Breaking: Google Calling Off $14.1 Billion Spotify Acquisition…


Google is now abruptly walking away from its planned, $14.1 billion acquisition of Spotify, according to multiple sources speaking to Digital Music News early this morning.  The all-but-sealed deal, first reported by DMN last week, would have been the largest music-related acquisition in history, but Google apparently soured on the deal in light of some “serious artist compensation concerns.”

One major sticking point was Spotify’s $0.005 per-stream payout rate, a figure that demonstrated ‘excessive fractional penny compensation’ for top executives at Google and YouTube.  In other words, Spotify is simply paying way too much for ‘content’ that YouTube and Google are getting for free.  “The prevailing sentiment was that Spotify should be doing a lot more to innovate around artist payments, specifically lower payments,” YouTube head of content marketing Claire Stamper told the Wall Street Journal.

“At YouTube, our core DNA revolves around innovation and unlimited access, and that includes solving core problems related to recurring artist compensation with ad-supported products that enliven and populate our groundbreaking products.”

Stamper was quick to note that Google and YouTube pay “very substantial figures” to artists across all platforms, and have “really great relationships” with artists worldwide.

“That includes Taylor Swift, who just loves YouTube,” Stamper noted.  “We want to keep our great relationship intact.”

There was also lots of disagreement over Spotify’s ‘freemium’ business model, which attempts to shuttle free listeners towards paying, premium accounts (so far, Spotify has amassed 15 million paying subscribers).  During deliberations, Google and YouTube executives expressed confusion over this ‘premium’ model, which didn’t involve massive, repeated uploads of unauthorized content, per-stream payouts that start at $0, and a flood of pre-roll, pop-under and overlay ads with a waterfall of abusive comments.

But in the end, the numbers just weren’t adding up.  “YouTube has never charged anything to view a video, and we dramatically narrowed our fiscal losses to $4 billion in 2014 as a result,” Stamper continued to tell the Wall Street Journal.  “We didn’t want to alter our success formula or confuse our users with any direct payment or ‘premium’ nonsense.”

That comes alongside leaks that the paid YouTube Music Key is merely a ‘premium hack’ designed to see what would happen if Google thought about a paid-only music platform, left it in a ‘perma private beta’ state, then shut it down two years later.

The talks quickly turned ugly, with an irate group of Goldman Sachs bankers demanding a meeting with Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, with a renegade group even threatening to inflate the Google-owned nation of Seychelles into first-world industrialized status through a mid-prime credit avalanche, before plunging it back into third-world status by Thursday though an extreme margin-based default implosion play if the deal wasn’t finalized.

Brin, who has been stealth alpha-testing a Google Play Music All Access Plus account for Google Glass v2.x, apparently knew little about Spotify or the ongoing talks.

“What’s this Tidal thing?” Brin messaged to key Google executives.



18 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Quite bad April’s fool joke DMN which kinda defeats the whole purpose of April’s fool jokes. I thought people suppose to make April fools jokes on the 1st of April only. Announcing “mysterious” Spotify’s acquisition a week prior to 1st of April, then on the 1st of April announcing that apparently the deal is “called off”. So you have posted a lie a week ago and today you’ve posted another one. Keep up and you will lose the last crumbs of credibility you still have left!

    • Anonymous

      They do this every year ONLY around April 1. Come on, take a joke.

  2. Musicservices4less

    Hey my chicken friend Anonymous, get the stick out of you ass and learn that laughter is the best medicine. What, you can’t take a joke. Troll

  3. Tom

    Screw you guys. Laughed out loud at the para on “irate GS bankers” though..

  4. Remi Swierczek

    Jay-z should get more artist friends, give a billion to Ek as equalizer payment and merge Spotify with TIDAL!

    It will make the trip to the music swamp more pleasant.
    Team work is always fun!

  5. Andrew

    The Lefsetz Letter was much better, with a more reasonable $10Billion buy-out and a real-world grounding that had me fooled until he wrote of the secret participation of Taylor Swift.

  6. Lisa

    Google has a paid Music Service. This is the worse April Fools Joke I have ever seen.

  7. marcel

    Spotify´s paying $0.05 per stream? What a big lie! Do You want me to publish statements of what they really paid us? Less than $0.002 per stream. This guy Daniel Ek may pay to mayors $0.05 per stream. To Indie Labels he paid us with air. Spotify must be sued by every single label in the world for “stealing” money from young, naive, struggling musicians all over the world.

    • Anonymous

      I’d like to see those statements. My acts range in payments from .0001 to 1.4 cents. Which averages out to about .004, still shitty and still below what they claim. But certainly not .002. If that’s truly what you’re getting, you might have an issue with your distributor as well.

    • Anonymous

      Spotify´s paying $0.05 per stream? What a big lie! Do You want me to publish statements of what they really paid us? Less than $0.002 per stream. This guy Daniel Ek may pay to mayors $0.05 per stream. To Indie Labels he paid us with air. Spotify must be sued by every single label in the world for “stealing” money from young, naive, struggling musicians all over the world.

      I’ve seen up to nearly $.09 before for a stream…

      Why should they be sued? Because the young, naive, struggling musicians chose not to do their due diligence or their own research with the history of information freely at their fingertips? When then chose to give Spotify the rights to use their music?

      That would be like one of your musicians giving me a guitar with the expectation if i ever sold it i’d give them 10%, with signed documentation saying as such, and then getting a lawsuit years later when i sell it on craigslist for a few dollars and give them 10%…

        • Musicservices4less

          The issue with Spotify is the free tier. Don’t be fooled by focusing on the royalty amount issue. The royalty debate is a classic red herring issue be used to quiet l the free tier issuel.

          The situation is similar to what the major labels used to do in their old “standard” recording contracts under the heading of “free goods”. Once upon a time, there was no limit on the amount of free goods a record label could exclude from the number of units it accounted to an artist as sales. Eventually as artists, as a group, became somewhat stronger in negotiations, the “2 free on 10” standard and/or an overall 15% maximum free goods allowance became somewhat standard.

          Any accountant can tell you that it is much more favorable to the record label to lower the pool of sales that you are accounting on than slightly lowering the individual royalty rate. Especially if that rate is pretty much at its lowest point already.

  8. Anonymous

    worse joke, I didn’t know this website but now I know and hate it



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