It wasn’t long ago we discussed how streaming algorithms are more likely to pick male artists over female artists, with 7 songs played by male artists to every 1 song by a woman. But this isn’t the only problem with streaming platforms. The amount of money per stream an artist gets is miniscule, though it does change per platform, it is roughly £0.007 per stream. To make a pound, a song would need to be streamed 142.8 times.
East London singer-songwriter MIRI has exclusively released her new single Trends on the pay-as-you-go platform Sonstream, a week ahead of release on the usual mainstream providers. MIRI has been outspoken in her support for the ‘fair play’ platform, which offers independent artists an ethical alternative to the miniscule royalties offered by streaming giants such as Spotify and Tidal.
MIRI, how would you describe your sound? Who is MIRI?
I once heard my sound being described as dirty pop which I quite like. I grew up listening to artists like Tracy Chapman and Sheryl Crow so there’s definitely a singer/songwriter feel at the core of what I do. I’d say a soulful element too. I’m a music maker that uses my platform to talk about equality, LGBTQ+ issues and people power.
What inspired you to write Trends?
I co-wrote Trends with a musician friend of mine back when I was listening to a lot of Vampire Weekend. At the time I didn’t have a song that I could perform at a festival to get the crowd going. That’s how Trends came about. I put down some chords and my friend Dan came up with that great guitar hook. I knew I wanted the chorus to be easy going melodically and catchy lyrically for the crowds to sing along.
How would you say Trends varies from your other songs like Just Breathe or Electric Vibes?
Each song I’ve written at a different stage of my life. Trends is the oldest even though it’s my latest release. I’m continuing to hone my recording sound. I feel with each recording I’m getting closer so I’d say that’s how Trends varies from the other two. It’s also a co-write. Just Breathe and Electric Vibes I wrote on my own.
What was your recording experience like for Trends?
It was like a holiday. I find recording such a luxury! For my recent releases I’ve been working with producer and mix engineer Simon Willey. Si is now based in Bath so I went down to Ashley Manor studio (not far from there) for a few days to record vocals and finish the track. It felt so good to be out of London and it had been the first time in a few months that I’d had a moment to be still. I remember snacking quite a bit. Wish I could live that recording life for a month or two.
How can people support independent artists such as yourselves?
Sharing my music with friends and on socials is a great way to support and it’s absolutely free. Streaming my music on ethical platforms like Sonstream as well as the bigger platforms, buying merch and coming to gigs where possible. I’m also on a site called Ko-Fi where fans can make a donation. It’s similar to patreon and has a great community of creators.
Not only are you an artist, you are a big voice in activism too. You are very passionate about creating safe spaces for everyone and uplifting others. From working with The F-List as a social media ambassador, LGBTQ+ Ambassador for Women in CTRL, what does it mean to you to be involved with these incredible organisations?
It feels huge and such a privilege to be involved with these two incredible organisations. It also provides me the opportunity to take action. It’s important to be able to vent and talk about all that is not right in our industry but taking action and making noise is how we cultivate change.
What advice would you give to women and gender minorities who want to get involved in activism?
There’s so much that can upset me about the world, so much injustice. It’s important to remember that you can’t do i
t all and that there are good people out there fighting the causes that you may not be able to take on. Follow the causes that really resonate with you and that you feel you can invest your time and energy into. Make sure to rest and don’t feel guilty or bad that you can’t be at every protest or event. Your path is unique to you so take your time to find your way and follow your instinct.
You’ve chosen to release Trends on ethical streaming platform Sonstream first, with it being released on mainstream platforms on the 26th November. Ethical streaming platforms could be a huge game changer for independent artists like yourself. What was the final straw that led you to use Sonstream for this release?
When I couldn’t gig in lockdown and came across Sonstream I realised how much money I could be making from streaming. I hadn’t thought about it before. I wanted to shout about Sonstream and highlight to independent artists like myself that there is an alternative. I also saw it as a helpful way to bring in some extra income for the holiday season. I still have my music on the larger sites because they help me reach larger audiences but I need to pay my bills and if people can stream my music on Sonstream the money from those streams will go straight to me.
How would you like to see the music industry change?
Artists getting paid fairly for streaming would be a start and I’d like the industry to not be ageist towards women. I do a bit of youth work and love supporting young people develop creatively and personally. Though it reminds me that hitting a certain age doesn’t mean we don’t need further development or at times a mentor. As artists our age shouldn’t make us less musically desirable to the world. I love Patti Smith and Cyndi Lauper. Patti Smith is one of my all time favourite live performers and I first saw her perform when she was 68. I remember thinking, I don’t need to restrict myself. I felt inspired. It’s never too late. Getting older is beautiful and can bring so much to what we do creatively.
What female and gender minority artists are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to Norwegian pop artist Dagny. Her music helps lift my mood and keeps me motivated at the gym. Also loving MUNA and an artist called Anna Leone. Anna Leone’s ‘My Soul I’ is beautifully dreamy.
What is next for MIRI?
I’m currently waiting to hear back from some funding applications (fingers crossed). The funding would enable me to record new music. I’m also keen to secure more sync licensing deals. I’ve been a little stressed recently; being a self employed musician isn’t always a straightforward hustle but I keep the faith and keep following my joy and the musica.
Thank you for talking to me MIRI, it is always a pleasure!
Stream Trends here: