Indie labels withdraw from Spotify

Posted: November 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Internet, Music, Spotify | No Comments »

Looking at my subscriptions in NetNewsWire, I realised that one of the brown, “not recently updated” ones was my own. Oops.

Anyway, here’s an interesting article from wired.co.uk –

200+ labels withdraw their music from Spotify: are its fortunes unravelling?


It turns out I was right

Posted: April 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Internet, Music, Spotify | No Comments »

Spotify today published, on their UK blog, an outline of where their service is going. You can read the article here.

Spotify, as a free service, is basically over.

Here are the salient points;

As of May 1st, any user who signed up to the free service on or before November 1st 2010 will be able to play each track for free up to a total of 5 times. Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied 6 months after the time they set up their Spotify account.

Additionally, total listening time for free users will be limited to 10 hours per month after the first 6 months. That’s equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.

It would appear that the harsh financial realities are biting. Spotify are now heavily pushing users towards the subscription model, and putting the brakes on free service. But can this last? Already Spotify are hamstrung by the fact that their territories are limited, and that they have failed to broker arrangements with the not just lucrative but essential North American market.

Rumours abound that Apple’s colossal new data centre is geared towards iTunes subscriptions. If and when they flick that switch, Spotify’s going to be dead in the water.

Still no word on what they’re paying the artists, though…


The future of the music industry isn’t Spotify

Posted: March 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Internet, Music, Spotify | No Comments »

Spotify’s great, isn’t it? Unlimited access to all the music in the world. Sounds perfect. As a consumer, yes it does. But what about the artists?

There’s growing unrest about Spotify’s attitude to paying artists. The Guardian, in this article, highlights the problems that the bodies representing artists have with the service. In the article, they raise the example of Lady Gaga, who, the association claims, received a mere $167 for a million plays of her hit single.

This is an apocryphal story, because as the article states, Spotify don’t really do transparency. If you go to their website and try to discover what their payment structure is, or what their corporate structure is, you’ll be referred to someone or something else.

I’m a musician, and music I’ve made is available on the iTunes store, and last.fm, and Spotify. For the latter two, it’s easy to find out what you’ll be paid. Last.fm in particular make it painless. Small, independent artists like my band can sign up as their own label, and then get simple information from their Artist Royalty Page.

iTunes and Spotify are more similar, in that they don’t deal directly with independent artists, but rather with “aggregators” – companies with whom you can sign up and then get your music onto various services like iTunes, Spotify, Napster, eMusic, etc.

I’ve been a client of one of these aggregators – Tunecore for a few years. My last band used them to get our albums onto iTunes et al. It was great. We paid Tunecore a fixed rate, and in advance knew exactly what to expect – what we’d get from an iTunes sale, from a Rhapsody stream. Now Tunecore can get you onto Spotify too, but the best information they can give you is “Spotify has deals with necessary rightsholders in all of its launch countries. Together with them, Spotify has agreed upon a royalty based on how frequently your music is played. For detailed information, please contact your record label or your collecting society”.

Well, I am the record label, so I contacted myself, but I didn’t know. And who is my collecting society? We’re not PRS or MCPS registered yet. Why is this information not freely and transparently available?

It has been reported that the major labels have all taken stakes in Spotify. The cynic in me thinks that this is an investment on their parts – an investment in their future profitability. By not having to deal with the expense of physical product, margin is automatically up. But by paying the artists peanuts too…