The Music Celebrity’s beef with Spotify

There isn’t much to write on this, it’s just some pretty basic logic that, for some reason, so many other artists and record labels haven’t figured out.

Spotify charges users monthly to gain access to their enormous bank of music, and a piece of those charges go to the artists (a relatively small piece, but better than getting nothing, as they were before Spotify, and other websites like it). The problem, though, is that when someone is as famous as Adele, Coldplay, the Black Keys and Tom Waits, they will make much more off of a new release’s outright album sales when it isn’t available through sites like Spotify, than they will from the Spotify commission.

The solution  is to wait until the initial spikes in sales have subsided and then give Spotify access to the album. But this provides Spotify with a couple of issues.

a. If users don’t have access to all of the best music from their favourite artists (including the newest releases), they will be less likely to pay.

b. When people buy albums they’ll be less likely to pay a monthly fee for Spotify when they’ve just dropped $20. 

(a. is the bigger problem, as it’s likely that most people who use Spotify have no interest in paying premium prices for music, anyway)

What looks like a reasonable option for Spotify (and it still isn’t a great option), is to either pay artists/record labels a lump sum for new releases, or give them a higher flat rate for the use of all of their music. Or artists/record labels could just be less fucking greedy. Guess which is more likely to happen first.

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