In 2013, streaming services are big business. It has been reported that Spotify have made $500million in revenue, and have made such an impact that web giants Google have tried to get in on the action, launching their own streaming service earlier this year. Whilst their popularity has been indisputable, there has always been worries that streaming services do not benefit the artists. This week, Thom Yorke has highlighted this issue by pointing out some of his concerns with Spotify on his twitter feed.
The attack on the streaming service came after Yorke pulled his solo work and Atoms For Peace’s debut album from streaming site Spotify. He claimed that he was doing this to stand up for new artists, who in his words, “get paid f*ck all with this model”.
Yorke and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich then went on to explain their problems with streaming services in great detail. Godrich tweeted that “streaming suits catalogue. But cannot work as a way of supporting new artist’s work. Spotify and the like will have to address that fact and change the model for new releases or else all new music producers should be bold and vote with their feet. They have no power without new music”.
Spotify were quick to respond to these criticisms. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek tweeted that streaming sites are now “a very big revenue source” in some markets. A spokesperson for Spotify was then interviewed by Music Week, who claimed “We are 100% committed to making Spotify the most artist friendly music service possible, and are constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers.”. The representative also cited the fact that Spotify has paid $500million to rights holders so far, and that by the end of 2013 this number will reach $1billion.
The Smiths producer Stephen Street also took to twitter to become involved in the debate, claiming that it was “a bit rich” that Thom Yorke was complaining about Spotify not benefiting new artists, claiming that Radiohead selling their 2007 album ‘In Rainbows’ on a “pay what you want” scheme gave the impression that “music had no value”, and was only possible because Yorke had “10 years of EMI investment” behind him. Yorke was quick to rebuke claims such as Street’s, claiming that a “pay what you want” scheme is a statement of trust in the fact that people still value music enough to buy it.
Overall, whilst it may have annoyed a few supporters of Spotify, Yorke raises an interesting point. According to industry averages, artists earn less than 0.4 per stream. When this is coupled with the possibility of losing sales due to your music being available legally and for free (Metallica’s sales reportedly fell by 35% of expected sales the week after their music was made available through Spotify), could spell trouble for smaller or new artists. Whilst Spotify could be a handy tool in gaining exposure, these issues are something artists should take into consideration when they are is thinking about uploading their catalogue to Spotify.
In 2013, streaming services are big business. It has been reported that Spotify have made 500million in revenue, and have made such an impact that web giants...