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Rock star Ywain Gwynedd calls on streaming platforms to do more to promote minority languages

02 Feb 2022 3 minute read
Yws Gwynedd. By Jim Ellis/Ochr 1/Antena (CC 4.0)

Rock star Ywain Gwynedd has called on streaming platforms to do more to promote minority languages.

Speaking ahead of Welsh Language Music Day on February 4, the Welsh musician revealed that he has tried to contact Spotify, but has “had no reply”.

But he also said that the online music platform does offer the “advantage” of offering a “shop window” on the “global stage” for Welsh language artists, which wasn’t available before.

Back in 2018, the teenage rock duo Alffa, for whom Gwynedd is a producer, became the first band to reach one million plays on Spotify with a Welsh language song.

Their tune Gwenwyn, which means ‘Poison’ in Welsh took off, reaching a global audience, after it got on to the service’s ‘Walk Like a Badass’ and ‘The Rock List’ playlist, where it featured alongside the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, The White Stripes and The Strokes.

Gwynedd told WalesOnline: “I think there is space for streaming platforms to promote minority languages even more – I have tried contacting Spotify about Welsh language songs but had no reply.

“At the end of the day, it’s up to us as Welsh record labels and artists to continue to improve and be more professional, to the point where they have to take notice of the things that we do.

The Recordiau Côsh Records artist also said that the most popular artists with the label only receive a streaming income that is the equivalent to selling around 700 CDs a year.

He said that Spotify’s payment structure does impact artists that are “more alternative or experimental”.

Gwynedd also said: “People have moved to streaming because it gives value for money and offers different kinds of music all over the world for the price of one CD a month.

“The shift from CDs has accelerated in the last five years – it’s nice to see that people are trying different things, but the concept of a musical album still remains strong.”

‘Value for money’

He added: “The value for money on Spotify is fantastic for someone that wants to listen to a variety of music. One advantage for Welsh language music is the fact that it offers a ‘window shop’ if you like on a global stage, which wasn’t possible to reach previously.

“It would’ve been impossible to see a CD or vinyl of a band like Gwilym right next door to a CD by Coldplay in HMV in London in the past, but playlists provide that opportunity for Welsh language songs to be right next to some of the most popular songs in the world without people even having to question the thing.

“The obvious disadvantage is the fact that the money streaming platforms provide artists and labels are shocking, and will probably remain the same until there’s a new way of consuming music.”

Like Gwenllian, he also called for the streaming service to improve the platform’s experience for artists, but also noted that promoters, musicians and labels have responsibility to promote Welsh language music too.

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Alex N
Alex N
2 years ago

Who is the ‘Gwenllian’ mentioned in the final paragraph with no context?

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