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Smackdown: Streaming Dollars & Cents

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Over the past few days, music fans have excitedly lined up to use Spotify. But, the streaming player might not be great news for artists. On today’s Soundcheck Smackdown, we debate the dollars and cents of music streaming – and whether it’s worth it for musicians. Plus, a live performance from desert-blues collective Tinariwen.

Listeners: What do you think? Are music streaming services a boon for artists? Or the bane of their existence? Weigh in here.

Smackdown: Spotlight on Streaming

The arrival of the new digital music service Spotify in the U.S. has been heralded as a low-cost way to expose lots of listeners to new music. But what do the artists behind the music get out of it? First, we're joined by Billboard writer Glenn Peoples to take a look at what streaming services like Spotify actually put into artists’ pockets. Then, the smacking down can begin - Time Out New York editor Steve Smith and musician Ben Allison debate whether these services are truly worth it in the end for musicians.

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In Studio: Tinariwen

Members of the desert-blues collective Tinariwen met in a refugee camp more than 30 years ago and became soldiers in North Africa’s Tuareg revolution. Later, they traded guns for guitars – specifically, electric guitars. Now, with the help of TV on the Radio and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Tinariwen is going acoustic on the new album “Tassili.” The band plays songs from that album, live in the studio.

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Playlist: Spotlight on Streaming + Tinariwen

Click through to see today's Soundcheck playlist!

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Bonus Track: Tinariwen, "Issakad"

Refugees-turned-blues collective Tinariwen stopped by our studio to share their story and perform live. After the show went off the air, they were kind enough to stick around and perform one more tune, called "Issakad."

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William Elliot Whitmore

Gig Alert: William Elliott Whitmore

William Elliot Whitmore takes you out to his farm in Lee County, Iowa on Field Songs. The album is alive with the cricket and bird chirping of field recordings, stark banjo twangs and a bass drum. Download the album's title track here.

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