an exclusive streaming agreement with iLike.com, a company that Ticketmaster invested $13 million in in 2006. Sonic Youth has always been a band of iconoclasts, growling outsiders, and now they've partnered with a
property significant investor of one of the most obnoxious companies in the music industry? What's up with that?
From Pearl Jam to String Cheese Incident to Bruce Springsteen to millions of fans whose pocketbooks smart with every inflated Ticketmaster service fee - this is a company that almost no one likes. At first listen it's a good album, but ugh what a marketing decision.
We recognize that it's hard for musicians these days, but if there was ever a band that had enough loyal fans that it could send people to an independent streaming music startup site and get the word spread around enough to generate sales - wouldn't that be Sonic Youth? How many of us grew up in the 80's listening to Sonic Youth and getting a counter-cultural education out of it? How's that old saying go? "A young man that doesn't like Sonic Youth has no heart, but an old man that doesn't like Ticketmaster is a fool?"
Perhaps the band members themselves aren't even excited about the deal - the official Sonic Youth Twitter account hasn't mentioned the availability of the album at all yet. [Update, Ed: it should be noted that Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore is quoted in the press release as saying: "This album is a celebration of newfound freedom [...] Debuting it on iLike, free from industry constraints, also fit this theme."]
StereoGum gave the pre-released album a strong review at the end of April. It will be formally released one week from today. For now, you too can give Ticketmaster's investment some love by giving the album a listen on iLike.
Update: iLike emailed to say that they aren't very happy about this story and that characterizing their company as a Ticketmaster "property" is inaccurate. That seems fair, so I changed the wording to call the two "partners" instead. Ticketmaster gave iLike $13 million in 2006 in exchange for 25% ownership in the company, according to Matt Marshall at Venturebeat.
Update 2, Editor: This post has been rather contentious. We've updated the wording of the relationship between Ticketmaster and iLike again to "investor." We've also added a quote from Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, in which he expresses his enthusiasm for iLike.