A Funk Band Beat Spotify's Poor Payments With The Sound Of Silence
With Spotify's average payout being around $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream, it's easy to see why some artists view it as a "smelly banana," i.e. a terrible way to pay your rent. There just aren't enough waking hours for fans of small bands to make a living on Spotify. That's exactly what Michigan-based retro funk ban Vulfpeck figured when they released their 2014 album Sleepify, an album of ten 30-second tracks of utter silence. Vulfpeck encouraged fans to repeatedly stream such hits as "Zzz" and "Zzzzz" overnight while sleeping, working, and whenever they weren't jamming to Dave Matthews' deep cuts.
The album was an overnight success, so to speak, and the band managed to earn $20,000 in royalties, which they promised to use to fund a free tour. Spotify, of course, didn't like this, and took down the album after two months. But if you like that stick-it-to-the-man attitude, maybe you should check out Vulfpeck's music. And who knows, if you like it, you could maybe pay for it? No no, that doesn't sound right.
Related: The 4 Most Creative Ways People Used Loopholes To Get Rich
The Chinese Restaurant Boom Was An Immigration Loophole
Despite the important role that Chinese immigrants played in building vital U.S. infrastructure like the transcontinental railroad, by the early 1900s, America decided it no longer needed them. As such, Chinese laborers were essentially barred from immigrating and becoming citizens, and those already in couldn't risk leaving the U.S. for fear of being told to stay out.
But there was one exception to these draconian policies. Chinese business owners were allowed special merchant visas to travel back home and recruit migrant workers. The only problem was that to prevent Asians from opening shill stores in order to reunite with their friends, the only eligible businesses were far out of reach for poor nonwhites. Until a new business made the list: restaurants.
In 1915, the addition of restaurants to the merchant visa list suddenly created a legal way for Chinese-born residents to get their loved ones into the U.S. The only problem was that restaurants had to be "high-grade," which meant they needed to hire a full-time manager who wasn't allowed to do any kind of work in the restaurant. To get around this, groups of Chinese folks would pool their resources to open fancy "chop suey palaces," and take turns living the American dream (i.e. being the boss and doing nothing).
Every year, one of the partners would be crowned the new manager and would go back to China for their friends and family. Those friends and family members would then work in the restaurant until they could afford to buy a stake in their own restaurant. And so on and so forth until all those Chinese immigrants overran America, tore apart the very fabric of society and ate all the American children. Or, y'know, they became valuable members of our melting pot society.
Jordan Breeding also writes for Paste Magazine, the Twitter, and himself. He really encourages you to try to actually purchase music you like.
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