Cheating the system?

US songwriter Matt Farley wrote a song about Townsville that you have to hear - and it's definitely not the only song he's written. IMAGE: Youtube ("The Diarrhoea Bounce Back")

This is our new anthem, Townsville.

It has a catchy riff, soulful wails, and is a beautiful ode to the Great Barrier Reeeeeef. We love the beautiful blend of keyboard and soft percussion. But – at the same time – we aren’t sure what we just listened to.

While the song is a bit of a laugh by itself, the background behind it is pretty impressive: by uploading songs about every topic imaginable to iTunes and Spotify, American Matt Farley has netted himself in excess of $23,000.

Earning that much money off a single – or even an album – would be well worth celebrating, however Matt has earned that by releasing over 18,600 tracks. Yep. No typo. Eighteen thousand, six hundred songs.

Matt goes by several extremely literal aliases for the branches of his music: The Guy Who Sings Songs About Cities & Towns jams out to tunes about everywhere from Illinois to Mackay; The Singing Animal Lover pens ballads about all creatures great and small; and you’ll never guess what The Guy Who Sings Your Name Over & Over does.

This says something quite interesting about the state of the streaming industry: by focusing on quantity rather than quality, musicians can earn a quick buck. Matt’s songs are all quite short, and if we’re honest, sound like they were pieced together very quickly. But because of the cents-per-stream system, there is a push for musicians to upload as many songs as possible: Spotify stats from 2014 revealed almost half of all listeners skip a song before it finishes – so by shortening songs and making them a novelty, people are more likely to finish one, and then click through to listen to many more by the same artist. This is something Matt is hoping to encourage with his Quest for a Million campaign: with a playlist made up of more than 200 of his songs ready to go, streaming the playlist from start to finish would earn the musician $1. Matt’s hope is that the entire playlist will be streamed one million times, making him a millionaire.

While streaming platforms can be a really powerful and effective way of spreading new music and connecting artists to listeners, Matt’s mission is a clear statement about the music industry: it can be a fickle bitch. You could dedicate your life to producing the best-quality album over the space of a decade and be lucky to earn a grand in the hand; whereas by churning out simple songs at such a high rate, Matt is receiving more streams and raking in more revenue (believe me, he’s getting streams: we laughed along to at least 10 of his songs over the past hour).


He’s read more than a few articles about his music being spam and him being a con…

One of the most up-beat songs we came across:

This one’s dedicated to our graphic design extraordinaire:

And, to conclude, an album of incredible songs you can use day-to-day:

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