Breaking: $14 Billion Spotify Acquisition Happening Next Week…

danielek

Spotify is preparing to be acquired at a price tag ‘north of $14 billion,’ according to multiple sources now speaking with Digital Music News.  Signatures and final approvals are ‘exceptionally close,’ with an announcement carefully planned for exactly one week from now, according to one dealmaker.

The buyer is not being disclosed, though the Wall Street Journal is already preparing a front page story for next Wednesday morning.  The article will symbolically be available only to paying subscribers.

The paid-only symbolism is part of a massive shift in philosophy by both Spotify, the major labels, and its soon-to-be-named mega-buyer.   The deal comes amidst cantankerous negotiations between Spotify and the major recording labels, with the CEOs of both Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment applying heavy pressure on Spotify to eliminate their free access tier.  Spotify initially resisted those moves, but is now softening its stance as part of an artist-friendly, three-way deal involving YouTube and its various music properties.

According to the details of this momentous plan, shared under strict confidence with Digital Music News, YouTube has agreed to stop showing free music videos entirely if Spotify agrees to close its free access tier at the same time.  The unilateral move will make listening to free music far more difficult for casual music fans, and millions of Spotify and YouTube listeners will be shocked to find free streaming music completely shut off, effective next Wednesday.

The plan is expected to mint several million paying subscribers overnight, and substantially change the music industry balance sheet in the process.

“We’re finally making streaming fair for every musician and rights owner, and I’m happy that everyone can equally enjoy the spoils of our years of hard work,” Ek stated, in a quote approved for the Wall Street Journal.  “I hope our friends over at Pandora will follow our example.”

In parallel with those efforts, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) CEO Cary Sherman is planning to announce a bombshell deal with the Russian cultural ambassador Viktor Petrov that will effectively close 99% of illegal torrent and mp3 download sites in the country.  That, coupled with an initiative by US Department of Homeland Security special advisor Douglas Stamper to block virtually all illegal music sites worldwide, will finally deliver the ‘paid only’ environment envisioned by Universal Music Group exiting executive Rob Wells.

The deal will also feature a number of artist-friendly aspects, part of a ‘Sustainable Streaming’ core of principles arranged in round-the-clock sessions just outside of Stockholm.  As part of the buyout, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has reportedly insisted that at least half of the $14 billion-plus payout be paid directly to a musicians fund, with Taylor Swift a symbolic beneficiary.  Billionaire Sean Parker, a high-ranking Spotify executive and co-founder of the original Napster, has also committed to donating his payout of approximately $1.41 billion to create a pro-bono legal and accounting fund designed to help artists locate and receive streaming royalties from their labels.

 

More as this develops.  Image by Official LeWeb Photos, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

 

 

88 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    “The buyer is not being disclosed”

    Perhaps it’s Jay Z, again? :)

    Reply
      • Remi Swierczek

        I guess it is not April 1st.

        I guess it must be the truth, wow! …is it the Google FUNNEL?
        Francis Keeling, Universal Music’s Global Head of Digital Business: Google Streaming Service ‘Is the Biggest Funnel We Can Have’ (Billbord Feb 26th/2013)
        NOPE, It is Francis Keeling’s trust in music ubiquity!!!
        He means big time UBIQUITY!

        The plan is to mutate humankind so we all urinate with gold infused music induced liquid!

        Time to buy stock in Sewer Equipment Company of America!

        Reply
    • Jeff Robinson

      Hmmm, wanna bet Sony is buying them outright? Anyone who’s been using the Sony streaming service knows that Spotify takes over as their provider of streaming music at the end of the month…

      Oh, the synergy. The question is, will Spotify be for Sony, what the Walkman was once to them or the iPod to Apple?

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    “exactly one week from now”

    Let’s see, today it’s March 25. Which means… :)

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    “The unilateral move will make listening to free music far more difficult for casual music fans, and millions of Spotify and YouTube listeners will be shocked to find free streaming music completely shut off”

    I can see how you came up with that scenario. :) But not even that would be enough to make people pay again.

    I had some similar thoughts yesterday though, and my conclusion was that you would have to hide not only YouTube and Spotify but also Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Instagram behind a global paywall.

    That might work: Users would not go back to the Pirate Bay (as they would in your scenario) since they would need the social networks as well. And YouTube would be as viral as ever behind the global paywall…

    Feel free to use the concept in March 2016…

    Reply
    • Viewerv

      Yes and no. Some people will NEVER pay and its not even a matter of being able to pay or not. However, that is a minority. The majority are ruled by convenience and price. If you are time rich but cash poor and thus genuinely cannot afford the Spotify subscription then yes you will still go hunting for torrents, downloads etc, etc. But given that Spotify subscription is like $9.99/month – most working adults or even some college students who are just want to listen to music and don’t have the time to go hunting for it will just pay for the convenience of easy access. So I think people will pay. Netflix and other subscription services have proven that people will pay when the price and convenience add-up to an enticing offer.

      Reply
  4. pbody

    It appears we are going back to the days of major labels controlling everything. Its like we went in one big loop. Now artists will get .25% again while execs buy multiple mansions in Beverly Hills. Musicians will get pushed and then thrown out like they did in the past.

    Reply
    • small labe1

      what do you mean “back to”?
      The majors are stronger than ever, and the only people actually hurt from all the “evil label” bullshit are the dwindling middle-class artists…

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    The funniest part is if you put this much effort into ACTUAL news stories, this site might not get shit on so much….

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    This is a really desperate ploy for readership. April Fools jokes are done ON April 1. Everyone knows that if this was a real news story, it would get picked up by a news source and not a digital rag.

    Reply
      • Sarah

        Thanks for sharing the links. I’m actually a bit surprised Vessel hasn’t been more of a story on DMN. Seems extremely relevant, and it’s implementing a promising concept.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          I’m not sure the audio-only generations understand what’s going on in video.

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            You’re right, your Facebook story is relevant and certainly not ancient.

            But it’s stll primarily an audio-only site, isn’t it… Spotify, Pandora, Spotify, Pandora — a new article every day. There’s even this Spotify Top 5 on your front page, and I mean, why…

          • Anonymous

            I’m not sure the audio-only generations understand what’s going on in video.

            The video is already over and done with, its gone big east, its lost its edge, its gone super duper corporate, lost all cool, and thats just the way it is…

            That doesnt mean its bad, i love video, its a great artform and a craft ive always wanted to delve into, almost went to school for it, so dont get it twisted, what it does mean though is dont buy into the tech hype and service providers hype and their rhetoric, when i say its a dead format it means that there is zero need to spend a dime on a music video if you dont have it covered one way or another already, whether through product placement, sponsorship or funding, label investment, or youre rich or are willing to accept the reality of a decent loss on the books etc. Because there is no way to recuperate the cost of a professional well done storyboarded video with professional equipment and people anymore, and that alone aint gonna do ish for you, because without about 2-10x more money then the cost of the video just to market and promote the thing, itll just collect dust and leave a large dent in any revenues…

            Essentially what this incredible technology and lower costs has done, is plummet the quality to straight garbage for the most part, colluded the market place and spread so much propaganda that now every last person shoots a laptop camera music video of them singing some famous celebrities song all in hopes they become famous or something, the internet has shown us how pathetic most people are and how so brutally desperate for fame most people are, and thats what the entertainment, show and music and fashion businesses have really become, just platforms to make people who want to be famous famous, and not developing true passionate professionals, just money grabbing from wannabes, its awful….

            Anyways, If you are touring you might want one to help draw some bums in to warm some seats, but i can think of a lot of successful people that dont have much video anywhere, regardless the profession, and in that case, a simple decent handycam of shows is more then enough to give potential customers the idea of what sort of product you are putting on…

          • lol

            andd just like that, you’ve lost all credibility. though the editorial on DNW was devolving into a mix of reactionary ‘get off my lawn’ rhetoric and plain ol hysteria, this is not the onion nor is it april 1. has every article been an april fools joke? would explain a lot.

  7. Cb

    Retards. The irony that this is probably the most detailed editorial you’ve written all year. How about actually serving the industry rather than mocking it. Go back to buzzfeed

    Reply
      • Anon

        So anything that appears on this site from now until April 1st is basically tongue in cheek. So much for being the “authority of the music industry” if you’re happy to justify it

        Reply
    • Anonymous

      Nice one douchebags. you’ve just lost all credit in the industry

      Not a bad thing as the industries lost all credibility with everyone already anyways, so not having credibility in the industry, is a good thing these days, as all the industry does is lie and steal and rip people off and etc. etc. etc.

      Reply
      • Anon

        Right…. sounds as though you don’t even know who or what “industry” you are talking about. Artists are in the industry. So they rip you off? What about session musicians, they’re in the industry too. They rip you off? Vevo and their free music videos, they rip you off? Music stores!! they sell guitars, so, they should hand them out for free? Typical response from someone who has absolutely zero idea what they are talking about.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Right…. sounds as though you don’t even know who or what “industry” you are talking about.

          My elusive and often difficult to interpret posts and talk, do not make me at fault for your poor assumptions or your misinterpretations… The sentence i replied with left no information to ascertain any conclusion one way or another upon anything further then the very direct and succinct point i made…

          Artists are in the industry. So they rip you off?

          That is what i said above if im not mistaken, but for further clarification, yes, yes they do, not all of them of course, but hey, these days i have to give back what i get, and since im guilty by association and guilty before being proven innocent, well, lets see how everyone else enjoys it…

          What about session musicians, they’re in the industry too. They rip you off?

          Session musicians work for hire, so they would tend to not be informed or totally complicit, and while some of them may be in possession of stolen property, my property, session musicians would mostly have it to listen and enjoy and to study, which is far down my list of problems, otherwise if they are in possession of any unreleased and unpublished property, then yes, they are on the hook like anyone else, so they can start squirming now…

          Otherwise they may be complicit in a crime if they worked with certain producers and teams and labels who were engaging in crimes against my person, but hey, im not out to hurt the working man just trying to make a living who isnt publicly humiliating me and ruining my reputation and defaming my character…

          Vevo and their free music videos, they rip you off?

          Vevo is owned by Universal, so yes, yes they most certainly have, and you can write that down put it in bold and underline it, send it everywhere you need to…

          I didnt want it to work out like this, i never had a problem with any of them or anyone, it all just sort of happened, very unfortunately i might add, i didnt ask for any of this…

          Music stores!! they sell guitars, so, they should hand them out for free?

          Music stores never ripped me off, actually they were one place of satisfaction, always treated me very well with plenty of respect, gave me deals when they could, were straight up when the couldnt, very good service from some of the guys, always have nothing but great things to say about Graham…

          Where do you come up with handing out free guitars??

          Are you assuming im someone im not??

          Are you assuming im something im not??

          Typical response from someone who has absolutely zero idea what they are talking about.

          Perhaps you need to check yourself there mate, cause i got some of the biggest players in the music industry in check mate, mate, so i think i have a slight idea of what im saying, otherwise i wouldnt be saying it…

          Should i possibly clarify that not every last faction of the industry is ripping me off?? Possibly, but quite frankly, im not overly concerned with having to add addendum after addendum, on my own time and my own money, when i dont get the same treatment or respect in return, therefore if you so choose to run off on some wild assumption of something that doesnt even exist or isnt true, then so be it, not my problem…

          Reply
  8. BS

    Calling BS.. you can’t pull an April Fools before April 1st. #lame #thatsjustlying

    Reply
  9. hilarious

    pfft. welcome to more bit torrents and youtube extractors. this changes nothing other than making it harder to access music for free, but it won’t stop the erosion of sales for the free music generation. nice try though. too little too late.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    “I did real work putting together a real story!” – DMN

    Just kidding,
    Happy April Fools!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Get on my level.

      What level is that?

      What game are you playing?

      Is this mario bros? Tetris? Mortal Kombat? or are you xboxing? some cod?

      Or are you mountain climbing?

      Or do you mean pyramids? Are you in a pyramid like hierarchical structure and you are high up it? How does one increase their levels in that scheme then? Is it by job title? Paycheck? What exactly ups your level?

      Reply
  11. Tom

    Clearly April fools. Douglas Stamper is a character from House of Cards and Rob Wells plays Ricky in the Trailor Park Boys

    Reply
  12. Edward Jennings

    This fantasy article was published because Ben Sisario and Brian Chen at the NY Times reported the skinny on Apple Beats.

    Reply
  13. Prasad

    I’ve heard that these possible rumors increase the valuation of a company!

    Reply
  14. Musician

    It looks like the Industry people will get paid………..while the songwriters that create the music still receive next to nothing. Look into the percentages that the songwriter / band(s) make on sales of their product with these companies. Again, those that create…..starve……….those that take……..prosper.

    Reply
  15. Gern Blanston

    You spent your time on this garbage while on the same day the NY Times and others are reporting on Apple’s inability to secure more favorable on–demand streams rates than their competitors? Oh, wait, you’ve got a hard on for ignoring anything related to Dre…

    Reply
  16. anonimouse

    if this is an april fool you are morons and your site has just lost all respect. sick joke

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    Major Fail Digital Music News! April fool jokes are only funny on the 1st of April.

    Reply
  18. Hippydog

    April 1st is NEXT week..
    of course now I’m wondering if last week’s article was also a pre-April fools joke.. and last month’s also..

    Reply
  19. Willis

    First question – who has that money to spend?
    Second question – who is in the space (music and/or tech) that has that money to spend?
    Answer – Google

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    Paul-

    I object to this article. It’s not April 1st, and you’re not The Onion or Lefsetz.

    Last visit.

    Reply
  21. Digital Music Snooze

    Can anyone weigh in on the legality of publishing an article like this? It seems like it’s teetering on a fine line of corporate defamation… Granted, most anyone that is anyone in the Music Industry now regards this site as a tabloid rather than a news source, but you’ve got to wonder, if Spotify was actually in acquisition talks and this article was interpreted as true by a potential party, it could potentially impact an actual deal. There are three general factors that illustrate corporate defamation: False Statement, Publication, and Damages. Should this article impact any of Spotify OR YouTube’s business, there could be serious consequences.

    If anyone has more info on this please chime in!

    Also, Jesus Paul, this is the best you can do? Yikes.

    Reply
  22. py

    why doubt that someone is buying the biggest music streaming service,gives me the feeling even you know that spotify or any streaming service is not worthy a company to be bought. shows how subscription music business is too broken and uncertain to believe in

    Reply
  23. McG

    Goddammit, DMN. Just when I thought there was hope for the industry. The ironic thing is, there is SO much wisdom in this ruse. Forget the BS $14B acquisition, if Spotify, YouTube, the labels and Pandora all got on board with this, we’d have a music industry again. So while I’m pissed at being had, I’m hopeful that the seeds of genius here might percolate into the actual industry subconscious.

    Reply
  24. funny

    Anyone thinking if this is real or not google Douglas Stamper. Seem’s the fictional character is moonlighting from House Of Cards.

    Reply
  25. Spoken X Digital Media Group

    The last of the great merger and acquisitions on the digital music landscape ! All I can say is that the crystal ball equity investors should be well pleased with Spotify’s latest performance. . . ; your loving partner , Literati X . . .

    Reply
  26. fuck off and die

    fuck you digital music news. A good april fools joke has to be
    1. On April Fools.
    2. Outrageous but slightly plausible, particularly to gullible types.
    3. Funny when you realize the joke.

    You got it wrong on all counts:
    1. Not on April Fools,
    2. Not outrageous. It’s totally believable that Spotify could sell for $14B and the outrageous bits don’t show up until several paragraphs in.
    3. Not funny at all.

    You lost a lot of respect with me with this stupid post.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “It’s totally believable that Spotify could sell for $14B”

      No, it really, really isn’t. :)

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      fuck you digital music news. A good april fools joke has to be
      1. On April Fools.
      2. Outrageous but slightly plausible, particularly to gullible types.
      3. Funny when you realize the joke.

      You got it wrong on all counts:
      1. Not on April Fools,
      2. Not outrageous. It’s totally believable that Spotify could sell for $14B and the outrageous bits don’t show up until several paragraphs in.
      3. Not funny at all.

      You lost a lot of respect with me with this stupid post.

      fuck off and die????

      really????

      that article brought that out of you????

      is no one else concerned about the internet and more so how societies and people have exposes themselves of needing serious help????

      there needs to be a proactive group who goes out and really tracks these sorts of people down and sees if there is any sort of help they can offer these people, i mean, instead of the 1-800 numbers with whoever on the other end of the line, we need good hearted proactive groups of people with the authority to help these kinds of people, instead of the trying to immediately sedate them or lock them up…

      That person needs some kind of help, whether just a friend or who knows what, but finding out what is lacking in them or their life to the point that they want people to just fuck off and die, from a little article and good humored joke, is a serious problem out there right now.

      the bullying nature of what has happened with the internet and the way the kids are using social media to beat up on others, to the point they tell people to fuck off and die and to go kill themselves, shows a very shallow understanding of life and a total callous view on the preciousness of every millisecond and every breath…

      something massively drastic needs to happen, its scary to see these kinds of things….

      o.O

      Reply
  27. Stephen

    If this is a pre-April Fools Joke, its in bad taste, and is totally irresponsible.

    Reply
  28. anonymous

    “Viktor Petrov”? “Douglas Stamper”? WTF? Is it April 1st already?

    Reply
  29. Perrin

    Paid streaming services for TV and music would be applicable if content was released world wide. 99% of streaming from Russian torrent site is directed at non-US countries.

    Reply
  30. annoyed

    If this is a pre-April Fools Joke, its in bad taste, and is totally irresponsible.
    If this is a pre-April Fools Joke, its in bad taste, and is totally irresponsible.

    If this is a pre-April Fools Joke, its in bad taste, and is totally irresponsible.

    If this is a pre-April Fools Joke, its in bad taste, and is totally irresponsible.

    If this is a pre-April Fools Joke, its in bad taste, and is totally irresponsible.

    Reply
  31. josh

    So bummed that this is an April fool’s joke!! Not really funny… just made me sad after realizing it….

    Reply
  32. FrankLINY

    None of this is true… Hey ever hear of fm radio.. Oh yeah … None of this is about the artist.. All about the companies behind them.

    Reply

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