When I heard Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify, I thought, “That was smart.” Because of her popularity, millions of people will (have?) paid $10 or so to own the album (especially if they can’t have it on-demand, which is the thrill of a streaming music subscription).
This article by Steve Cooper of Spirit Animal is right – the Spotify exodus was a business decision and carried no opinions on the platform itself. Of course, that isn’t a sexy news narrative that can spurn countless think pieces and cable news panels. I haven’t really read any other pieces on Swift’s move because from the headlines and abstracts, I could figure out that they were following the “Swift vs. Spotify” narrative. However, the title “Spotify Is Not the Enemy” grabbed me because I hold the same opinion. Spotify is a fantastic resource for a band like Libel. Cooper’s article is the only one on this topic worth reading: a very smart dissection of the contemporary music industry.
The game (business?) has changed radically, and those of us without corporate marketing armies (or just “battalions” for the indies) are trying to figure out how to play. I don’t care if you download LIBEL albums; I mainly use Spotify to listen to music because I’ve long thought cloud-based services would be the future of media. Yes, I prefer access to ownership when it comes to media. (My DVD collection is not impressive – you won’t find anything produced in the last 10 years. Also, I don’t know if I have a DVD player anymore…)
Save your hard drive space, listen to us on Spotify! We don’t really sell our music anyway – we’d probably make more money if you stream the shit out of our albums. As we continue to languish in obscurity, exposure is far more valuable than friends tossing out $10. Also, many of you are kind enough to see us play live – I think we can offer our recordings in exchange.
Cooper is right – Spotify’s crappy payouts are a symptom of a larger illness. The cure? Not sure. As I’ve said in other blog posts and interviews, the album title “Music For Car Commercials” is a lament that the best option for music creators to make money, potentially have a career with original tunes, is licensing. I hope that doesn’t stay the case forever, not just because my favorite review of the album suggested none of those songs would ever be in a car commercial – and that was a (huge) compliment. (At the same time, do you think Hum in 1995 would have ever dreamed that “Stars” would be used to sell… Cadillacs? Still blows my mind, though it’s not as funny as “Lust for Life” advertising cruises.)