutshell if you sit somewhere and observe.

First thing you miss after leaving Düsseldorf?

Friends, but they are not things… So maybe this mixture of everything there and not too hectic.

Best place to see another medium other than music?

Düsseldorf offers solid amount of galleries, museums and exhibitions like Kunsthalle, Julia Stoschek Collection, K20, K21, NRW Forum, Black Box cinema in Film Museum. There is also Kiefernstr. with it’s history, former occupied houses and painted fronts.

What are your favourite shops for things other than music?

My favourite shops for other things than music are Walther König and Müller & Bohm book stores. There is Vintage Gallerie Vaseline with it’s objects of virtu . Very close to here is Carlsplatz market with it’s fresh food and gastronomy. Don’t miss falafel at Falafel Haus, but feel free to try everything else like gluten free specials at 100% No Glu or italian food at Casa Cortilla.

What’s your favourite street to walk along and why?

In the right mood and when in doubt, Königsalle.

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Are there any markets in your city worth checking out?

There is the already mentioned Carlsplatz. There are flea markets like P1 at LTU Arena with up to 1000 exhibitors / participants and Radschlägermarkt. They take place once every month from march until autumn. Little record fair takes place at Bürgerhaus Reisholz. Considering the fact that Düsseldorf has something like 2 record stores left, Reisholz is a little music market where you’ll meet local collectors and sellers and practice some digging. Check the dates here. Street Food Thursday at Stahlwerk takes place on every first Thursday of the months begins in April and it’s interesting for it’s local and regional food trucks and mobile kitchen. Worth checking for markets is also Boui Boui Bilk.

Where will you find the friendliest, most interesting locals to have a chat with?

Friendliest most interesting locals to have a chat with can be found at Salon des Amateurs. Other authentic locals are at brewhouses at kiosks.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Düsseldorf?

Good thing about Düsseldorf is that everything you need is basically around the corner. It’s sorted. Airport is close and you can easily escape the city. Düsseldorf is far from trends and trendy pressure, so that ideas and things have time to develop.

Not so good is Düsseldorf’s very unique pace between slow and stopping. There is lack of free space and most of city’s offerings are quite generic.

Who’s doing good things for Düsseldorf music right now, who you’d like to shout out?

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by talented people and there is so much good happening now. The circle with Salon des Amateurs in it’s centre. There are something like 3 generations of artists that emerged in the last 13 years: from Toulouse Low Trax, Stefan Schneider, Stefan Schwander with all his projects, Lena Willikens (now based in Köln, but who cares), Jan Schulte, Themes For Great Cities, Stabil Elite, Bar, Normal 4 and Aiwo posse, Offen Music. Loco Dice’s Desolat. Marcel Koch for his record finds. There are new kids like Haut & Knochen who are organizing parties and basically doing their thing. There is lots of exchange and that’s definitely the best about the city.

Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us? Where and how did you record it, what was the idea behind?

The mix was recorded at home with 2 turntables and one CD player for that one unreleased Gordon Pohl track (that will be released at some point). The idea was to wait until all the useless ideas disappear – like recording Kraftwerk or Propaganda or DAF or Kraut… mix. All that is covered quite well and there is even a glimpse into obscure Düsseldorf tape scene on ‘Elektronische Kassettenmusik, Düsseldorf 1982 – 1989’ released recently on Bureau B – and record something when I’m not really aware of „City Guide“. The mix is a reflection my Düsseldorf the way I play it. Lots of great tracks are missing, but they also fit a different mood than the one I had in those 80 minutes of recording it.

And finally, what’s in the horizon for you in terms of live dates or releases we should look out for?

There is Smagghe & Cross’s debut album ‘MA, which will be released on my label Offen Music on 27th of March this year. One 10inch will follow, then a 12inch by Beck, Nash, Reyenga that will close one long circle in my life. I’m really looking forward to it.

There are exciting clubs and festivals ahead: on the 25th of March is Dampfzentrale Bern with Toulouse Low Tracks, 30th Amrch, Listen! in Brussels, 31st March is The Waiting Room London with Ivan Smagghe, 1st April Bunker Turin with Young Marco and so on, 8th April 4 De School for WMMF, 15th April The 20/44 Boat birthday party in Belgrade with Lena Willikens and Ivan Smagghe and I’m looking forward to play b2b with Lena when a bunch of Salon des Amateurs play in Köln at Studio 672 on 30th April.


Maria Zerfall  – Es ist nicht leicht
Toresch – Mojole
Phillip Schulze und Detlef Weinrich – 2015
Neustadt – Neustadt
Der Plan – Leb doch
Toulouse Low Trax – Geo Scan
Toulouse Low Trax – Wooden Words
Toulouse Low Trax – Gang 6
Gordon Pohl – Going (Voxmix)
Francisco Estévez – Phonoson für Flöte, Gitarre, Klavier und elektronische Modulationsgeräte
AI – Anima Itako
Kreidler – Mars Chronicles IV Lo Firer Esplendor
Tolouse Low Trax – Late
The Mogs – Kelly Blame (*ph 606 Inst. Version)


Source: Gemma Bell

Printworks London, surely now needing no introduction from us, played host to the pre-party for Junction 2 festival which is fast approaching, this coming June, where we were treated to a momentous 8-hour marathon set from Drumcode label boss, Adam Beyer.

Having never witnessed a bad set from Adam, I knew this was going to be something truly special. Adam didn’t only play an incredible set, he really took the crowd on a journey, ploughing through an impressive selection of the best house and techno, as you would come to expect, but also introducing some key classics; which was unexpected and not something I’ve seen him do before.

Dropping some absolute bombs such as Prodigy’s ‘Outer Space’, and Faithless’ ‘We Come One’, it was a welcome surprise and obviously went down an absolute storm. To see a techno heavy crowd sing the lyrics to Prodigy’s ‘Outer Space’ in a space like Printworks is something I don’t think I will ever witness again. This was definitely one of those ‘I Was There’ moments. Hearing the buzz amongst the crowd throughout the day, and as they filtered out of the exit, “One Of The Best Sets Ever” seemed to be a fairly accurate statement. Ending the day on an absolute high, he clocks out on The Stone Roses ‘Fools Gold’. We salute you Adam, you absolutely smashed it!

Source: Gemma Bell

Often with an extended set, it’s not uncommon for there to be that slow middle hour or two where you find yourself visiting the bar or smoking area. That certainly wasn’t the case here with the dance floor constantly packed out with no one wanting to miss a single moment.

Speaking to Adam directly after his performance, he said: “I Put A Lot Of Heart And Soul Into It”. Which was clearly obvious. He really gave everything he had and carried that room through an energetic and memorable ride.

If you did happen to miss out, thankfully Mixmag was on hand to record and live stream a select three hours. You can watch this back here; Mixmag Live

Source: Gemma Bell

Adam Beyer is not only a firm fan of the calibre of events that LWE orchestrate, but he is also an active partner within Junction 2 festival. And if this ‘pre-party’ set was anything to go by, then Junction 2 looks like it’s going to be another unmissable event. Again!

Adam will be playing alongside a long list of techno giants and emerging talent. Check out the full line up and the stage splits which have just been announced today!

Source: Promo

Spanning across 5 separate stages and bespoke spaces, Junction 2 will keep the focus on quality music and unparalleled production and sound quality. Hosted at Boston Manor Park, under the M4 motorway, it will be transformed into a unique and industrial utopia. For anyone looking for that next level festival experience, this one is for you.

The stages will be hosted by, Drumcode, SONUS, The Hydra, LWE Warehouse (In Association With Relentless), and Into The Woods (In Association With Frontier). Each one designed to offer an exclusive and amazing experience.

The LWE team speak ahead of this much-anticipated event;

“When We First Found The Junction 2 Site Last Year, We Sensed We Were Onto Something Special. And Looking At That Extraordinary Space Under The M4 And The Parkland Surrounding It, We Just Knew That An Incredible Crowd And Heavyweight Sound Levels Could Create Something Truly Amazing.

The Only Thing Making Us Nervous About Junction 2 In 2017 Is Living Up To The Expectations Set By 2016. We’ve Been Thinking Hard About How To Replicate That Atmosphere, And The Overriding Conclusion We Came To Was That The Magic Ingredient Was The Crowd. Yes, You Lovely People Who Trusted Us, Had Faith And Came And Danced With Us At Junction 2.”

If you need any further persuading, watch Junction 2’s 2016 goosebump-inducing after movie here; Junction 2 2016 After Movie

Tier 1 and 2 tickets have now sold out, with Tier 3 now on sale. You can buy them directly through Ticket Tannoy here; Junction 2 Tickets

Junction 2 takes place on Saturday 10th June at Boston Manor Park.

Check out the gallery below for pictures from the pre-party warm-up at Printworks.

John Williams has just won his 23rd Grammy Award for Best Score (and they played the wrong music)

As if celebrating his 85th birthday last week wasn’t enough, legendary film music composer John Williams has just picked up his 23rd Grammy Award for his score for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

In the non-televised part of the Grammys broadcast, Williams picked up his 23rd Grammy and his fifth for a Star Wars film (after winning three for A New Hope and one for The Empire Strikes Back).

Williams wasn’t on hand to collect his award in person, but comedian Margaret Cho accepted on his behalf (after the band inexplicably played a small excerpt from ‘Live And Let Die’). Witness the strangeness here.

The win follows news that Williams is already scoring and recording his soundtrack for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, so that director Rian Johnson is able to edit the movie with music in place.

It was a big night for movie soundtracks elsewhere too, as Justin Hurwitz’s score for La La Land took home the Bafta for best soundtrack.

The clock is ticking for Spotify

It’s amazing to think that just 10 years ago, flat-rate digital music streaming services were a mere gleam in the eye of industry executives.

It was as recently as September 2007 that Rick Rubin, then co-head of Columbia Records, put forward the idea as a way of combating online music piracy and file-sharing.

“You’d pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come from anywhere you’d like,” he told the New York Times.

“In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cell phone, from your computer, from your television.”

As it turned out, he was essentially describing Spotify, which launched just over a year later.

He even got the price right. In those heady days, when the pound was a lot stronger, $19.95 was equivalent to £10, which, give or take a penny, is the monthly cost of Spotify Premium in the UK today.

But Spotify is yet to make a profit, while plans to float the firm on the stock market have reportedly been delayed, raising a big question mark over its business model.

Industry accolade

Of course, Spotify isn’t the only streaming platform out there. Others have joined it over the past decade, including Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music and Deezer, as well as high-resolution music services Tidal and Qobuz.

But Spotify is seen as the leader, with more than 100 million users, 40 million of them paid-up subscribers to its Premium tier.

Daniel EkImage copyrightAFP
Image captionSpotify’s Daniel Ek is now the music industry’s most powerful player, says Billboard

The Swedish firm is now a major player in 60 countries, including the world’s biggest music market, the US, where streaming accounted for 51% of music consumption last year.

Reflecting the huge impact that Spotify has had, its chief executive, Daniel Ek, has just topped US music industry magazine Billboard’s latest Power 100 list of the biggest movers and shakers in the business.

“For the first time since [former file-sharing service] Napster decimated music sales, the recorded music industry is showing signs of growth, and that reversal of fortune is largely due to one man,” Billboard said in its citation.

The magazine also hailed Spotify as “the place fans discover music as well as consume it”, pointing to its promoted playlists, including its Discover Weekly service.

Royalty woes

However, the clock is ticking for Spotify as it hatches its plans to go public.

The firm originally planned to float this year, but according to the TechCrunch website, this could now be delayed until 2018.

There are various issues behind this move, not least of which is that Spotify needs to conclude new long-term licensing deals with the big three record companies – Universal, Sony and Warner – to avoid the risk of suddenly losing major chunks of its content.

It’s thought that Spotify currently pays 55% of its revenue to record labels in royalties, with additional money going to music publishers.

In the interest of finally becoming a profitable company, it would like to lower that percentage, but this is unlikely to go down well with artists, who argue that the royalties they receive from streaming are unfairly low as it is.

Brutal arithmetic

But if it waits too long before floating, it could face a serious cash crisis.

In March last year, the firm raised $1bn from investors at an interest rate of 5% a year, plus a discount of 20% on shares once the initial public offering (IPO) of shares takes place.

Spotify appImage copyrightAFP
Image captionIs Spotify now too big to fail?

However, under the terms of the agreement, the interest rate goes up by one percentage point and the discount by 2.5 percentage points every six months until the IPO happens.

So as time goes on, Spotify must pay ever larger sums to its creditors just to settle the interest on its loan, while the amount of money it can raise from its IPO is trimmed by an ever greater amount.

Unless Mr Ek can get the better of this brutal arithmetic, the future looks tough for Spotify.

But at the same time, as Billboard says, “the entire music business now has an interest in its success”.

“If it’s not already too big to fail, it’s headed in that direction quickly,” concludes the magazine.

‘La La Land’ Composer Justin Hurwitz Created 1,900 Piano Demos To Find Just the Right Melodies: Awards Spotlight

The Oscar-nominated musician breaks down his exhaustive collaboration with director Damien Chazelle.