Now You Can Stream Coldplay’s New Album (…Four Months Later)

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Coldplay’s latest album Ghost Stories came out just over four months ago. The full album was available to stream on iTunes the week before its release. Coldplay then chose to window the album, keeping it from streaming services.

Coldplay used the same strategy with their previous release, Mylo Xyloto, and apparently liked it enough to do it again.

The band recently announced that Ghost Stories is up for streaming on Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and Beats Music. Apple actually had a second exclusive, as Ghost Stories went up on Beats Music last month.

So how did windowing affect sales? Ghost Stories debuted at #1 both on the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. The album had the biggest debut sales week in the U.S. with 383,000 sales, and the second largest in the U.K with 168,000 sales.

The numbers, of course, come from a very established band with a huge fanbase.

 

Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

19 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    Time to shove it to streaming furnace!
    Actually there is no other avenue in current distribution model.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “So how did windowing affect sales? Ghost Stories debuted at #1 both on the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. The album had the biggest debut sales week in the U.S. with 383,000 sales, and the second largest in the U.K with 168,000 sales.”

      OK, respect for bringing a conclusion — in bold, and all — that doesn’t support your views. We can all learn from that.

      Now, GGG would probably suggest that we need a label to make two similar-sized (and preferably minor) releases; one windowing, and one straight to DVD — excuse me, one straight to Spotify.

      And I would agree. Not because I have any doubts anymore, but others still seem to have. It would be nice to put this to rest, once and for all, and start using audio-only streaming in what I think is the right way — Coldplay’s way — and never use it during release. Streaming revenues from week 1 and 2 are almost non-existent anyway, no matter the size of the act, so there’s nothing to lose from windowing.

      But there may be a lot to gain…

      (Remi, this is to Nina — not to you. I kept getting error messages when I tried to post a direct reply.)

      Reply
      • GGG

        While that would be good, we don’t even need that. All we need is Thom Yorke to release Eraser streaming/sales numbers from during and post Spotify. It’s been over a year now since he took it off, no?

        But anyway, my whole thing isn’t whether cannibalization exists, it’s to what extent. And regardless of their first week sales being the biggest sales week this year, 383K for a band that sells out arenas is pretty slim. So where was the rest of the consumption? Do we have piracy numbers?

        We could also look at someone like Ed Sheeran whose ‘X’ sold over 200K while appearing on Spotify the same time. so 100K is a big difference in sales, but he also appeals to a gen that has little interest in buying music to begin with.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          “All we need is Thom Yorke to release Eraser streaming/sales numbers from during and post Spotify”

          That would definitely be interesting — but the next best thing is on its way: A new Radiohead album.

          It’s safe to say that it’ll go straight to Spotify if windowing was a mistake.

          Reply
          • GGG

            I wouldn’t count on Thom or Nigel being the type to easily own up haha, but also, the problem with this is that you can’t prove a negative. So even if the numbers were literally exactly the same, someone could just say, “well yea, but those people might not have bought it if it was still on spotify!”

            The issue with the new Radiohead album is they are exactly the type of band that SHOULD window. Not only do they have a huge fanbase that will buy their shit regardless, there’s enough that are fans/will want to hear it enough to be part of the conversation that won’t have any issue buying it. It could prove something about windowing for major label artists, i.e. if they hold out for more or less than Coldplay’s 4 months, but it won’t answer any questions for small to mid-level acts.

          • Anonymous

            “even if the numbers were literally exactly the same, someone could just say, “well yea, but those people might not have bought it if it was still on spotify!””

            That’s why it would be helpful if somebody released two similar-sized (preferably minor) acts simultaneously — one straight to streaming, one windowing — and published the numbers…

          • GGG

            Well, yea, I’m sure we could find a couple if we looked around enough. Some mid-level indie or rock records.

            If only there was some guy who ran some sort of digital music website that could look into something like this with past or future releases.

          • Anonymous

            If only there was some guy who ran some sort of digital music website that could look into something like this with past or future releases.

            Yeah, if only…

        • Anonymous

          “383K for a band that sells out arenas is pretty slim”

          I think we’ve been around this before, and 383k doesn’t sound bad to me.

          And don’t you think it’s more of a Coldplay issue — e.g. that their fans are more interested in live? (It’s not a rhetorical question, I simply don’t get Coldplay and don’t know much about them.)

          As for piracy; there’s no doubt that more than a few guys will steal what they can’t stream. But then again — you don’t make money from 2 week’s streaming in the first place, so what do you have to lose? And feel free to misunderstand this in any way you can, 🙂 but I think it makes more sense to drive the inevitable amount of freebies to obscure, illegal sites, with all the risks it implies, than to legitimate streaming sites. They’re not going to pay a cent either way — and anti-piracy companies plus an agressive take-down policy during release go a long way.

          Reply
          • GGG

            Well yea, this is again part of the problem of arguing streaming. Too many factors you can’t really replicate. 383K is not bad as far as 2014 goes, but according to wikipedia, less than 10 years ago, they were selling 10M copies of X&Y over a couple years. And based on their ticket sales they don’t seem to be losing fans, so where are those other 9.5M million people getting their music? Or are they even?

  2. FarePlay

    Windowing makes complete sense and as I’ve written before, indie bands, would be wise to use streaming services like Spotify to release select tracks, not entire albums.

    Why not? If someone hears something they care enough about, they’ll find you. Get them on your website or ReverbNation, Bandcamp or another service. Get listeners to your world and get their e-mail address. Find a local Internet Radio Station and help the station build their audience.

    If you can’t find an audience in your town, move. If that doesn’t work then you have to ask yourself the question no artist wants to ask themselves. Do I have it?

    Places like Spotify are for finding stuff, not for being discovered.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “Places like Spotify are for finding stuff, not for being discovered.”

      Indeed. When people describe Spotify as a museum today, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Museums are nice on a rainy day.

      Reply
  3. anon

    the songs that were held back from streaming are some of the worst shit ever made, gutter trash. no wonder those were kept behind a gate or no one would have bought this shit…

    this coming from someone who was one of their biggest fans for the first 2-3 albums.

    Reply
    • FarePlay

      Willis, I think you can say that for any recording artist. I’m not a fan of most of the best selling artists today and that’s part of the reason why I do what I do. I want to see those artists with a powerful cult audience, who can sell 20K to 50K CDs make a living.

      You end those sales with streaming those guys are bagging groceries or delivering pizzas. For what. So Pandora’s lawyer can pull down 7 figures.

      Reply
      • anon

        but what about the opposite scenario where streaming is bringing artists 5x as much income as they made from a download/sales only paradigm? That is the case with me.

        Reply
      • GGG

        The problem is if in your crusade against streaming you perpetuate this myth that moderate record sales ever meant substantial amounts of money for artists, you’re being just as harmful. You act like selling 20K-50K CDs is guaranteed career success. Let’s look at this for a second.

        With some exceptions for sure, the vast majority of bands selling 50K records in any form, will be signed. So 50K albums times 7 (accounting for iTunes’ cut) is a label grossing $350K. Let’s say there was a $50K advance, so we’re down to $300K available to the band. Even on a very generous label like Glassnote who I believe does 50-50 splits, the band as a whole takes in $150K at most. Even if I don’t take out their manager’s, lawyer’s, etc fees, a four piece is taking in $37k each. Certainly a nice chunk of change, but that’s looking at everything at best case scenario. So by all means keep telling people to buy CDs, DLs, whatever, but do not dissuade people from embracing other revenue streams or act like they will hurt your career. It makes no sense.

        Reply

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