A Feast for Hungry Eyes: An Interview with Sam Phillips, Part 1

Many songsmiths have struggled to navigate the commercial wilderness that arose in the aftermath of the music industry’s collapse. Singer-songwriter Sam Phillips, however, has played the part of intrepid explorer, forging brave paths across this foreign landscape.

In October of 2009, she created a subscription service for her fans called The Long Play. For fifty-two dollars, her devotees could feast at her musical banquet table and partake of the sonic equivalent of a seven-course meal over the following year. In the end, she supplied subscribers with five EPs, an LP, and other delectable audio hors d’oeuvres.

When I subscribed, Phillips’s business model struck me as a contrarian response to the “pay what you want” price pioneered by Radiohead with the release of 2007’s In Rainbows. With The Long Play, in addition to eschewing traditional format and release conventions, Phillips made a convincing argument for music’s monetary value.

Phillips and I recently connected via phone to discuss her forthcoming independent album, Push Any Button, which is another chapter in her life after record labels. We also talked about the music she composes for ABC’s dramedy, Bunheads, and the dissolution of The Long Play, among other things. [Read more…]