At a press event in London on Saturday, King Crimson manager David Singleton announced that the band’s entire studio-album catalog will soon launch on Spotify. Describing the move as part of an “outreach year” for the band, Singleton said the albums are set to begin streaming in time for the avant-rock legends’ upcoming 50th anniversary tour.
Streaming holdouts for years, King Crimson began launching select titles on Spotify in 2017. In June of that year, they posted two live releases by their current three-drummer incarnation: multi-disc set Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind and five-song EP Heroes, which featured the band’s live cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” performed in Berlin, where King Crimson guitarist-bandleader Robert Fripp had played on the song’s original studio version nearly 40 years earlier.
More recently, they’ve posted a series of archival releases documenting various phases of the band, and kicked off a weekly series of rare or new King Crimson tracks, posted each week for streaming and download.
Singleton said that the band’s 13 studio albums — from 1969’s In the Court of the Crimson King through 2003’s The Power to Believe — would roll out on other streaming platforms in May before arriving on Spotify on June 10th, the day King Crimson kick off their world tour in Leipzig, Germany.
“The reason we’ve been slow on Spotify is that, unlike apparently the whole of the rest of the industry that’s been telling us that physical is dead, we’ve had rising physical sales for probably the last 10 years,” Singleton said, referring to titles issued via the band’s own DGM label. “But that argument was valid for a while, and it isn’t anymore.”
He went on to say that, at this point, the pros of streaming outweigh the cons. “In the end, our prime function is to serve the music and make the music available, and Spotify has now definitely become one of the places that people, particularly younger people, find music.”
The streaming rollout, tour and weekly download series are only a small part of what King Crimson has in store to mark its half-century of activity. January marked the 50th anniversary of the band’s first rehearsal, while In the Court of the Crimson King turns 50 in October. That album will see reissue in a new deluxe box set. Also on the way are a new coffee-table book on the album; a revised and expanded version of Sid Smith’s out-of-print biography of the group, In the Court of King Crimson; Heaven & Earth, a box set devoted to the version of King Crimson that ran from the late Nineties through 2008; and Cosmic F*Kc, a feature-length documentary by director Toby Amies.