Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Time to give Spotify a break

I must have missed the memo from my record label buddies about the need to criticise Spotify at every possible juncture. That’s how it felt over the last year when talk turned to the most promenient music streaming service in …

Fri, Jul 6, 2012, 09:32

   

I must have missed the memo from my record label buddies about the need to criticise Spotify at every possible juncture. That’s how it felt over the last year when talk turned to the most promenient music streaming service in the business. Every single time, Spotify’s low returns were highlighted.

A lot of this was a leftover from the industry’s dealings with Apple. It took ages for the record labels to realise that the late Steve Jobs had played them for suckers. Leading music industry execs, allegedly the first and last word in cunning, were blindsided by the man in the polo-neck looking to use music to flog his iPods.

The labels were adamant that they would not be fooled again and thus adopted a more bullish approach when the streaming services came to do deals.

But Spotify has begun to fight back against the negative spin. One of the most interesting outcomes from the recent Emily White/David Lowery to-do – young intern writes naïve blog post, older musician attacks her and blames her for death of other musicians – were revelations about the increasing amounts Spotify pay labels (remember Spotify deals with labels not artists).

According to Charles Caldas from label distributor Merlin, Spotify’s payments to their 10,000-plus labels rose 250 per cent between March 2011 and 2012. Given that Spotify is just beginning to make inroads in the United States, that revenue can only increase.

All of which makes you wonder if it’s time for the bashers to give Spotify and the other streaming services a break. It’s obvious that increasing numbers of mainstream music fans are embracing these services with gusto due to convenience and cost. The labels may look back fondly on the days of flogging CDs for a premium, but those days ain’t coming back. Time to play nice with Spotify and friends.

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