Spotify, Free Music, and Other Updates 1.7.14

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’ve added some tour dates to the calendar for the year and they begin THIS SATURDAY, January 10th, at the Grape Room in Philly!  It’ll be a fun hometown show with some great friends and great artists sharing the bill.  Hope you guys can make it out.  The Noble Steed and Buncearoo families have also released some Off The Record tour dates leading up to the big festival happening March 13th – 15th in Charleston, SC (get your tickets here —> Off The Record 2015) !

March 7th: Tin Angel in Philly, PA [Line-up includes Tony Lucca, Rachel Platten, and Keaton Simons]

March 8th: Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA [Lucca, Platten, Simons, and Matt Duke]

March 10th: Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA [Lucca, Platten, Simons, Duke, and Andrea Nardello]

March 11th: The Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC [Lucca, Platten, Simons, Duke, and Nardello]

*Note that I’m NOT a part of the Philly date on the 7th. Sorry about that! ;(

The Leave a Lasting Mark Concert Series is also putting on a killer show on January 21st in NYC!  The proceeds go to benefit an amazing non-profit called The M.I.L.E. and I’ll be performing along with some other fantastic artists like Mr. Tony Lucca and Mrs. Andrea Nardello!  Click on the link for more details —> LALM Presents “Memphis Soul!”

Andrea Nardello and I will also be hitting the road in May for a couple of dates.  While we have a few days off between Chicago and Pittsburgh, the awesome website Fanswell is helping us to book some house concerts in the meantime!  You’ll notice that we’ve limited our range to the Ohio/Indiana/West Virginia range, but that’s not exactly true!  If you’re even remotely in the Midwest, MidAtlantic, or Central regions, feel free to contact us for THE MOST EPIC HOUSE CONCERT OF ALL TIME!

In other news, some of you have noticed that the album singer/songwriter is not available through Spotify.  The reason is simple: I took it down.  I’d love to say that Taylor Swift made me do it, but for quite some time I have not been a supporter of Spotify or its business model and so I’ve removed my latest album from its playlist.  If you like music streaming services such as Spotify or Pandora, trust me, I don’t blame you!  It might very well be the beginning of a new era in music entirely and perhaps I’ll be left to bite its dust.  But at the risk of sounding like I’m up on a soapbox, I believe that the model is inherently flawed and unfair with the haves growing richer and the struggling artists left with little but some false hope and a pittance for mechanical royalties.  It’s one thing if Radiohead doesn’t want to be a part of it, but artists like myself are left with little choice and Spotify is becoming the obvious platform for people that want to be heard.  Songwriters are heading to D.C. to fight for better pay and more rights when it comes to the music we release, but it will take more than a few stand-ins to invoke any real change.  The core of Spotify is its enormous catalog of music…and so I’ve taken mine back.  Plus, if I truly feel the way that I feel than I shouldn’t be a hypocrite about it and just let my music sit there while I bitch (kind of like when someone bitches about the President or Congress and it turns out they didn’t vote last term).

If you dig Spotify, like I said, that’s perfectly cool with me.  The question about singer/songwriter‘s absence on Spotify actually came from someone who I know owns a copy of the album – he just simply uses the streaming service as a convenient way to listen to playlists, etc.  I get it.  And if you’re strapped for cash and can’t afford to be spending a ton of money on music these days, therefore making Spotify the next best thing, I don’t begrudge you for that either.  In fact, I realize that by doing this, I may be the odd man out, but that’s just how I feel and I’d like to stick to my principles.  You might also notice, however, that albums like Kingdom Underground and One Day Die are still up there…I don’t own those masters, so I don’t have the right to pull them down just yet.  That’s an explanation for another day, but it’s all good.  Feel free to throw those on your playlist!

So your follow-up question is probably, “Why is Matt Duke such a dick?”  That’s fair.  But it’s only HALF true!  The reason I was inspired to write this blog entry wasn’t just because I was asked about Spotify, but also because of what has happened recently in the news.  Ya know, all of the bad, awful, terrible, no-good, shitty things that have been happening all over this country and abroad?  And to think, I (and everyone else I know) was so naive at the start of the new year to think, “This year is a clean slate!  We can make it better!” and then a French Magazine company suffers a massacre at the hands of terrorists…

Though my face grew red, my breathing quickened, and I felt like I could tear my computer in half in that moment, I needed to think of something that would counterbalance my unadulterated rage and despair.  And I’ll be honest, I can feel it…despair.  Everywhere.  It’s everywhere anymore.  But then I look out my window and I notice an old man has started shoveling snow from off of my sidewalk for no apparent reason, but maybe to be a nice person.  My wife made me coffee this morning – that’s fucking awesome, as usual.  Between pointless rants and ridiculous selfies, I see Facebook posts that are sharing community pages to help those in need…posts about gratitude…viral videos of good samaritans helping the homeless during the holidays, through the cold weather…

I look through my own Facebook page and realize that I’ve had a lot of support throughout my career and I should be very, very grateful.  Because aside from all of the little things here and there, to be an artist – No! – to be an artist surrounded by a community of fans and supporters and music enthusiasts like I have makes my job easy.  I’ve never taken it for granted, but it’s overwhelming when I’m reminded of it from time to time – especially during times such as these.  I’m really, really, really lucky.  So thank you. 😉

The art and a career in music only ever really needed one or two encouraging people to help get things started, to help forge the path and kindle the fire in the artist’s heart.  Mine were my parents and sisters, a music director from my grade school, and, of course, the friends I made a long the way.  All of those people (specifically my folks, the music director, and my best bud Brendan Lafferty [and sister, Ellen]) were instrumental in helping to put together my very first demo/EP that I released back in 2004.  “Released” might not be the right word, but people heard it – one way or another.  So as a thank you and a way to kick off the new year, go ahead and download the first piece of art I ever recorded.  I’ll keep it up for a week or so, so tell all of your friends as well.  Don’t be scared at what you hear either – I’ve come a long way since 2004, but it’s only fair that you hear where everything started.  I’m very proud of it, even to this day. 😉

The Floating Mass Demo/Major Joke EP

I love you all.  Happy New Year and continue to live right, live happily, and live with lots of love.

Matt