Björk Refuses to Release on Spotify: “It’s About Respect”

bjorkvulnicura

Björk has decided not to release her latest album, Vulnicura, on Spotify.  Here’s what she told Fast Company in an article published this morning.

Fast Company: Vulnicura is not currently available on Spotify. Why not?

Björk: We’re all making it up as it goes, to be honest. I would like to say there’s some master plan going on [with the album release], but there isn’t. But a few months ago I emailed my manager and said,

Guess what? This streaming thing just does not feel right. I don’t know why, but it just seems insane.

Fast Company: Why is it insane?

Björk: To work on something for two or three years and then just, Oh, here it is for free.

It’s not about the money; it’s about respect, you know? Respect for the craft and the amount of work you put into it.

But maybe Netflix is a good model. You go first to the cinema and after a while it will come on ­Netflix. Maybe that’s the way to go with streaming. It’s first physical and then maybe you can stream it later.

 

39 Responses

  1. Rick

    Odd, considering her pro-file sharing stances in the past. From Wikipedia on her Vespertine album:

    “With the rising popularity of Napster and music downloads, she decided to use instruments whose sound would not be compromised when downloaded and played in a computer”

    Perhaps, she’s just not comfortable with a company like Spotify profiting from her work? Or just wants a bigger slice of the pie?

    Reply
    • GGG

      Sounds like she just wants to window, which is fine.

      Spotify really needs to implement some attractive functions for acts AND consumers regarding windowing. If anything it would probably get more people to say “fuck it, I’ll subscribe.”

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      BIG difference between “fan sharing” and company wigs getting HUGE pay from catalog. LEARN IT.

      Reply
  2. PiratesWinLOL

    Kickass.to and google play music is gold when dealing with such difficult artists. They also recently increased the number of songs you can upload to google music to 50.000, so it will be very hard to run out of space for new songs.

    Her comment about physical media proves that she has been living under a rock for a few years. Those things are a dead, obsolete and evil technology, which among other things pollute the enviroment.

    Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      Physical first is virtually impossible, and I was surprised to hear that coming from an artist that had her album leaked two months ahead of the official release date. That said, there are lots of physical/digital tie-ins, for example bundling MP3 download codes into vinyl, etc. And, let’s widen the boundaries here, perhaps exclusive live performances and other harder-to-pirate events could pre-date the actual recording release. People like J. Sider at BandPage are working on experiences, for this very reason.

      And as far as footprint and pollution go, I’m not sure digital is saving the planet. A study on the impact of massive cloud computing facilities, device disposal, and other forms of ‘digital pollution’ led me to think that we’re actually doing more damage, not less damage, to the environment in our post-analog music industry. We burn a lot of energy cooling all those servers, not to mention clearing out habitats for creating, basically, massive refrigerators and power hogs.

      Reply
      • Edward Jennings

        Paul,

        I must correct your understanding about cloud facilities (data centers). Watch this video from Microsoft to learn how “Green” Microsoft and other “Cloud Centers” actually have become. Microsoft and Google are very hard at work on the next gen “Green” facilities.

        http://goo.gl/aoXmxf

        Reply
      • Anonymous

        And as far as footprint and pollution go, I’m not sure digital is saving the planet. A study on the impact of massive cloud computing facilities, device disposal, and other forms of ‘digital pollution’ led me to think that we’re actually doing more damage, not less damage, to the environment in our post-analog music industry. We burn a lot of energy cooling all those servers, not to mention clearing out habitats for creating, basically, massive refrigerators and power hogs.

        Lets be a little more exhaustive into the thinking here…

        No one is telling people to produce or purchase tons and tons of junk electronics and devices, all each person really needs is a solidly well built device that can last them a decade, but instead we have to have some new tech thing with super duper advancements so that we can sell new product and make more money year after year after year, and then no one is telling china to make cheap toxic junk because the majority of people, regardless whether most want to front otherwise, are actually rather poor. All that is sort of the consumer age and the need to keep the big wheels turning and not conducive of digital being the problem, thats a human problem, humans destroy the planet, digital is certainly doing its part to help, but humans are the deciding factor.

        Yes the rare earth metals is a problem, but we have china dealing with the junk since they created most of it, and a lot of it is recyclable, which is a good thing.

        Sure energy is burnt cooling servers, but how is it done? Because at some point it becomes serious hair splitting, as theres no avoiding it one way or another. We cant all be Ghandis picketing to wear robes and sit around in mud huts for eternity, so there has to be some balance. If using hydro electric dams and solar and wind and nuclear then the energy used is rather clean, however if google has an army of chinese or mexican immigrants lined up shoveling coal in or lining up tanker trucks to burn oil, then its a bit different.

        One thing digital is helping with, is its not pumping out a few million units of plastic garbage, wrapping them in plastic garbage, dumping them on trucks to go to ships to go to trucks to then be trucked back, all burning tons and tons of oil, straight up into the sky with zero way to recapture any of the resource. The physical goods when broken all down leaves a significantly larger carbon footrpint then digital goods does.

        The problem i have with eliminating physical goods is more like the problem wed have if we eliminated paper cash money. No one wants to lose paper money and go all digital, i just dont trust those people to ever do the right thing and their actions have solidified the certainty that they cannot be trusted, so i think its important to retain some balance and therefore i would like to see some physical goods continue, even if that becomes nothing more then 3D printed physical goods, which shockingly is still getting the stink eye from the power mono players, which is really demotivating and infuriating. Im tired of these big corps and the mono corporate regime playing puppet master, constantly slowing down advancement and progress all in the name of them and only them profiting from it all. There is zero reason 3D printing should not be at the mass consumer level, forgoing the need for all this junk and all these huge massive plants etc. But with allowing the big corps time to get way ahead in the game and then restrict and control what 3D printing on the mass consumer scale will be like, it further leads us away from innovation and further leads us towards a dystopic state driven slave life and full on devolving of the species, all in the name of corporate reign and shareholder profit. Its pathetic to have to sit back and take orders from the same people who are making the worst decisions for the fate of the planet and the advancement of the race and societies, yet go back decades and they would essentially ruin and kill people for stunting or stalling their great advancements, so its all backwards now because if they get on the advancement train, they lose control power and profits, yet somehow are all still in power leadership positions telling us all what to do and how to do it, and we are all supposed to just sit back and enjoy it, praising the almighty rulers for being what?? greedy ego driven narcissistic d-bags???

        Its a super frustrating world we live in and not one real good on the motivating or inspiring other then through put a gun to your head and threaten to pull the trigger or else pure starvation, thats their methods, and they are super tired and frustrating.

        The small clearing done, mostly ethically and sustainably, for large refrigerators is fine in the big scheme, i mean, if we focused on tree hugging we would never get anywhere, the secret is balance and making sure it doesnt do long term damage and harm all in the name of the mighty dolla dolla bill yall!

        the amazon is still being gutted and we may even see it turn to a vast dessert in our life time, since the sahara sands carried over will no longer nourish the rich jungle flora and fauna as it used to and likely will just eventually pile up to the point of full on dessert, which then further accelerates the changes in nature, spreading far and wide negative affects. Since all we do is sit around at awesome forward thought intersections, ugh, pummeling carbon dioxide into the air and pissing away a scarce resource, its nice to know we are letting vast forests and jungles of carbon dioxide filters just die and be used for profit or cattle or whatever short sighted idea they are using to allow the continued destruction.

        Logging etc. is inevitable and if done sustainably, not a problem. But man some of those less governed more corrupt nations just are so far behind in the long game of building their countries up on the global stage, they are willing to worry only about their tiny fraction of a life and forget the long term ramifications of what they are doing to the planet, all so they can be all bigged up swashbuckling first world nations and their decision making leaders can be big balling power players. Its a silly ridiculous world we live in with a lot of problems going on.

        Save the amazon, fix the stupid intersections so we dont sit around all day long going nowhere pumping it all to the sky, else wedgie those clowns and get on with the electric cars already, cause hey, come 150 years, if we havent figured it out, its back to the dark ages for everyone where planes and ships will no longer move around, and then its a serious game of RISK at hand then innit?? If land based transportation doesnt go electric or non fossil fuel ASAP, and i mean like yesterday ASAP, then we are all likely fucked anyways…

        Reply
        • Name2

          One thing digital is helping with, is its not pumping out a few million units of plastic garbage, wrapping them in plastic garbage, dumping them on trucks to go to ships to go to trucks to then be trucked back, all burning tons and tons of oil, straight up into the sky with zero way to recapture any of the resource. The physical goods when broken all down leaves a significantly larger carbon footrpint then digital goods does.

          The CD longbox is dead!
          Long live the CD longbox!

          —NARM

          Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Someone in the music/show business talking about lack of respect, hilarious… I’ve never experienced a less respectful industry then music/showbiz, and furthermore, a fully disrespected job where everyone slams and hammers you other then from your squad/posse and corporate employer…

    so long as you have a large and loyal fanbase and no corporate overlord in control who’s also in bed with spotify et all, then obviously avoid the internet as much as possible and go direct to yuour fans who will hopefully support you… without fans willing to support there are very few options to success and security…

    Reply
  4. jim

    Bjork is awesome! Good for her. A true artist saying fuck you to corporate, major-label owned Spotify.

    The only people who will get rich off Spotify are the majors, who own a part, the bankers, and the upper level execs at Spotify.

    Reply
  5. Willis

    She can say whatever she wants to about Spotify or respect. The fact is that this has brought her more press than anything she has done in the past decade.

    Reply
    • Name2

      She’s kept herself an event by deciding not to tour herself to death, live off T-shirt profits, and sleep in a van.

      Or can you find any tickets for her upcoming NYC shows for under $300? Because I can’t.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Except that Netflix is releasing more and more brand new content that is all available to stream the minute it is released for the first time. The last season of Arrested Development, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, etc. were not available anywhere except for Netflix and you couldn’t watch them before they were live on the service.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Except that Netflix is releasing more and more brand new content that is all available to stream the minute it is released for the first time. The last season of Arrested Development, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, etc. were not available anywhere except for Netflix and you couldn’t watch them before they were live on the service.

      Which albums did Spotify invest in??

      NetFlix is coming out their own pocket to have shows made exclusively for their platform as well as tossing license fees to the rights owning corps, spotify so far is not paying to have corp employees pump out corp dosh exclusively for their platform.

      Movies/Television and Music are two things tough to compare, as it costs so much money to make decent movies and t.v. shows whereas music can be done on the cheap, which makes it even more confusing.

      Since music is mostly done by actors these days anyways all on massive corporate conglomerates, its weird they are not getting actor like money to make their corporate propaganda or that spotify et all havent stepped up and paid the non major affiliated top actors up front for exclusive rights to stream.

      As per the norm, most erm, arteests, who are more like actors then anything these days, which is fine by the way, just part of the j.o.b., are owned and controlled by major mono corps, who dictate what happens, the actor just plays their role and their end of the bench position to appease their shareholders and bosses, while duping the unbeknownst public into thinking they are alien esque creatures of out of this world talent and skills, when really they were just born into the proper flesh vessel, for the most part, at least these days anyways…

      😉

      Reply
      • Paul Resnikoff
        Paul Resnikoff

        Which albums did Spotify invest in??

        Actually, Spotify has invested in certain artists. Cazzette comes to mind. But for the most part, Spotify isn’t investing in content the way someone like Netflix is.

        Now, why is that? Instead of people focusing on the stuff that’s missing on Spotify, why not have them focus on the stuff you can’t get anywhere else, except Spotify?

        Reply
  7. small labe1

    Good for you Björk!
    If more artists and labels grew a pair, we could resolve this issue in no time..

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    “Björk: To work on something for two or three years and then just, Oh, here it is for free.”

    Spot on!

    Reply
  9. Airplay Music

    Streaming services have to deal with a future where they can not promote their service as providing “all” music.
    And then it will be even more difficult to upsale freeriders to paying subscribers.

    Reply
  10. Ed Jennings

    I support Björk’s decision 100%. I plan to BUY her FLAC recording of Vulnicura and listen to it on my Pono Music Player.

    Reply
  11. Musicservices4less

    Try and look at Bjork’s gut reaction as it relates to the concept of “free” vs. “pay me.” Bjork, like all true artists who are serious, need to make a living in order to be creative because it takes time, energy and long term commitment. And as Bjork points out, I want some respect now because of the level my prior art has achieved. So what might this mean and how can it be achieved for all artists and copyright owners?

    The FCC action yesterday of classifying the internet as a utility signals the possible beginning of the end of “free”. Combined with the Snowden revelations (everyone must watch the “Citizenfour” movie), we now know for sure that the government knows every detail that goes on over the worldwide internet and much more. The FCC action yesterday now made businesses on the internet officially subject to all copyright laws and there finally will be “teeth” for enforcement short of litigation. That means no more excuses about illegal copyrights not being able to be removed from anyone’s website no matter how small or how big you are. And what may develop, if you website enables that type of behavior there may be serious consequences for your operation. And this change will apply to ISPs. Yes there will be tons of litigation delaying and trying to avoid these results. I don’t know who will win. But what is clear is that the first battle of government vs big business (internet monopolies?), the government has achieved a stunning victory. But of course the “war” is nowhere near over.

    The issue of “free”, the copyright law and the rights of those working under it, will eventually be addressed in some fashion. And for me, I hope it is sooner than later. If you think what I have said is BS, tell my why.

    Reply
  12. David Allan

    That’s all fine and good….but a quick search for Vulnicura resulted in A LOT of places where I can stream the new album for free – most notibly http://youtu.be/f5ACtMLtMOg

    Bjork is in the position to release the record, put it out on as many channels as possible – iTunes, Spotify, Torrent sites, anywhere and everywhere. Have as many people listen to it as possible, free or otherwise….then TOUR the crap out of the album and recoup in ticket sales, merch, syncs and all other auxiliary places she can.

    Reply
    • Anon

      This isn’t about money for her, nor is it about touring it, it’s about a piece of work that she made for reasons other than solely making money. The recording is the thing and she feels like it deserves better.

      Thank god that there are artists and writers out there who see things in these terms. If we continue with Concentrating on the monetization of music we’ll end up with the music we deserve.

      It’s a refreshing take on things for sure – “I don’t really know but it doesn’t feel right, and it’s telling that it comes from a European rather than an American writer/artist.”

      Reply
      • Johnny Gagnon

        I could’nt agree more Anon , we cant count on people and business , who are deriving their incomes from our music , to set and adjust prices for works to get paid correctly … because the entire music business has gone down into a sink hole and we are the ones at the furthest at the bottom , and the people and business who have always had first access to the income from music continue to grab at whetever they can to survive , and by the time it gets to creators there are only pennies left for us….. Now it’s entirelyup to the creators to pull together and RE-set their own business and the ensuing industry , not the other way around , and they should not go for something and anything that pays pennies or pays unfairly because they are making things worse for those who seek a decent solution to the corporate markets’ industrial hole we are all in!

        Reply
    • Anonymous

      Just listened, thanks youtube! It’s pretty and kinda washes over you, but damn I wish she would make a fun album like her 90’s stuff.

      Reply
    • Name2

      She is generally not a road warrior. For this release, for example, she’s (so far) doing 3 venues in NYC, including Carnegie Hall and Governors’ Ball. Her MO the past few albums is to cover a highly selective assortment of major international markets, appear at festivals, etc.

      Reply
  13. There is something...

    And what respect does she have for people who actually PAY for premium streaming service ? Oh but wait, guess she prefers those people go torrent the leaked album instead of paying that stupid subscription every month…

    Reply
    • small labe1

      ..uhh. you do realize, I hope, (actually it appears you don’t)… that you are a customer of the streaming service, and not any artist!
      look at the final post over at thecynicalmusician about Spotify, as this says it more clearly than I can say.

      Reply
  14. Anon

    One can completely understand the sentiment, in as much as it’s Her music and it’s completely up to her how she wants to release it. If it doesn’t feel right then why should she?

    But there’s some very confused thinking going on about how the music is purchased and consumed. The comparison with Netflix and going to the movies and downloading/streaming makes no sense.

    But I guess she makes beautiful music and I comment on articles on dmn

    Reply
  15. Johnny Gagnon

    Better off having your own artist website and giving downloads away yourself rather than letting shark established government approved corporate big business institute their unfair ideals practises and trend models of what we the creators , the producers and manufacturers should be getting paid …… hey,! who’s music is it anyway ?

    Reply
  16. Name2

    The CD is 8.98 pre-ordered at Amazon (release date in March).

    Lossless downloads are currently higher than that price.

    So obviously (in this case) the longer you are willing to wait, the less you have to pay. Seems like a way to go forward or backward, really).

    Reply

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