Castles In Space vs. Hattie Cooke

I’m sure some of you have been following this. It’s all a bit depressing really.

My original reading of it was that CiS terminated Hattie Cooke’s contract because she wanted to upload her latest record to Spotify and the label didn’t want that to take away from physical sales. I don’t really believe digital distribution actually has this effect but anyway. I can sort of understand that.

After the initial spat kicked off on Twitter. Lot’s of artists came out defending CiS, pointing out how nice the founder is etc., seemingly ignorant of the fact that nice people can do bad stuff. This all seemed a bit weird imo.

The whole thing has now descended into a stalemate in that before Hattie accepts closing payments for her LP, she wants to see invoices for the production of the record. So now CiS is saying ‘I have your money, here it is’ and Hattie is essentially saying ’ How do I know that is what I’m owed if I can’t see the receipts?’

There’s loads of other stuff entangled in it too.

Statement from Hattie:

Recent thread from CiS:

Anyone else attempting to keep up with this?

Has been some discussion in this thread. Linking to join the dots for people

https://community.drownedinsound.com/t/have-you-quit-spotify/64006/239

Ah, thanks @sean - I missed that.

I have been keeping up with it, increasingly sad to watch though. I think what I’m taking from it is that there was an initial clash of personalities and since then a host of miscommunications and escalating defensiveness.

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i know we’re in the middle of a mini Spotify exodus and a streaming reckoning and stuff, but i feel like the idea of a record selling better if it’s not on Spotify is probably not really true?

like for every person who decides not to buy it because they can just stream it, there will be someone who checks it out because it’s streaming and decides to buy it as a result?

think artists/labels are obviously entitled not to put their music on streaming services for a variety of reasons but i feel like that reason is a bit outdated?

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That email where Colin actually said to Hattie “you’re doing my head in” - so unprofessional.

I can’t see why there would be issues sending Hattie receipts? Does Colin not have them, or is he trying to hide something? Surely you wouldn’t get away with that shit in other industries?

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CiS does seem to be different from a lot of independent labels in that they intentionally restrict what you can preview or stream from their releases, even on Bandcamp. The records they release frequently end up being flipped on Discogs for silly money, not that that’s really their fault as such but it is a knock-on effect of making scarcity part of your business model.

From a completely personal perspective that kind of thing puts me off - I might listen to two tracks from an album and one of them isn’t doing all that much for me, so why would i go and buy it? Whereas if I streamed the whole thing i might think ‘this is great’.
But I can definitely see how it might work the other way too I guess.

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Good idea starting a thread for this as it seems to be getting more protracted. It’s really depressing to see the snarky comments from CiS fans / artists towards Hattie - just completely unnecessary and unhelpful.

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i’m kinda the same. Drag City do this on Bandcamp and it’s fair enough but it wasn’t until they eventually embraced streaming services that i started checking out their catalogue and buying lots of it

(i say that as someone who buys a lot of stuff and doesn’t stream everything 24/7, but i do like to try before i buy)

I haven’t paid too much close attention to this, but I think Colin could have fixed what looks to have been a miscommunication much earlier and the fact that he keeps getting on the defensive (to some extent, understandable) and retweeting some stuff with imo a pretty malicious slant to it (totally fucking unnecessary) is slowly eroding the sympathy I had for his own situation in this. I don’t doubt the testimonies of other artists who have happily worked with him, but this whole thing just reeks of stubbornness and unprofessionalism imo.

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i’ve never heard of either the artist or the label before so i have no side to pick and wasn’t sure who to believe from their initial statements.

but it looks like this all stems from him telling her telling her she can put the record on Spotify if she wants to, her then putting it on Spotify and him then kicking off that she’s put it on Spotify?

in which case the guy is a penis.

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It’s a case study in why you should avoid “no worries if not”

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Yeah. I think it’s ‘not really true’. But I totally understand that CiS wants to operate as a non-Spotify label.

In my minimal experience, my best selling (lol) records across the board are the ones that include digital distribution. The first thing I thought when I saw CiS’s reason for not letting Hattie put it on there was that it seemed an outdated opinion. If you whittle down music distro to being purely about sales, surely the majority of labels would not be putting their records on to Spotify for the reason CiS points out. But as it stands, CiS is very much in the minority.

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Yeah, I’d never ever write that to a client. And plays into the ‘stop being a crazy woman’ bullshit trope.

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always feels a bit off in a dispute when people come out praising their friend when they had no involvement in the situation at hand or know anything about it, and even moreso when the person then retweets all of it

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It does raise the issue of how informal a lot of label/artist relationships are, and how much label owners realise that the onus is kind of on them to handle any issues or questions that come up.
From his explanation of what transpired, it seems to translate as: she asked about things that other artists on the label didn’t, and he saw that as outright distrust or disrespect.

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As someone quite integrated into that scene (I’ve met and gigged with various CiS artists), it’s making me feel a bit on edge. I’ve been (amicably) on both sides of the equation via the Disintegration State label and releasing with other folks and I can just imagine how minor frictions can escalate to where you have folks from the scene digging up misogynist tropes or comparing you to their domestically abusive grandfather.

Feels like both sides are digging their heels in now rather than allowing any nuance in their respective experience of events.

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This is important context I think. Posted something similar in the private DisState thread which expands on what I wrote above.

I’ve been on both sides of the equation working through things like streaming, coordination of release timings on different labels, and artist expectations. Albeit a couple of tiers down from CiS in terms of exposure and scale. It’s stressful and that whole community is so interwoven (which perhaps breeds cliques) and based on mutual support, which is cool but also fragile as this episode has shown.

There are days when seeing a cassette sale come in brings on immediate dread because fulfilling it is the tipping point in the delicate balance of work, parenting, marriage, music, housework, etc. When things get challenging with an artist (never to this degree and never with DiS users but we’ve had our moments) it’s just the worst. It’s so easy for requests for updates to slide into feeling like your being hassled or badgered.

All of which is to say that I have a little bit of empathy for the “no worries if not” approach on streaming. By then yer man’s presumably made a sizeable investment in the release and is trying to avoid friction with the artist by not outright saying ‘no’ but really trying to bring them round to at least not doing it for a while after release.

Whenever I’m pitching to another label I always go heavy on the NWIN element as the artist because I know what it’s like from the other side where you’re investing time and money in a release against the background of all the other stuff in your life.

I don’t mean that to be a defence of Colin or a criticism of Hattie. Just some context for how it might arise even with the best of intentions.

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Think this is a stretch tbh. You are entitled to tell someone they are doing your head in in personal correspondence. It might not be particularly professional, or even justified, but don’t think it’s sexist. Agree with @Twinkletoes in that it seems to be one of those situations where both parties have got a reasonable point of view, but now it’s gone the social media route both sides are totally entrenched and loads of random people are wading in and making the situation worse.

Anecdotally I know a couple of people who have put records out on CiS and have not had any issues whatsoever. They also do not have a reputation as a rip off label (quite the opposite). Does certainly look like they could have handled this particular situation better though

for me, huge CIS fan they put out some brilliant and unique releases and Hattie Cooke album last year was a real highlight. This all feels sad and unnecessarily public, relations btwn artist and label are not always going to work not sure them both posting emails and legal notices on twitter is going to help anyone.

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