Art, Branding, Concept, Graphic Design, Music

Midival Knievel


Coming Soon to Spotify

An electronic homage to the band Queen. Most importantly, dedicated to all the Queens. You know who you are.

Business Model Innovation for Spotify Artists

The traditional path of 10,000 hours spent mastering the craft of songwriting and music production no longer seem to make sense for the vast majority of musicians, who will go largely unfunded if they don’t find a means of breaking into elusive realms of mass popularity—the intractable reality of Pareto distribution. Midival Knievel: Queen is the first in a series of experimental releases designed to push the boundaries of the Spotify model, helping to redefine the type of music content that can succeed on the platform.

There is no shortage of complaints about the many shortfalls of the streaming industry when it comes to the livelihoods of artists. Those who embrace new methods of production which compliment these new realities will find more success than those who continue down conventional paths, which have long ago been disrupted. Fundamentally, platforms like Spotify represent completely new distribution models and therefore call for completely new forms of art. Spending hundreds of hours writing and recording an album just to place it on Spotify is simply bad economics, since streaming cannibalizes the bottom line for all but the very few at the top.

Most “indie” artists should use Spotify for free marketing, and not a home for their entire body of work. Create unique work for Spotify which is targeted to visible metrics of popularity, in order to get in the algorithms in mainstream use, and the mindshare of listeners. Once they find you they will want more, and the very best content lives elsewhere. Put the best product behind a paywall, setting your own price for premium content. The “long tail” model can still work on platforms that support fair revenues for artists that don’t have a high volume of listeners.

Q: If the volume of streams is the most important variable to significant monetization on Spotify, “How Might We” re-think what type of music to produce for the desired outcome of maximal profit?

A: By capturing audience share around what is already being played on the platform, but in a fresh new way.

Millions of streams of Queen’s songs take place on streaming platforms every week—iconic recordings everyone is extremely familiar with.

“Open Source” versions of these popular songs exist in MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) format. By using these MIDI files as a starting point, producers can capture the DNA of a great song, without concern for violating the copyright intrinsic to the original recording. Since Fair Use allows artists to create new derivative work from existing copyright, artists can now in essence “reverse cannibalize” from the most popular songs, as a strategy to break through the noise on streaming platforms.

Once inside the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) MIDI data can be parsed and re-rendered at the molecular level in endless new combinations. Note information originally intended for one type of instrument can be re-assigned to another. Drum patterns can be extracted from one song and added to the baseline of another. New & modern timbres can revitalize the classic riffs from past decades. Queen can be combined with Metallica and Miles Davis. Classical Baroque music of the 17th century can easily be re-imagined as downtempo electronica with very little overhead. The possibilities are endless, and the sky is truly the limit!

The Midival Knievel moniker is a hybrid mashup of the following three concepts: MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), famous motorcycle stunt performer Evel Knievel (1938-2007), and a play on the word “Medieval”, the period between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance; also connoting old fashioned primitive behavior, culture or beliefs.