3.38 Million Reasons Why Spotify Has a Serious Problem…

Adele Live, 2009

Somewhere along the treacherous path towards streaming, artists decided to let Spotify win.  They weren’t going to get paid properly, accounted to properly, or benefit from all the free, ad-supported streaming that has made investors and executives rich.  But maybe they’d get some exposure that would fuel some other revenue avenues, like touring, sponsorships, or even merchandise.

Who knows, maybe they’d get onto a big playlist and score a survival payout like Perrin Lamb.

Artists like Ari Herstand told fellow musicians that they were compromising their careers if they didn’t go where the fans were; vitriolic pundit Bob Lefsetz called you an idiot for challenging the emerging status quo.  And this of course goes beyond Spotify: YouTube, Soundcloud, Rdio, Pandora, Apple Music, and half-a-dozen other big platforms are woven into this stained fabric.

Amidst the endless cacophony, punditry and controversy, artists realized the depressing truth: there’s only so much time you can spend shaking your fist at the system before it starts to compromise your writing, touring, and ability to survive.  There are only so many hours in a day, so many dollars to spend, so much energy to expend.  And it became obvious that artists who decided to fight the system would die in obscurity trying.   Better to dance with the devil then risk a total non-career.

Into this exhausted acquiescence enters Adele, who somehow sold an astounding 3.38 million copies of her latest album, 25, in just one week according to details now confirmed by Nielsen Soundscan.  That is the biggest one-week sales tally ever recorded by Soundscan, which started in 1991, and represents a record that could last for decades, if not forever given the downward slide of the bundled album.

Most importantly, 100% of those sales were either album downloads, CDs, or vinyl, which deliver far superior payouts than streaming (and typically, far better transparency).  All of which raises some very serious questions for Spotify and other streaming services, a group at the vanguard of music consumption but oftentimes perceived as the enemy by artists and creators.

adele_forsale

So what’s an artist to do in these tumultuous times?

Lefsetz screams that artists who follow Adele’s lead are idiots; they’re simply not in the same league.  Indeed, most artists never crawl out of scarcity; their biggest problem isn’t Spotify.  But that doesn’t make it right, and perhaps deep down, we all know that ad-supported streaming is a raw deal for almost everyone except music fans, the streaming services themselves, and investors in those streaming services (which now includes the major recording labels).

Adele certainly knows that.  And so does Taylor Swift, and both have taken action against the unfairness.   But those catalog gaps haven’t slowed Spotify (or streaming) one bit; in fact, the recent Taylor Swift boycott actually added subscribers to Spotify (hey, no publicity is bad publicity).  And fans don’t really care about complaining artists and compensation problems; that’s another thing we’ve learned along the way (just ask Tidal).

The question now is whether the vast remainder of artists, including a larger number of bigger names, decide to shift their strategies in the wake of Adele’s record-breaking success.  3.38 million albums is also 3.38 million fans, all of whom gladly steered past streaming and supported an artist they loved.  So maybe this is all just another Taylor Swift moment, or maybe something far more serious.

 

 

Top image by Christopher Macsurak; middle image by Franklin Heijnen; both licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).

62 Responses

  1. Ray Miller

    Here is what I know, My teenage Daughter, has bought 2 albums in the past year, they are Taylor Swift and Adele. Why ? Because they weren’t on Spotify. She also loves Justin Beiber, Meaghan Trainor and Nick Jonas. She didn’t buy their albums Why? Their albums are on Spotify, She just streams them. I have no doubt their are some artist that spotify may help, but artist with sizeable fan bases don’t need them, and are crazy to put 5heir music on there.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “Here is what I know, My teenage Daughter, has bought 2 albums in the past year, they are Taylor Swift and Adele. Why ? Because they weren’t on Spotify

      Yeah, that’s just the way it works.

      Windowing is the solution we’ve been looking for — and it’s fair to everybody:

      Super fans pay for fast delivery, the rest of us stream it for free after a few weeks, and artists are paid.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    It’s going to upset some people to realize it, but this breakout by Adele is the biggest story in music since Nirvana released ‘Nevermind’.

    Reply
  3. FarePlay

    And just think the pirate faithful are become the new luddites.

    Swift’s got the under 25 audience and Adele got the over 45. Do the math.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “the pirate faithful are become the new luddites”

      Yeah, but they’ll come around. There’s no need to steal anymore.

      Reply
        • Name2

          I’m sure that’s just what monkeys at the zoo are thinking when they fling shit at visitors.

          Reply
  4. Jennifer

    When will people realize Spotify is not the artist’s enemy? It’s the labels, how many times does this need to be said? Spotify pays the labels an obscene amount of money in royalties, but the labels ensure it’s not paid forward to the artist. It’s a shame, what should be a great source of revenue is vilified because surprise, surprise – label heads are greedy and have worked themselves into a corner with their archaic business practices and are grabbing to keep themselves fat cats. And let’s not give Taylor Swift credit for “fighting” for integrity in the music industry – after all, her daddy bought her record deal for her. She’s the last person who should be pointing fingers at how shady the biz is.

    Reply
    • Literally Can't Even

      But that major labels OWN part of Spotify. About 20% in total according to some estimates. So how is this not Spotify screwing the artists, if they ARE the labels?

      Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      The issue is that Spotify is complicit in a broader scheme, one which they plead ignorance but is fairly obvious to the educated observer. I think we’re smarter than that.

      Actually, there are mechanisms for dealing with participants that historically do not pay their member artists: SoundExchange, for example, pays part of the payment directly to the artist, to bypass near-certain non-payments (by law). They even allocate a portion of payments on non-interactive streaming to background performers.

      from their site:

      “Under the law, 45 percent of performance royalties are paid directly to the featured artists on a recording, and 5 percent are paid to a fund for non-featured artists, typically session musicians and background singers. The other 50 percent of the performance royalties are paid to the owner of the sound recording (i.e., the owner of the “master”), which can be a record label or an artist who owns their own masters.”

      PROs like ASCAP I believe have similar structures for direct songwriter payments.

      Reply
      • Name2

        Why did SoundExchange have so much trouble finding obscure retired artist Ted Nugent? Does SoundExchage have boobies?

        Reply
    • HelloWorld

      If you’re an indie, Spotify ( or any other digital store ) pays you directly.

      Reply
      • Me2

        The fact that this needs to be constantly explained, over and over again, just goes to show the influence of shill “industry” journalism.

        Reply
  5. Anonymous

    “The question now is whether the vast remainder of artists, including a larger number of bigger names, decide to shift their strategies in the wake of Adele’s record-breaking success.”

    I think so — this is not about pro-streaming and anti-streaming, you know.

    This is about windowing. And windowing is the right solution for most acts today.

    Reply
    • some guy

      At the moment, windowing might be rational for a tiny minority of acts (including Adele).
      This won’t be true for much longer. Don’t forget, 5 and 10 years down the road, only grandma and grandpa are going to own clunky old CD players.

      Reply
  6. Mateja

    I don’t think Adele’s sales change anything really. I don’t think windowing would significantly increase the sales for other artists. Adele sold what she sold because she is Adele, but many people also pirated the new album.

    Besides, if streaming SUBSCRIBERS couldn’t get most new releases, they would end their subscriptions and become ad-supported streamers. The revenue from streaming would fall. Everyone that is complaining how these services aren’t attracting the subscribers fast enough would have to shut up.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “if streaming SUBSCRIBERS couldn’t get most new releases, they would end their subscriptions”

      Nonsense, subscribers already know that the world’s biggest names are not available on Spotify on release day. It’s been this way for years now. That’s why the service is so cheap.

      It’s just like ordering from Amazon — you pay extra for fast delivery, or you wait a couple of weeks.

      Reply
    • Me2

      Well we’re going to find out soon.
      Services that allow artists to be on paid tier only are not going to have as many problems.

      Reply
  7. DavidB

    I saw a tweet recently by @rockonomic saying there had been a big fall in royalties paid per user by Spotify between 2013 and early 2015. This might of course be accounted for by Spotify’s very generous ‘introductory’ deals. The tweet said more details would be published after Thanksgiving. Worth keeping an eye on it.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    what no one is talking about is how mediocre and middle of the road this album is. chalk it up too all hype and good marketing. plus, there’s no competition in the marketplace when her album dropped.

    Reply
    • Name2

      OTOH, Taylor Swift can’t even carry a tune on “(I can’t get no) Satisfaction”.

      Right next to Mick Jagger himself.

      This is your modern-day music industry. Give it more money.

      Reply
      • GStorm

        The reason for Swift and Adele, regardless of talent, is that they are cheap to record and produce. If you want a scrapping-bare-bones music industry, you’ll get a lot of vocal music and vocal pop.

        Reply
        • Me2

          Utter nonsense.
          Unless you feel like footing the bill for making 1989 and 25.
          How much did they cost to make anyway?
          You seem to know.

          Reply
  9. Name2

    DMN’s secret recipe to move 3 million in your first week:

    1. Keep your album off Spotify
    2. Be an established mega-superstar like Taylor Swift or Adele.
    3. Profit!!

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    I’ve been reading about various artists, who have either windowed or kept their albums off streaming platforms completely, Adele, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Enya, cold play etc. Their albums all went Gold and Platinum. You could argue their big stars who would sell anyway, but people like Jason Derulo, Pitbull and Fetty Wap are big stars with Millions of streams, but their sell a 100k if their lucky.

    Reply
    • There is something...

      Lol, putting Jason Derulo and Pitbull on the same level as Adele and TS is just so dumb !

      Reply
      • Name2

        You mean, not everybody moves 3 million in 1 week? Oh gosh. I’m all out of ideas, now.

        — DMN braintrust

        Reply
  11. Kedwin

    Well it’s for sure a wave a for future,I believe the coporate music industry should always protect the artist well being. But of course their only concerned about their pockets. Lets face it, the record labels have always been greedy about money. Cheating,stealing artist royalties for decades this is nothing new. I can name hundreds of black artist who were screwed out their royalties, 21st before streaming was thought of. So i say hey get 28th the program because nobody ever complained about the black artist being screwed so Why start now ? Get with the program fit in or get out.

    Reply
    • Gstorm

      You are missing the point because for starters all the cool labels that were indies and not corporate and in it for the music that discovered the bands the labels later scooped up, all went out of business 10 years ago. And they aren’t coming back unless they can make enough to pay the bills.

      Reply
  12. GGG

    Just a lesson for all you small DIY bands with 1200 Facebook fans. Just stay off Spotify and you too can sell 3.38M records!

    Reply
  13. MarkH

    Well I guess nobody has to whine about piracy anymore. Turns out people still buy music.

    Reply
  14. Man from 1998

    These boy bands cannot be beat! First you got Backstreet Boys with 1 million in a week, then you got the boys over at NSYNC breaking the 2 million mark. Whoever breaks 3 million, it’s gonna be a bunch of 16 year olds in acid washed jeans I’ll tell you that much!

    Reply
  15. Literati X

    If you think , Adele , selling 3. 38 million records to a global audience is the biggest story in music you’re really on a know nothing drug infested frenzy ! First off , what , Adele , just did is an old , aging dinosaur moment signaling an end to 100 million records in , Michael Jackson’s day. Furthermore , selling records is the music industry is a part time hustle. The music industry is a software service industry now in align with all the major countries transitioning into the same servicing entity . . .: Poet X

    Reply
  16. Musician Who Understands

    Wow. Where to begin…

    “Somewhere along the treacherous path towards streaming, artists decided to let Spotify win. They weren’t going to get paid properly, accounted to properly,…”

    1) What does it mean to be paid “properly”?

    2) Spotify (nor any other interactive streaming service) doesn’t account to artists. And we have NO ONE to thank for that, but the RIAA.

    “…or benefit from all the free, ad-supported streaming that has made investors and executives rich.”

    I’d love to see more data on all the investors that have gotten rich off of Spotify.

    Got any?

    “Artists like Ari Herstand told fellow musicians that they were compromising their careers if they didn’t go where the fans were”

    Yeah. What an oaf. Suggesting that artists should try to respond to their fans. So dumb.

    “Into this exhausted acquiescence enters Adele, who somehow sold an astounding 3.38 million copies of her latest album, 25, in just one week according to details now confirmed by Nielsen Soundscan.”

    Really… She “somehow” sold 3.4 million copies. But we just don’t know how! A real head-scratcher, that one…

    “Most importantly, 100% of those sales were either album downloads, CDs, or vinyl, which deliver far superior payouts than streaming (and typically, far better transparency).”

    Um, you’re actually comparing payments for on-demand streams to payments for permanent sales? Why?

    “perhaps deep down, we all know that ad-supported streaming is a raw deal for almost everyone except music fans, the streaming services themselves, and investors in those streaming services (which now includes the major recording labels).”

    Streaming isn’t a “raw deal.” It’s a DIFFERENT deal. A new deal. One that is unavoidable. Even for the likes of Taylor Swift and Adele.

    “3.38 million albums is also 3.38 million fans, all of whom gladly steered past streaming and supported an artist they loved.”

    Can you supply the data on the 3.38 million fans who logged off of their streaming accounts in order to buy the new Adele album? Or, did you not mean to imply that folks aren’t actually doing both?

    “So maybe this is all just another Taylor Swift moment, or maybe something far more serious.”

    Nope.

    Just another Taylor Swift moment.

    Of which there will be fewer each year – and eventually none, in just a few short years.

    But hey, you just keep resisting the inevitable change. At least you’ll be in good company. History is littered with luddites who screamed the sky was falling at each new technological progression that threatened their existing business models – and were proven entirely wrong.

    Too bad DMN won’t be around long enough for me to enjoy the “I told you so” moment.

    Reply
    • Me2

      Luddite
      noun Ludd·ite \ˈlə-ˌdīt\
      Definition of LUDDITE (Merriam Webster)
      : one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest; broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change.

      The big problem here is that this particular release has nothing to do with the grandstanding and spouting off about who is the “luddite” and who is the “future”. Fucking laughable.

      If Adele was a “Luddite”, and this were truly an act of protest, then the single wouldn’t be ON SPOTIFY RIGHT NOW.

      Nope. we are just going to have to accept that this is a business plan. This is where the streaming services fit in.

      Money talks, bullshit walks.

      Reply
      • Reading Comprehension? Point?

        Can you read and comprehend, in context, Me2?

        It’s painfully clear he wasn’t referring to Adele as a luddite. He was referring to Paul as one, for having written the article.

        Christ…

        Of course, Adele knows that having the single on Spotify pumps album sales. Just like having the “pre-release” of the single played ad nauseum, before the album was available did, as well.

        What’s your point?

        Reply
        • Me2

          The point is with the use of the term “Luddite”. Whether it was meant for Paul or Adele’s team actually doesn’t matter. I still call bullshit. Offensive bullshit.

          It is ultimately not about the technology.

          Being an online company doesn’t come with immunity from criticism of financial practices and business models. Many of these critical voices are very fluent in the technologies and are simply onto the game.

          And I’m not just talking about low payouts, it’s also the quasi-legal serial infringement and all round abuse of rights holders through DMCA loopholes.

          Branding anyone raising these concerns as a “Ludddite” isn’t just inaccurate, it’s a smear.

          Hope this gives you enough “context”.

          Reply
        • Musician Who Understands

          Drama, much?

          “The point is with the use of the term “Luddite”. Whether it was meant for Paul or Adele’s team actually doesn’t matter. I still call bullshit. Offensive bullshit.”

          “Branding anyone raising these concerns as a “Ludddite” isn’t just inaccurate, it’s a smear.”

          By that standard, the article itself is offensive. Referring to the public march towards streaming as “treacherous,” falsely stating that investors in Spotify “get rich” and characterizing streaming music services as comprising a “stained fabric.”

          Indeed, the “context” of this whole site is incredibly offensive. Among any number of highly offensive errr… “editorial” decisions,… Paul actually celebrated the death of Josh Greenberg, to the virtually uniform repulsion of readers, who were truly justifiably offended.

          So, you can stow the gasping, feigned “offense” at my entirely-reasonable use of the word luddite, here.

          Manufacturing disproportionate outrage at commonly-used and understood terms is the bastion of someone who really doesn’t have a good, articulatable position.

          Which leads us to…

          I really can’t even fathom what would lead you to write the single-sentence paragraph:
          “It is ultimately not about the technology.”
          in a discussion that is entirely about an artist deciding to keep her album off of one particular service, based entirely on the technology used.

          Of course, being an online company doesn’t come with immunity from criticism of financial practices and business models.

          But self-appointed critical voices that are clearly not at all fluent in the technologies they are addressing are even more fertile ground for criticism. The purveyors of misinformation and hyperbole need to be called out and removed from the discussion, if it is going to go anywhere reasonably intelligent.

          Context, indeed.

          You seem to require a bit more.

          Reply
          • Me2

            Dude, I’m not outraged or trying to be dramatic. I’m very calm. If anything, I just tend to tune out of conversations that use the term. It’s been thrown around so often, and with such spin that every now and then I’ll just call it out. If that seems dramatic, then fine by me.

            I realize there’s a flip side. BUT I still wouldn’t use the word for even the most die hard “anti-streaming” or “anti-internet” statements. You think Prince is a luddite? That this is really about TCP/IP? It’s about rights and compensation. Again, nothing to do with the technology.

            Your comments are some of the most reasoned on the site. I too was not down with the Grooveshark post-mortem here on DMN and agree there are aspects of this site that leave much to be desired.

            If there is anything to fathom, it’s that Adele’s team thought they could make more money (aka lose less) by windowing, and in my opinion, they probably did.

          • Musician Who Understands

            Well, I’d say that referring to the use of the term “luddite,” specifically when discussing an article that is entirely about opposing a recently-developed means of accessing music (i.e. exactly the definition of the term – broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change), as “offensive” and “a smear” is undeniably dramatic.

            If the point you wanted to make was that, in your opinion, the term has been thrown around too often, then you should have simply made that point, and not raised the hyperbolic stakes with terms like “bullshit,” “offensive smears.”

            That is – and does seem – dramatic, as a tactic to simply call it out what you, subjectively, think is an over-used term.

            I don’t just think Prince is a luddite. I KNOW he is.

            Of course this is, ultimately, about tech.

            What part of the fact that the way that a) Spotify pays is entirely different than the way that b) radio pays, or the way c) Pandora pays, or how d) Best Buy pays, is 100%, ENTIRELY about Spotify’s (and all the others’) choice of the technology they use to convey the music, is lost on you?

            If you think the issue of rights and compensation isn’t DIRECTLY related to, and indeed ENTIRELY DICTATED BY, the technology, you just haven’t been paying attention, or haven’t really thought this through.

            I disagree that the thing to fathom is that Adele’s team thought they could make more money by windowing. There’s tons more to think about and discuss, here. Just some:

            Did it REALLY make any difference? You think so. I imagine it might have had a very slight impact, one that I would call negligible (if that term isn’t too offensive…) if at all.

            What’s the speculation on her real game plan? Just a brief window before she lets it go to the streaming services? If so, how long? Is there a “too long” to hold out?

            Assuming it did (or is believed to) make a difference, is it a model that would work for anyone other than previously-anointed superstars? I don’t think so. I believe Adele is a unique case that was going to sell multiple millions, no matter what, for a number of reasons (she’s already a superstar, her demographic skews to purchasers).

            Should/will Spotify (or other streaming services) capitulate and allow “subscription tier only” windowing within their services? I think they should. Would that drive subscribers to upgrade to paid accounts? Will it drive them away? I think probably both, and if so, then a key question there is: “in what proportions would those things happen?”

            etc. etc.

          • Me2

            Of course there are different models, Spotify is different from Pandora. eg Spotify is considered ‘interactive”, not so for Pandora, although the latter’s recent purchase of Rdio is a step for them to get into interactive. Bandcamp operates differently, as does the iTunes download store, as does YouTube.

            What they all have in common is the internet protocol technology. They are all built on code, albeit in different languages, Python, C etc..

            Doesn’t the fact that these services are different illustrate that the model must come first, and the tech is simply a means to achieve it?

            It’s tempting to assert that the technology DICTATES the model used, especially when thinking about how easy it is to copy a file, distribute a file with minimal cost and effort. But I would put forth that this is not actually the case, and often a convenient rationale for some.

            If you want the definitive example of why this is true, consider internet banking and credit card transactions. These are all reducible to bit streams over TCP/IP and data stored on servers. Wouldn’t the technology DICTATE that bank accounts and credit card balances be shared freely over the internet? Free money!

            So why doesn’t this happen? It’s because of social convention, laws and security measures. Put in pace by humans USING technology to fit their purpose.

            Of course fraud and crime still happen in the banking world, but if you compare this to what goes on with file sharing of entertainment media, i think you would be hard pressed not to see the difference in the surrounding structure and attitudes.

            And I’ll repeat that, ATTITUDE. That is what it boils down to. If we want to build a more equitable and profitable landscape, it starts and ends with everyone, including the consumer. Companies and rights organizations know this, which is why you have PR, influential NGO’s, funded school programs and lobbyists.

            The goal is to change the LAW more favorably, and it doesn’t hurt to get the public on your side, whatever the position.

            I’m sorry for the long post, I love the technology and it’s possibilities. I’m not saying we go back to 8-track cartridges, and it’s very obvious that we won’t be getting rid of the internet, that is here to stay.

            But if the music and entertainment businesses are going to thrive we need to pull out of the ATTITUDE that the tech DICTATES everything. That simply is not true.

            “Technological Determinism” is worth an examination. It goes back a long time, and is a theory (at best) that has been continually debunked, despite the efforts of interested parties.

          • Me2

            I too am curious about when the whole 25 album will be up on the streaming services. If I had to guess, probably after the holidays. I think they windowed 19 for quite a long time, months. Might not be as long this time.

            I can’t speak to the demographic argument behind the huge sales, because I really don’t have the data, and most of the articles seem like spin jobs in one direction or another.

            Not too many artists as influential as Adele, in any case. It’s wrong to assume that the strategy would work for everyone. Those who can will I suppose. If in a few years they find that they can’t, then they won’t. Probably some will try windowing and flop, but I’m guessing there will be more of it.

            The paid only tier thing is difficult, in no small way because of competition with YouTube’s model. I wouldn’t want to be stuck with that. Probably it would be best for the streaming business artists and the labels to do something about it, but then again you have Google people on the Spotify board, and major labels with advances and equity in the streaming services.. To me that is a lot of conflict of interest. Will be interesting to see where it all goes.

          • Me2

            “Should/will Spotify (or other streaming services) capitulate and allow “subscription tier only” windowing within their services? I think they should. Would that drive subscribers to upgrade to paid accounts? Will it drive them away? I think probably both, and if so, then a key question there is: “in what proportions would those things happen?””

            Nails it. This is the EXACT question.

            Would “25” only available on a paid tier drive customers away, or would it result in massive conversion to paid, far outweighing any lost customers.

            I want to believe that we’d see massive conversion.

            It is in this sense that some are calling “25” a missed opportunity. But it’s risky for all and at what point does everyone just jump in and take it?

            It’s true that Adele would have seen massive plays, probably breaking the streaming records. With an artist that huge, it must be a bit nerve racking making decisions with so much money at stake. They ran their numbers, played it safe, and it worked well enough. It’s really impossible to know what would have happened had they released it everywhere at once.

            I’m hopeful we’ll get to see something like this play out, fairly soon, and that it would succeed big time.

    • Shilling Shiller

      “Streaming isn’t a “raw deal.” It’s a DIFFERENT deal. A new deal. One that is unavoidable.”

      Unavoidable 🙂 Right…
      This reminds me of a brilliant quote by Richard Stallman : “When somebody is saying this is inevitable – and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it’s very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.”

      Reply
      • Musician Who Understands

        That reminds me of a bunch of really dumb quotes – that turned out to be 100% wrong – by entrenched media business interests, when faced with the inevitable march of technology. Just two:

        “I foresee a marked deterioration in American music and musical taste, an interruption in the musical development of the country, and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue – or rather by vice – of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines.” John Philip Sousa, “The Menace of Mechanical Music,” 1909

        “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” Jack Valenti – Testimony Before Congress, 1982

        Reply
  17. superduper

    For every comment about how it’s the label’s fault that artists are not getting paid and not Spotify, I cringe. Spotify’s entire business model is built on undercutting artists with low royalty payments. The problem with streaming is that is it just not a good business model, even if it is paid for with a monthly subscription. The thing is royalties will never be as high with streaming as it will be if there is no streaming, and I hope that someday more artists will realize this. Maybe Adele’s success will signal a new era in the music industry that involves abandoning streaming services and actually trying to sell music.

    Reply
    • Paul Lanning

      No one is going to give away something that they can sell millions of. From the artist’s point of view, being on Spotify is tantamount to giving your stuff away–this is a function of the artist’s deal with the label. Spotify’s deal is with rights holders.

      A demographic analysis of the 4 million purchasers would put this incident in perspective.

      Reply
        • superduper

          That article is nothing but bull. Adele reaches out to a wide demographic, young and old, across all walks of life, so your argument is invalid. Although the labels may be screwing the artists over, let me ask you: if Spotify and other streaming services didn’t exist, would these deals even exist? The only reason why I can think that these deals exist is because of streaming services’s exploitative business practices and shady deals with labels used to screw over artists.

          Reply
  18. Me2

    I keep coming back to Netflix.

    In Canada there’s no James Bond, No Indiana Jones, No Star Wars (though I was just reading that they made a deal). In fact a lot of movies, more than half of those I looked for just aren’t there.

    But… what IS there still makes the subscription totally worth for me it as a customer. They’ll get my monthly 9.99 for the medium plan into the foreseeable future. I don’t want to go back.

    So here you have a paid only service, with no ads, and a LOT of titles missing, but It still seems to be working.

    And this service produces its own content as well.

    And I don’t see a big backlash of complaints about the payout structure. Is this because I don’t read the film trade press? Are the studios just a lot smarter, or quieter than the music labels?

    And they manage to successfully keep the titles off of YouTube.

    And on and on..
    much to learn here.

    Reply
  19. Martin

    Without Spotify I would not listen to 95% of the artist I currently play. I don’t download illegally anymore. Not once in the past 2 years. I understand Adele, but I will bet that she allows Spotify to stream her music within a year when the rush on her album is gone…

    Reply
  20. Jane

    Streaming services pay the songwriter almost zilch, whether you are tied to a label or not. So, in due course writers give up. When writers give up en-masse, you will have no music industry, just a product industry.

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  21. Jane

    In the bad old days in a cd world, the ‘pie’ was divided between the retailer, the record co/label, publisher, writer, hairdresser, blah blah blah.

    At the forefront of the ‘sale’ was the retailer. I worked extensively in this area until it collapsed. Before that though it was the impulse to buy that was the key. You’d hear the song on the radio, see it on tv, it gets stuck in your head so you go out & buy it. Our surveys at that time suggested that over 70% of sales were impulse buys.

    With the emerging internet people would post up massive lists of cd’s they had & do exchanges via the post with others around the world. Ok, so slight dent in sales. Next underground streaming sites appear. When kids realized that they could get stuff for nothing – bam, a bigger dent to sales. Then when their parents got wind of this, another dent in sales.

    I quite often got the comment “why does this cd cost so much?, I’ll just get it off the internet.” They would either buy it as a cd from overseas cheaper or download it from some site disguised as a gardening emporium or whatever.

    We got the point, made noises to record co’s to drop retail prices & simplify pricing structures. I mean at one point one major label had upwards of 100 different wholesale price points. Anyway all suggestions were ignored.

    Then the itunes store opened, so no need to buy the whole album. Then your modern day record company supported streaming services appeared.

    Apart from what a stream actually pays a writer, streaming amounts to … no impulse to buy. You hear it a few times, you’re over it – no sale.

    No sale means no revenue for songwriters.

    As far as I’m aware artists as far back as the late 90’s were prodded to sign away their rights to these emerging technologies, or (as a not so wild assumption) be dropped.

    Anyway, I’ll end this comment here, apologies for the rant. May do a part two. Thankyou for reading.

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