Anonhi on streaming services: ‘I feel like a house cat that has been declawed’

Singer also regrets agreeing to music video featuring Naomi Campbell

Anohni, the artist formerly known as Antony & The Johnsons, has hit out at Apple Music and streaming services.

The singer blasted artist partnerships with multinational corporations and huge companies.

“Musicians have been stripped of the ability to effectively sell our music as an object,” she said.

“Now we are being herded into all these shady situations. So, now, say the focus of your music is social justice – social justice becomes a big part of your ‘brand’. You do some TV shows and get lots of followers on Twitter. As soon as you have enough followers, the corporations come knocking to rent out your brand, which they then turn around and use as a pheromone to sell their products. You use that money to make a music video and pay your recording costs.”

She continued: “But now your record has a logo for Nike or Apple on the back. Do we really want to front for these multinationals? It’s been such an insidious transfer of our agency. Having diverted our income streams into their own pockets, they now siphon the ‘lucky’ ones back a tiny lifeline of resources to keep us going. And by taking the bait, our credibility is conjoined with that corporation and their business practices. It’s exhausting. You see artists hailed as a new generation of independents, only to be enlisted to leverage product.”

The singer also said she regretted agreeing to a do a video for ‘Drone Bomb Me’ with Naomi Campbell funded by Apple, earlier this year.

She told The Creative Independent: “It was an experiment and a challenge for me. The record companies can’t afford to advance the whole cost for making the record anymore, let alone pay for an ambitious video. So after a lot of hemming and hawing I agreed to work with Apple on the video. I wanted the video to have a wider reach, and only Apple could offer me the resources to do so.

“No one got paid to do that video except the hairdresser. The whole thing was done basically for free, just to make a product that we were then obliged to rent exclusively to Apple for a fraction of what they would had to have paid for it if they had framed it as an advertisement, which is of course what it was, though I didn’t want to admit it at the time.”

“My being bought as a politically outspoken artist is a more potent advertising tool for Apple than a 100 more explicit ads. It creates the false aura for Apple of being cutting edge, of being artist advocates, of being innovative mavericks, of being environmentally friendly, of caring about people and communities, instead of being the McDonalds of consumer high tech whose wealth was largely pilfered from what was once a biodiverse music industry.

“How brilliant is that? All of us pitching in as if we were working for a charity, and Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world, walks with an ad. I felt like a house cat that had been declawed. Those are the terms of engagement now in the music industry. We really get what we deserve. I am sure we are already at a point where we are forfeiting important artistic voices as a consequence of this.”