Nine time Grammy Award winner Sheryl Crow has released ten albums, covering everything from rock to pop to country — and until now, they’ve all been handled the traditional way, namely by a major record label — the first eight were on A&M, and her last two were on Warner Bros. The times they are a-changing, though: her new single, Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You, is being issued via Stem, a three year old download-centric distribution service, which handles releases, tracks payments, and provides a dashboard on which artists can keep tabs on their projects’ big pictures.
Although she’s only 56, Crow is well aware of the ageism in today’s entertainment industry. “I’m a little bit of an anomaly, in that I’m a much older artist than what gets played at radio, obviously. And I’m a much older artist than what typically winds up on playlists, and I’m also a much older artist than what most labels are interested in putting money into, because they don’t make the money back,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not making good records, it doesn’t mean that I’m not staying vital and creative. So for artists out there who don’t belong, or seemingly don’t fit into this cookie cutter world of very young pop, it’s a great way to get your music out there.”
The new single is a collaboration with St. Vincent, who appears under her real name, Annie Clark, and is “about the climate of truth not being important anymore. I called her and said, ‘I am dying to have you bring your St. Vincent-ness to this.’ And I said, ‘You will not hurt my feelings if you don’t like the song,'” Crow says. “And I sent it to her, and her response was, ‘F**k yeah.’ That was a direct quote, as only Annie Clark can respond, which I loved. She did all kinds of stuff on it, and we pretty much used all of it.”
As for whether she’ll release the entire album via Stem, she hasn’t decided yet: the abum has “been in the works for about two years, and so we’ll shop it and then we’ll sort of evaluate where we’re at,” she says. “So I can’t say specifically whether we’ll do it through Stem or whether we’ll do a one-off with the record and then come back to Stem, but I love knowing that it’s there.”