Monday, August 17, 2009

Out Damned Spot

Like most people in those countries fortunate to be able to use Spotify, I'm enthusiastic about the Swedish-streaming music service and it looks like it might be a much-needed reaction to illegal downloading from an industry painfully short on ideas. According to an article over at the Guardian, though, the artists are getting shafted. 18% of shares are going to big music companies (for a start-up it's not too unusual, and the majors are at least, for once, showing interest in something that does not guarantee the risk-free return that they see as their birthright) but artists are seeing little of the small profits accruing from it at the moment. Bob Dylan has already withdrawn much of his back catalogue and Swedish veteran Magnus Uggla has followed suit.

On his blog he said that, after six months on the site he'd earned "what a mediocre busker could earn in a day". Regarding his record label, Sony Music, he says "after suing the shit out of Pirate Bay, they're acting just like them by not paying the artists". When he found out that Sony had 5.8% equity in Spotify he wrote: "I would rather be raped by Pirate Bay than fucked up the ass by (Sony boss) Hasse Breitholtz and Sony Music and will remove all of my songs from Spotify pending an honest service."

Now, it may be that things might improve as advertising revenues increase, which will surely happen as the currently limited service is expanded (particularly to the US). Spotify, after all, is still only nine months old. But after all the bleating by the recording industry regarding artists being swindled by downloading, the situation on Spotify doesn't seem to be that much different.

Behind the music: The real reason why the major labels love Spotify | Music |