Andrea Corr on streaming, vinyl and why The Corrs will always play the hits

The Corrs are preparing to tour (Matt Crossick/PA)
The Corrs are preparing to tour (Matt Crossick/PA)

Andrea Corr is a traditionalist. She likes records she can touch, with a crackle she can hear, lyrics she can read and photographs she can pore over.

So much of the joy of the tactile nature of engaging with your favourite music has been lost in the era of streaming.

“Some young people don’t even know they’ve lost something,” she says, mournfully.

It has been more than 30 years since Dundalk-born Corr, 49, rocketed to fame as the lead singer of the Celtic folk rock and pop group The Corrs, with her three elder siblings Caroline, Sharon and Jim.

They were all in their early 20s when their debut album, Forgiven Not Forgotten, went to number two in Ireland and the UK and number one in Australia.

Their 1997 album Talk On Corners featured smash hits such as So Young and What Can I Do, while In Blue featured crowd pleases Breathless and All The Love In The World.

But much has changed in the music industry since they were catapulted on to the world stage.

“I thought it was a huge loss, to lose the album and for things to be just singles. In my life when I loved a band, or an artist, I couldn’t wait for the record to be released, all of the artwork, to read all of the lyrics, the photos.

Andrea Corr
Andrea Corr at the Isle of Wight Festival (David Jensen/PA)

“It was Prince at the time and Depeche Mode. And it was something precious that you got, and it felt so valuable to me.

“I think with streaming and people buying just a song and not a record, and everything not being physical and vinyl, I don’t feel I cared as much about the music or the songs, the whole thing was definitely of more value to me [before].

“The way I loved it, it was such an event. And vinyl on a record player has a particularly beautiful sound, that crackle on the record, it’s kind of an opening into a world where you go somewhere else.

“I find technology has been amazing for the world but we’ve lost a lot from it too. We’ve lost a lot of the kind of mystery and ghosts and something evocative of a rather than world, whereas everything sounds so immediate now.

“I’m really, really happy with their people’s renewed interest in vinyl and in full albums.”

The Corrs are now ambassadors for National Album Day, an initiative by the music industry to celebrate the art of the album, and Corr hopes it encourages more young people to explore a full piece of work, rather than just the clips they hear on TikTok.

“I think it’s a loss, people make a whole album, a song goes to the next song, there is a story to it, there’s a journey from the beginning of a record to the end of it. It’s like walking in in the middle of a play and you’ve missed a few scenes,” she says.

Although they are not making records that way any more, because they are not being listened to in that way.

“But there’s record stores opening up again, and I went into a whole vinyl area the other day and and it was just so gorgeous and nostalgic, flipping through all the beautiful records.”

The boom in streaming has not just led to the decrease in traditional album sales, it has also made it hard for most musicians to earn a decent living, Corr says.

“It’s hard for every band these days, no matter where you’re from, because of streaming, because of artists not getting paid properly for what they do. So they have to get normal jobs, and they can’t do it so I think that’s more of the problem and that’s worldwide.

“What an artist earns for streaming is actually almost criminal to me. You know, a lot of other people make the money. If you’ve written it, you should be definitely getting the bulk of the pay. It’s just fairer maths, really.”

For all the sense of what is receding, Corr is happy that traditional live music is still thriving in Ireland.

“I think it’s just really in our blood isn’t it? I think it would take centuries and centuries for that to go, the whole party piece thing, and I don’t think it would go.

“Everybody loves getting together and if you’re with a group of friends there’s always a sing song at the end of the night, it’s part of the culture and part of having fun.”

That culture has certainly been instrumental to the success of The Corrs who, despite individual ventures along the way, are still playing together after all these years.

The Corrs
The Corrs on stage in the gardens of Buckingham Palace (Rebecca Naden/PA)

“Music-wise we’re pretty alike on what we like and what we’re inspired by and what we’re excited by. We don’t do as much as we did over the years, but we worked so intensively together, it was definitely hard and I don’t think being in a family made it any easier.

“We do have something new coming, but I can’t tell you what. It’s not a full album or anything. At the moment we’re getting ready to go on tour so there’s no making a full album, but never say never.”

And while some bands head out on the road and leave fans disappointed when they trot out “new material” as opposed to the beloved hits, Corr is adamant that will not be the case for their fans.

“I am one of those people that have gone to concerts and been really disappointed when I’ve not heard my favourite songs so I wouldn’t do that to anybody.

“It’s not right, people are coming to see after all these years, and I think it would not be fair. Imagine going on and not playing  Breathless or Runaway, that would just be cruel, we wouldn’t be doing that.

“I think if people are coming to see you you should give them a good show, and play the songs they love.”

The Corrs are ambassadors for National Album Day, which takes place this year on October 14, with a theme of the 1990s.

National Album Day is organised jointly by UK independent and major record labels association the BPI, and ERA, the digital entertainment and retail association, representing the nation’s music retailers and digital/streaming platforms.