Why is ExMilitary Not on Spotify?

Exmilitary, the debut mixtape by experimental hip hop group Death Grips, is notably absent from Spotify’s extensive music library. The wildly abrasive and chaotic album, released in 2011, established Death Grips’ characteristic sound of jarring, industrial beats and aggressive, shouted vocals. But if you’re looking to stream Exmilitary on Spotify, you won’t find it there because ex military was a mixtape so the samples never had to be officially cleared. So why isn’t this landmark album available? There are a few key reasons.

1. Licensing Issues

One major factor is licensing issues. Exmilitary samples audio from various sources without clear permission, including films like Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain. Samples on the album include dialogue from films, clips of news broadcasts, and more. Clearing all these samples for streaming rights takes time and money. For an underground group without major label resources, it was easier to release the mixtape for free rather than go through the complex sample clearance process.

Record labels and distributors have strict rules about uncleared samples when releasing music commercially to streaming platforms like Spotify. So Without official distribution and sample clearance, streaming platforms aren’t able to host Exmilitary without the risk of potential copyright issues.

Death Grips’ next albums were released through Epic Records, a major label with the means to negotiate streaming licenses which can cause Exmilitary as there isn’t much content about these sources. But as an uncompromising, sample-heavy underground mixtape, Exmilitary exists in a legal gray area outside major distribution channels.

2. Early Digital Strategy

Another aspect is Death Grips’ early digital distribution strategy. Exmilitary was first released for free on the band’s website and spread via filesharing sites. At this stage, Death Grips prioritized growing an audience and getting their music directly to fans for free, rather than monetizing it through streaming services.

Zach Hill, the band’s drummer, has explicitly said Death Grips isn’t interested in putting their early material on Spotify. As a fiercely independent group, they prefer to control their distribution, rather than making their music available on major platforms for streaming revenue. While most artists aim to get their music on Spotify for increased exposure, Waiting Room intentionally circumvented commercial channels with their early work.

3. Cultivating Underground Mystique

Avoiding mainstream streaming also helps Exmilitary retain its enigmatic aura as an underground, almost mythical project. Due to the samples used in Exmilitary not being cleared, the mixtape was later removed from streaming services like as Spotify. Fans can’t simply pull it up alongside a playlist – they have to actively seek out the tapes on sites like YouTube. This makes it feel more exclusive, dangerous even. As Death Grips grew into one of the biggest experimental acts around, new fans still had to dig to find their early work.

While Death Grips eventually signed to Epic and released albums on Spotify, Exmilitary remains stubbornly absent, preserving the mixtape’s uncompromising underground sound and ethos. Its absence from the mainstream makes Exmilitary feel like a rawer discovery, enhancing its cult mystique.

4. Creating Demand for Physical Media

Similarly, the lack of availability on Spotify increases demand for physical copies of Exmilitary. With no easy streaming access, fans eager to hear the mixtape have to track down rare vinyl pressings and cassettes. Physical media provides a more tactile, unique experience compared to streaming – and the difficulty of obtaining Exmilitary on vinyl or tape makes owning a copy feel more special.

Fans also hope that increased demand could convince Death Grips to do an official vinyl repressing of Exmilitary, making the mixtape more widely available in its preferred format. But the scarcity for now makes physical versions valuable collector’s items for diehard fans. Avoiding Spotify helps route listeners toward physical media, keeping demand and mystique high.

5. Looking to the Future

There is still hope that Exmilitary could come to Spotify someday. As Death Grips has grown in fame and means, clearing samples for streaming looks more feasible. Zach Hill has hinted at plans to finally give their early work an official release, potentially opening the door to platforms like Spotify.

But part of Exmilitary’s anarchic appeal is its complete disregard for mainstream systems of distribution. As much as fans may want the convenience of streaming access, something is fitting about such an anti-establishment project resisting Spotify. The absence is like a final raised middle finger to the expectations of how music is supposed to circulate online.

So while we can dream of blasting “Beware” alongside our playlists someday, Exmilitary’s abrasive spirit may remain defiantly off-streaming. For now, Spotify listeners will just have to get their early Death Grips fix elsewhere.

Frequently Asked Questions About Exmilitary’s Absence from Spotify

Here are some common questions about why Death Grips’ seminal mixtape Exmilitary is not available on Spotify:

What is Exmilitary?

Exmilitary is the first mixtape by experimental hip hop group Death Grips, released for free online in 2011. Known for its harsh, abrasive sound and anti-establishment themes, it helped launch the group to underground fame.

Why can’t I find it on Spotify?

Mainly due to uncleared samples and Death Grips’ early strategy of releasing music outside the mainstream. Licensing all the samples would be expensive and they initially spread their music directly to fans.

Will it ever be on there?

Possibly! Death Grips have hinted at plans to officially release their early work, which could open the door to Spotify. But part of Exmilitary’s appeal is its uncompromising ethos, so it may always resist mainstream streaming platforms.

Where can I listen to Exmilitary?

You can find the full mixtape on YouTube or download it from sites like Datpiff. Or you can track down rare physical copies like vinyl pressings and cassettes.

What other Death Grips albums are missing from Spotify?

Exmilitary is the only mixtape they haven’t made available. But obscure early songs like “Full Moon (Death Classic)” are still missing. Most of their major releases after Exmilitary are on Spotify.

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