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Thievery Corporation Closes Their Label Because of Streaming…

thievery2

Thievery Corporation is still making music.  But they’re not making anyone else’s music anymore.  From an interview with GigaOM this week…

____________________________________

GigaOM: The internet has increased the size of your audience. There’s a lot more people who are aware of you, your group and your label worldwide, right?

Rob Garza, Thievery Corporation: “It’s interesting you bring that up. One of the things that has happened through that…

“It’s not so much the awareness that has triggered it, but we’ve basically, essentially shut down the record label ESL.”

“We’re putting out Thievery records, but we’re not working with any more artists, because we’ve gotten to the situation where… Let’s put it this way.  Back in the day, we knew any artists we signed, and put out the record, it would sell at least 5,000 copies.  Right?

“You give artists an advance. There was some money to be made through selling CDs and through licensing, and touring.

“Now, a lot of these artists… I don’t know if you saw that thing with David Lowery, from Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, where he talks about how, he had a million plays on either Spotify or Pandora, one of these streaming services.  Basically, he earned less money than he would have made selling a t-shirt at one of his concerts.

“Those are the kind of economics we’re dealing with. When you run a small independent label, at a certain point, it becomes like trying to squeeze a dry lemon.  It’s a lot of work, and you’re not getting a lot of juice.  In one way, it’s allowed people to learn more, about these different artists that we have on our label.  Even when we were dealing when it was just, iTunes was the only thing on the block, it was a lot more beneficial and sustainable for artists.”

 

GigaOM: “Wow. I did not know that you had shut down, essentially, your record label, which is too bad, because you were the global sound, curator from my standpoint. Always had a lot, of interesting groups on your label. What a shame.”

Garza: “Yeah. It’s tough too, because these are your friends. You’re coming up to them, and they’re, “What did we earn this last six months?” Here’s the $100. Here’s the numbers to show it.

“You do that enough times and you’re like, “I don’t really want to be in this part of the business, because it’s kind of depressing.”

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Comments (106)
  1. john

    my band gets about 300,000-400,000 streams a month on spotify and in recent months that has been about 1800-2200 dollars a month last few months.

    that is (some) rent money and absolutely incomparable to a t-shirt sale in every way.

    would it be awesome of that royalty was double? sure, but spotify also loses approx 20 million dollars a year to operate…

    if you have a shit deal or chose to be in a band with a label and tons of members, your decisions and problem, don’t blame spotify for those decisions. also i wish people would stop citing just what they see on their sound exchange payment as their spotify payment. that is a very very very small mechanical royalty collected separately. the meat of your payment would come directly, which is money that is being stolen from most label artists at the moment apparently.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “my band gets about 300,000-400,000 streams a month on spotify and in recent months that has been about 1800-2200 dollars a month last few months”

      Yes, it’s a tragedy.

      But let’s say you stop giving your songs away and 1 out of 10 fans buy them instead.

      That would give you $28,000 a month instead of $2,000.


      Reply
      1. john

        that is complete nonsense, the days of people buying shit en masse are over.


        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          “the days of people buying shit en masse are over”

          No, piracy cut sales down by about 50% — not by 75% or 100%.

          You cut the rest by working for free, but nobody’s forcing you.


          Reply
          1. KungPow

            Exactly.


            Reply
      2. DUDE

        I feel like we’ve been over this before but there is next to no chance you’d ever get that high of a conversion ratio from streams to downloads. For starters you’re assuming that each stream represents a unique fan, which is definitely not the case. Fans don’t usually pick one track, listen to it once, and then never come back to it ever.

        If we operate under the far more reasonable assumption that every 10 streams represent a single fan, your ending figure would be $2,800 rather than $28,000


        Reply
        1. john

          even that is ridiculous. i guarantee if we took our shit of spotify tomorrow sales would only increase a negligible amount. every bit of streaming revenue is literally FOUND FUCKING MONEY that flies in from the group of people that have already moved beyond the stupid iTunes 9.99 album model. if you don’t put your material on streaming services you are cheating yourself out of money and exposure and living in a dreamworld and mental state that will be laughed at in 10 years.


          Reply
          1. DUDE

            Im right there with you, but I was tryin to be generous


            Reply
          2. Anonymous

            “if you don’t put your material on streaming services you are cheating yourself out of money and exposure”

            1) You don’t make money from Spotify, you lose sales.
            2) You get all the exposure you need from non-cannibalizing previews, behind-the-scenes and interviews on the world’s most popular music service, YouTube. And you’re paid in the process.


            Reply
            1. Nina Ulloa

              What you don’t get is that Spotify is an entire platform. Probably 80% of artists I listen to I wouldn’t even care about if it weren’t for streaming platforms…. like, I just can’t be bothered. I don’t even buy MP3s.. those days are dying. If I like an artist I discover I’ll go to the show, buy vinyl, buy merch, force it down my friends’ throats.

              Think whatever you like but that’s the reality, and I don’t even illegally download.


              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                “What you don’t get is that Spotify is an entire platform”

                Like MySpace? :)

                Here’s the deal:

                1) Nobody knows Spotify, everybody uses YouTube.
                2) Video is the future — Spotify is audio only.
                3) Spotify loses money by the hour.
                4) Windowing is the new black.
                5) Spotify is worthless for artists.
                6) Spotify is dead without artists.


                Reply
                1. Casey

                  People have been saying video is the future since the invention of the television. Yet audio-only is stronger than ever.


                  Reply
                  1. Anonymous

                    “People have been saying video is the future since the invention of the television”

                    And they were right! :)

                    That’s why audio-only services like Spotify loses money — while YouTube became the world’s most popular music service.


                    Reply
                    1. George

                      No that’s not right. Spotify loses money while YouTube makes money primarily because they are not on a level playing field WRT royalty payments to rights holders.. I won’t bother to speculate on why that is the case…


                    2. Anonymous

                      “No that’s not right”

                      Yes, it is. You can’t turn back time. Video is everything today.

                      Spotify’s losing the war because people don’t want old fashioned audio streaming. They don’t want walls between music, movies and news either.

                      There’s only one way to make consumers pay:

                      Give them one package that offers everything — top quality music, movies, communication, news — and they’ll pay you $20+ a month.


              2. FarePlay

                “What you don’t get is that Spotify is an entire platform. Probably 80% of artists I listen to I wouldn’t even care about if it weren’t for streaming platforms…. like, I just can’t be bothered. I don’t even buy MP3s.. those days are dying. If I like an artist I discover I’ll go to the show, buy vinyl, buy merch, force it down my friends’ throats.”

                Nina Ulloa

                What do you mean by this? And why do spend so much time writing about music, when you obviously have no understanding of the backside financials needed to sustain careers?

                Probably 80% of the music you listen to is marginal crap that you wouldn’t listen to unless it was free?

                “I just can’t be bothered…” Un f…ing believable.


                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  “And why do spend so much time writing about music, when you obviously have no understanding of the backside financials needed to sustain careers?”

                  You could ask TorrentFreak the same question. The simple answer is that most of them just can’t afford to pay for the music and movies they love.


                  Reply
                  1. FarePlay

                    And you don’t think they buy Red Bull and cigarettes? Sorry, that isn’t a valid argument. Music and film have never been cheaper. It’s an attitude, not an economic hardship.


                    Reply
                    1. Anonymous

                      Sorry, FarePlay — what I meant was that most of these guys are too dumb to earn the money they need to buy a song.


                    2. GGG

                      It’s a mix of the two. There’s a sort of musical conspicuous consumption in culture right now so people don’t feel left out of the conservation. There’s certainly an attitude of “I don’t feel like paying for music” but I think it’s moreso because there’s so much you have to/want to hear to stay in the loop than it is because of the all-music-should-be-free mentality.


                    3. Anonymous

                      “There’s certainly an attitude of “I don’t feel like paying for music” but I think it’s moreso because there’s so much you have to/want to hear to stay in the loop”

                      You also need jewelry, boats and cars to stay in certain other loops. But still, you have a point.

                      And it could be argued that Nina and TorrentFreak reflect a new proletariat or, more precisely, a new sub- or rag-proletariat of beggars, freaks and unemployed outcasts who desperately want to stay in said loop, but can’t afford it.

                      The paradox is that quite a few artists sympatize with this exact demographic profile to the point where many would consider giving their songs away, or reducing the price, if various low-income groups had the decency of asking instead of just stealing. Nobody wants to take $0.99 per song from a guy who can’t afford to eat.


              3. mdti

                Nice for those who don’t make any show (and who can’t get bothered with that annoyance :-D )
                AT least, 20 years ago, we could sell 5000 vynils a year, now we can stream 5 and nina isn’t even part of that :-(
                sad time for the artists who don’t want to show themselves. That’s the real loss. the rest will continue.


                Reply
            2. Present Future

              “You don’t make money from Spotify, you lose sales.”

              You don’t seem to realize that, increasingly, sales don’t exist. With each passing month, ownership of music disappears more into the past. It is access, cloud, streaming. I spend about $400/year on music subscriptions. That’s 40 albums or 400 tracks. You’d like it if I were acquiring chunks of music product. But that behavior doesn’t exist for me. If a band disappears from the celestial streaming catalog (I love Thievery Corp, btw), it disappears from my life. Ceases to exist. Fond memory of a band that once distributed work, but now doesn’t. There’s no such thing as selling me a download. I’m repeating myself because you, and others with your argument, don’t seem to get the obvious.


              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                “sales don’t exist”

                1.26 billion sold tracks in 2013 beg to differ. ;)


                Reply
                1. Present Future

                  “1.26 billion sold tracks in 2013…”

                  1.32-billion, actually, according to the RIAA. :) I hear you. My point is that when consumers migrate from buying to accessing, it’s not merely choosing one product over another at that moment. It’s a lifestyle change. After a year of that change, you don’t even know how to own a download. How to do you share it among devices? Upload to the cloud — why, when it’s already there? Ownership loses meaning.


                  Reply
                  1. Anonymous

                    “consumers migrate from buying to accessing”

                    Consumers do what they’re told.

                    If they’re told they can steal you car without consequences, they’ll do it. Cars want to be free, you know. That’s why they have wheels.

                    If they’re told they go to jail for accessing your car, they’ll buy one instead.


                    Reply
                    1. Jeremy

                      It’s precisely this line of thinking that will prohibit you from actually being able to be successful. You are unwilling to adapt to market demand.


                    2. Anonymous

                      “You are unwilling to adapt to market demand”

                      Without supply there’s no market, my friend.


                    3. GGG

                      Yes, according to Anonymous music will cease being made soon, just like there was no music until the late 1800s.


                    4. Anonymous

                      GGG, why don’t you read Paul’s story…


                    5. GGG

                      Hmm, I seem to be missing the part where it says none of those bands exist any more and all members have laid down their instruments for good, never to play music again.

                      Where is that?


                    6. Anonymous

                      GGG, which of the following statements would you say is true today?

                      1) The music industry invests more money than ever in talent development and music production because it has more money today than ever. Result: More experiments –> more invention –> more great music for us all.

                      2) The music industry invests less money than ever in talent development and music production because it has less money today than ever. Result: Less experiments –> less invention –> less great music for us all.

                      Or do you think that an industry that is cut down by 50% somehow is able to invest the same as before in development and production?

                      If so, could you please explain how? Are prayers involved? Magic?


                  2. Anonymous

                    GGG, which of the following statements would you say is true today?

                    1) The music industry invests more money than ever in talent development and music production because it has more money today than ever. Result: More experiments –> more invention –> more great music for us all.

                    2) The music industry invests less money than ever in talent development and music production because it has less money today than ever. Result: Less experiments –> less invention –> less great music for us all.

                    Or do you think that an industry that is cut down by 50% somehow is able to invest the same as before in development and production?

                    If so, could you please explain how? Are prayers involved? Magic?


                    Reply
                    1. Anonymous

                      Sorry about the double. :(


                    2. GGG

                      Well, obviously 2, although I would argue the “less than ever” angle. I’m fairly certain there’s more money going into music now than there was in 1770.

                      And your continued assertion that people will just stop creating art is so dumb that I can’t take anything else you say seriously. It’s like you think music has only existed since the 1940s or something.


                    3. Anonymous

                      “I’m fairly certain there’s more money going into music now than there was in 1770″

                      Man, did you pick the worst possible period ever to prove your point. :)

                      The 18th Century is the perfect example of the wonders you get in return if you invest insane amounts of money in music production.


                    4. GGG

                      Sources?

                      Sure, your Mozarts and Hadyns and Salieris got paid handsomely, to varying degrees, but how about your average composer/musician? Not to mention the fact that not every asshole who picked up a lute called themselves a musician back then. Hobbyists knew their place.

                      It’s no different now with your Lady GaGas and One Directions getting much larger advances than smaller bands. Labels invest insane amount of money into plenty of artists. It’s just unfortunate the ones receiving the most money seem to give the least back to our musical culture.


                    5. Anonymous

                      “Mozarts and Hadyns and Salieris got paid handsomely”

                      Not only that — they were treated like friggin’ gods. Hint, hint! :)

                      Seriously, fantastic music is almost never created in a vacuum. The best artists are ridiculously insecure and megalomanical at the same time.

                      Treat them accordingly, and they’ll blow your mind in most cases.


                    6. GGG

                      The only difference is there’s millions more artists and “artists” trying to vie for the attention of the same people. Labels still give pop stars large amounts of money and they are treated like gods. The National Endowment For the Arts still grants a ton of money, including the $500K MacArthur Genius award. Most of those people aren’t treated like gods unfortunately, because the average person is too busy fawning over hacks who put out the bullshit people like you write.


                2. StacoPaco

                  Let’s do some quick math. Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which was released in 1982, sold 1 million copies PER WEEK at it’s “Peak”. So just in one week, ONE ARTIST sold 9 million tracks. And this happened repeatedly for weeks.

                  Say thriller ran for 12 weeks at this pace. That’s 108 million tracks just from one artist.

                  I’d say that yes, sales are definitely dying if we go back historically and compare. Get real with these arguments, please. Granted, numbers are skewed because whole albums aren’t being purchased with the same regularity, but I think you get the idea. Can we put this dumb, antiquated argument to bed?


                  Reply
      3. R.P.

        You’re funny with your “what ifs” meanwhile you’re not even at this level. -_-

        Fact of the matter is that every situation is different, every life in this world is different, different scenarios have different details. It is Thievery Corp’s job, as a label, or, it WAS there job as a corporate entity to figure it the fuck out. There are no blueprints in the music industry, and that’s actually what makes it so appealing.

        Because they could not restructure when they were given plenty of time to study the trends and where they were headed is no one but their own fault. Sure, it’s easy to blame spotify, or the 14 year olds all over the world pirating music, but in the long run you must hold yourself accountable for what happens to you because the world is actually that simple: you control your own world. You have the ability to take long pauses before you jump to say YES! to things.


        Reply
    2. Yep

      My label has seen a 400% increase in revenue from Spotify in the past 2 months! It’s growing fast. We are exceeding 3 million streams a month. This is happening right now. If you don’t embrace it, you will be dust.

      This publication should be right on top of this, but for some reason they are not.


      Reply
      1. Music Downloads vs App Downloads

        Just saw Diplo talking about how the Mad Decent model of putting stuff out for FREE to build an audience and then monetize. If you can’t figure out how to do it you shouldn’t have a label. It’s no different than mobile apps.

        Anyone here download a free iPhone app? You realize that probably cost between $25k – $1m to make? Do you feel guilty you didn’t pay for the app? No. It’s a customer acquisition strategy that developers use to monetize via ads or in-app purchase. Lots of them are not successful at it. There’s lots of competition. People make these apps at night after that get home from their day job. It’s just like making music. People do it because they love it and have dreams of making it a career. If you can’t make it that’s your fault. Stop blaming the market.

        This says it all:
        “Back in the day, we knew any artists we signed, and put out the record, it would sell at least 5,000 copies.” (i.e. we didn’t have to do much of anything and we knew somebody would buy the records we put out because they hadn’t even heard the tracks).

        I love Thievery but if they can’t cut it as a label than they should stick to making great music.


        Reply
        1. Me

          Well said! Not every successful musician is cut out to run a successful label. It happened to Beastie Boys with Grand Royal, which was shutdown back in 2001 – and that was long before streaming hit the mainstream.


          Reply
        2. funny cuz

          funny cuz i read an article around the time of Harlem Shake that Mad Decent was closing because there was no revenue. he was talking about how lucky it was that HS went so huge, total fluke, not effort, ingenuity.

          weird how people are blaming TC for signing new acts, and promoting them (websites videos tours ads interviews shipping etc etc) and saying they are lazy, etc.


          Reply
    3. how come

      how is it that you have 3 to 4 hundred thousand plays a month? it seems there’s always one or two posts of spotify defenders saying this. all i can think of — as one previous poster admitte — is that you’ve set up bots or are self-streaming 24/7 through multiple windows & accounts, or some other means. what’s the trick?


      Reply
      1. GGG

        The great thing about the internet is that you can still go places while most people don’t know who they hell you are. One of the bands I work with has just over 20K Facebook fans, that weird area between small and midsize, and their top song has just under 500K views. Couple with about 300K, couple with 100K, etc. We got those views from good press, and people checking us out after a few high visibility opening slots. Obviously that’s not 400K a month, but it’s clear streaming monetizes curiosity.

        For a better example, since I see a banner ad now, look at a band like Neon Trees. 1.3M Facebook fans, a solid indie. They have two songs with 33M and 21M spins, then a few around 3 M. They could be getting 400K a month easy for those hit singles. And still, if I go outside NYC and ask 1000 people who Neon Trees are, most will have no clue.


        Reply
        1. GGG

          Sorry, NT are not really indie anymore I guess (on Mercury). I meant solid mid-level+ band.


          Reply
    4. Seako

      Does spotify tell you how many listeners you have? Or do they just show you the number of streams?


      Reply
      1. Me

        They tell you how many “followers” you have, but not how many individual listeners.


        Reply
    5. KungPow

      > but spotify also loses approx 20 million dollars a year to operate…<

      So basically Spotify is losing 20 million dollars a year while sucking revenue out of the heart of the recorded music business and you say "don't blame Spotify"?

      Do you not see what is wrong with this picture?

      Take your head out of your ass and wake the fuck up already.


      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    “Those are the kind of economics we’re dealing with.”

    Guys, I would highly recommend not basing your business decisions on misleading figures in a blog article. (No offense, PR!)


    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I love that these artists can’t figure out that people are listening for free on Youtube and they’re making far less than anything they’re seeing from Spotify (or even Pandora, geez).


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “I love that these artists can’t figure out that people are listening for free on Youtube”

      The great thing about YouTube is that you make as much money from short videos (30+ secs) as you do from complete songs.

      Result: No cannibalizing at all.

      Try that on Spotify.


      Reply
      1. Me

        Actually, YouTube factors length into how much they pay. The longer the audience watches your video, the more you make. Getting people to watch a video for 30 minutes will make you a lot more money than getting people to watch 30 seconds.


        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          No, cpm is not determined by length.


          Reply
          1. john

            you are right, then they would have too much to lose from complete album streaming. when someone streams a whole album on spotify it pays like a song and that is a fucking travesty that no one will ever overcome because google lawyers are fucking unstoppable.


            Reply
            1. David

              I think you mean YouTube.


              Reply
          2. Jeremy

            I’m not talking about ad revenue. I’m talking about actual royalties paid on the sound recording through content ID.


            Reply
  4. Me

    Let’s look at some of the artists on this label:

    Afrolicious – 381 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Pleasuretime” – 20,949 streams
    Natalia Clavier – 589 followers on Spotify, most streamsed song “El Arbol” – 28,186 streams.
    Ocote Soul Sounds – 1,477 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Primavera” (not including their Thievery Coporation remix) – 48,778
    Frank Mitchell JR – 8 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Booty Lock” – 1,432 streams
    Federico Aubele – 4,787 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Postales” – 460,357 streams
    Ursula 1000 – 1,544 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Kaboom” – 327,325 streams
    Thunderball – 2,952 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Solar” – 290,512
    Chris Joss – 1,632 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “You’ve Been Spiked” – 257,341
    Ancient Astronauts – 1,465 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “I Came Running” – 149,436 streams
    Nickodemus – 3,418 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Cleopatra in New York” – 415,140 streams.
    Congo Sanchez – 61 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Democrazy” – 9,084 streams
    The Funk Ark – 457 followers on Spotify, most streamed song “Chaga” – 11,845 streams
    The Archives – 8 Spotify followers, most streamed song “Rip it Up” – 3,143 streams
    Kabanjak – 663 Spotify followers, most streamed song Revelation Dub – 112,898 streams
    AM & Shawn Lee – 1,741 Spotify followers, most streamed song “Somebody Like You” – 159,222 streams
    Novalima – 2,721 Spotify followers, most streamed song “Machete” – 185,105 streams
    Dust Galaxy – 17 Spotify followers, most streamed song “Sun in Your Head” – 1,207 streams

    It seems their problem is actually LACK of streaming. If you have artists with only 8(!) followers, you’re doing something wrong. You can’t blame streaming for your troubles when people aren’t even streaming your music.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “It seems their problem is actually LACK of streaming”

      So, new artists should work for free because they’re unknown — and stars should work for free because they’re so goddamn rich.

      Convenient, wouldn’t you say?


      Reply
      1. Me

        Where did I say they should work for free? You’re twisting my words. My point is that the music is available for free, and people still aren’t listening to it. If you can’t GIVE your music away, then there’s a bigger problem going on than streaming. If these artists were generating a large number of streams and the label was still not generating revenue, then you might be able to support this argument. But, that’s not what is going on here.


        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          “If you can’t GIVE your music away, then there’s a bigger problem”

          Sure, but that’s not relevant here. The artists you mention can give their music away. Which means they can sell it as well.

          There’ll always be artists who can sell 10 records, 10,000 records and 10,000,000 records, and they all deserve to be paid for their work.


          Reply
          1. Jeremy

            You’re completely missing the point. These guys have such low streaming numbers. You can’t blame streaming services for not selling products when people aren’t actually streaming from them!!!!


            Reply
          2. GGG

            Just out of curiosity, and despite my usual replies to you this isn’t ill-intentioned at all haha, how much money do you think a band should earn from 1200 streams?


            Reply
            1. Anonymous

              “this isn’t ill-intentioned at all haha”

              Cool. :) I can’t answer your question, but I can tell you what it would take for me to consider Spotify or a similar sized (in terms of users) service:

              120 x $0.7.

              And yes, that would mean the company would lose its money about 14 times faster than it does already…


              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                Going from ~$0.005 to $0.70 per play would be a 140 times increase, not 14. It would require a subscription rate topping over $1,000 per month.


                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  “Going from ~$0.005 to $0.70 per play would be a 140 times increase”

                  You may want to read my comment again — it said 120 x $0.7; not 1200 x $0.7.

                  And it’s not my problem if Spotify can’t pay for the services it wants. Perhaps it should sell t-shirts instead.

                  Or start a service people actually want to use…


                  Reply
                  1. Me

                    No, 0.7 divided by .005 is 140. So, it would be 140 times, not 14.


                    Reply
                    1. Anonymous

                      “No”

                      Yes. :)

                      GGG asked what a band should earn from 1200 streams in my opinion.

                      My answer was: 120 x $0.7.

                      In other words: 10% of what I get from selling 1200 tracks. Or $0.07/spin. Cause that’s what it would be worth to me.

                      And that would indeed make Spotify lose its money 14 times faster than today.

                      Get it?

                      Again: It’s not my problem if Spotify can’t afford to pay for the services it needs.

                      Artists don’t need Spotify — Spotify needs artists.


              2. DUDE

                If you’re holding out for that totally unreasonable ratio you’re gonna be waiting forever dude, and you will end up cheating yourself out of easy money


                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  “If you’re holding out for that totally unreasonable ratio you’re gonna be waiting forever dude”

                  Um, I’m not waiting. :)

                  Again: If Spotify can’t afford to pay for the services it needs, then it just has to shut down. That’s not a problem.


                  Reply
                  1. DUDE

                    As long as Spotify’s got the major label catalogs they’re not gonna be starved for content dude, and I guarantee the majors are not ever gonna be holding out for anything even remotely close to those rates… it blows my mind that anyone could be this business dumb but whatever


                    Reply
                    1. Anonymous

                      “I guarantee the majors are not ever gonna be holding out for anything even remotely close to those rates”

                      I would be a bit cautious with my guarantees if I were you. ;)

                      Beyoncé’s and Taylor Swift’s Spotify boycotts turned out to be very wise and inspiring business decisions.


              3. Me

                Are you serious? iTunes pays $0.7 for a $.99 download. A stream on Spotify (or any other streaming service) is not the same as a download. You aren’t BUYING a song from Spotify, so why should the rates be the same? No streaming service could ever sustain that kind of payout. The more you argue the more apparent it is that you just don’t grasp the concept of streaming, or the business as a whole.


                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  “iTunes pays $0.7 for a $.99 download. A stream on Spotify (or any other streaming service) is not the same as a download”

                  …which is why I said I would sell 1200 spins for 120 x $0.7. :)

                  Get it now?


                  Reply
                  1. Me

                    That’s a weird rate. Why wouldn’t you just write it as 1200 x $.07? Why throw in the extra unnecessary step?

                    Anyways, so you’re basically saying one stream is equal to 10 iTunes downloads? When you download a song, do you intend to only listen to that song 10 times in your entire life?


                    Reply
                    1. Anonymous

                      “Why wouldn’t you just write it as 1200 x $.07?”

                      Because that wouldn’t suggest the 1-10 ratio. But I’ll admit my math was ugly.

                      “you’re basically saying one stream is equal to 10 iTunes downloads?”

                      Well, the other way around — one iTunes download equals 10 streams. :) To me, that is. I have no way of knowing the right ratio for anybody else.

                      I don’t even know if 1-10 is the exact right one for me. I might be interested at 1-15. But it’s in that neighborhood.

                      As for the long tail: Yes, it sounds very nice in theory, doesn’t it, but at the end of the day you just need a lot of cash if you want to produce new songs. Food can be nice, too. So you can’t wait years to be paid.


                    2. DUDE

                      What are you basing that ratio on, besides your gross misunderstanding of the difference between streaming and sales and your wildly optimistic assumptions about how much your catalog is worth to people? Smart people dont make their business decisions based on numbers they pulled out their asses, I suggest you take a page from their book and ground yourself in reality


                  2. Me

                    Apparently he only expects people to listen to his music 10-15 times, max.


                    Reply
                    1. Anonymous

                      Which is true in your opinion, 1 or 2:

                      1) You’re asked to pay over the next 50 years when you buy a beer or book a studio.

                      2) You’re asked to pay up front when you buy a beer or book a studio.


      2. StacoPaco

        Because nobody EVER works for free to get skills and acknowledgment which leads to success in future avenues of life. Oh, wait a minute. There’s college interns, volunteers who later go into fields they volunteered for, a ton of this shit goes on.

        What was said is simple: The label did a piss-poor job of marketing people and some of their artists wound up getting shorted. Then in order to justify their failures as a label to promote their artists, he tries to say that streaming isn’t paying real money to people who get a lot of hits. The first comment I saw, as far as I can tell, disputes this 100%.

        The industry is inflated to a point where people have unrealistic expectations, overspend, and then get wrecked. Good riddance to a god-awful businessman and manager imo. If you can’t make your business viable and pay people competitively when so many others seem to be able to, then perhaps you are the one w/ a problem.


        Reply
    2. solution

      so what’s their streaming solution? how do they increase their spotify numbers? what are your top 5 suggestions?


      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        “so what’s their streaming solution?”

        You might as well ask for a money tree solution…

        Audio streaming services can’t afford to pay for the music they need to turn a profit. In other words: They failed.

        But that’s not a problem, so don’t ask for a solution.


        Reply
        1. asked

          well obviously the commentors above with 400K streams a month have figured something out, so i’d like to know how they did it, that’s some kind of solution. ( i somehow doubt that it’s been through hours of promoting: making videos, blogging, touring, getting reviews, etc etc., all of which Thievery & bands have done pretty extensively)


          Reply
          1. GGG

            Can just be popularity (maybe thanks to availability on Spotify!). There’s plenty of mid-level bands that have songs with 10, 20, 30+ million streams of one or two singles. 400K streams a months is under 5M streams a year. So it’s not necessarily any secret they found, just popularity of the band.


            Reply
      2. Me

        Better marketing/promotion? You have to do more than just put your music on the service. You have to let people know that it’s there. If you can’t even get your friends and family to listen to your music, how can you expect to earn any money from the service?

        It looks to me like they are just using Spotify/streaming as a scapegoat rather than admitting they really don’t have what it takes to run a successful label. (This is just a quick observation/judgement based on what I’ve seen – I have no idea how well any of these artists do w/ iTunes/physical sales/touring. But, methinks they weren’t ever rolling in the dough).

        Also, why do they have to drop every artist on the roster? Why not keep a few artists that are actually have a few songs getting a somewhat decent amount of streams and focus on them more?


        Reply
    3. Jim

      Its nice to see the breakdown of each artist and the amount of streams and listeners they have, but the question I am left with is; why would a business spend time and effort to develop and support a platform that, even if wildly successful, will never generate enough revenue to support the label or the artists?


      Reply
  5. Eddy Hfler

    Don`t look only at Spotify. I wonder how much money TC makes with youtube? Did they monetarise it. They got so many plays….Only with the audio fingerprint they should make about xxxx$ a month.


    Reply
  6. so what now

    so to all that are blaming ESL and Thievery from blowing the streaming game, what is their solution. How do they pump up their streaming numbers?

    ( i wanna know cuz TC, and some of those bands, and some of the songs, have a strong niche following, far beyond what most indie bands do or can achieve.)


    Reply
    1. Me

      That’s the tricky part. Just looking at the numbers I posted above, I would drop the dead weight (i.e. artists w/ less than 1,000 followers) and provide more resources to those who show more potential. That seems like it would have been a logical first step before just quitting altogether.


      Reply
      1. Me

        Also, TC has over 100,000 followers on Spotify. Yet, they only have one playlist on their Spotify profile, and most of the artists on it are not on their label. Why not have an ESL playlist promoting and showcasing all your bands? You promote that and get a thousand people to follow that playlist and that’s 1,000 people that get notified when you add a new track from one of your artists to it. That’s one easy, cheap way to promote your artists’ music.


        Reply
  7. All About the Benjamins

    @John
    “every bit of streaming revenue is literally FOUND FUCKING MONEY”

    Couldn’t agree more with regard to Pandora and other non-interactive services – its all free money and free exposure.

    However, on demand services (especially Spotify’s free version) directly cannibalizes digital sales. Everybody in the industry knows it but we regurgitate any favorable statistic so we can continue to shove the on-demand shit down an artists throat.

    The point is 80% of streaming (non-interactive) is very good for the artists and so-so for the labels. However, the other 20% of streaming (on-demand) is very, very good for the labels but akin to piracy for the artists.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “its all free money and free exposure”

      Exposure was everything 20 years ago. Radio was god because it was hard to come by.

      But today we have YouTube:

      YouTube is instant global exposure: It’s free, it’s fast, it’s easy to share, it has video, and it doesn’t cannibalize because you don’t need to upload full tracks.

      That’s why we don’t need radio anymore, terrestrial or otherwise.


      Reply
      1. Candy Man

        Exposure is still a big deal – whether YouTube, radio, or anything else that gets your name out. Just ask Bieber or [insert name of any flash in the pan artist discovered on YouTube]. Nonetheless, I agree that streaming radio cannot break an artist like a viral video on YouTube. Yes, one-offs are great on YouTube but there is so much noise its not a useful medium for really listening to music. On the other hand, inclusion in a genre based Internet radio stream can be a real discovery tool for a young artist to build a fan base and generate a few bucks in the process.


        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          “Exposure is still a big deal”

          Certainly, but it’s incredibly easy to come by — if you have something to offer. Just upload it to YouTube. No need for radio.

          “its [YouTube] not a useful medium for really listening to music”

          Consumers disagree…


          Reply
      2. Sin City

        Are you really trying to say music fans do NOT go to You Tube to listen to the full songs??


        Reply
        1. Candy Man

          No, not all. YouTube is great for finding a particualr track. That’s what a massive amount of people do. But If I am going for a jog (or doing anything mobile) or want background music, am I using YouTube – no. For that I use radio, both Internet and terrestrial.

          Only free Spotify is bad for artists. The subscription model would be great if there is a price that consumers, labels and artists can all live with. If not, the model does not work. Simple stuff.


          Reply
        2. Anonymous

          “Are you really trying to say music fans do NOT go to You Tube to listen to the full songs??”

          Haha, noooo! They go to YouTube to listen to full songs!

          Here’s a wonderful YouTube comment from a fan in response to a 30 seconds Beyoncé teaser, shortly after Mrs. Carter’s successful streaming-boycott:

          “I don’t want previews! Previews make me want what I don’t have!”

          Sweet, isn’t it? :)

          Print it out and hang it on your wall!


          Reply
  8. Willis

    Reality is that they closed the label because they decided to. The reason they used for closing it was streaming…which is a poor excuse.


    Reply
  9. esevece

    For the guys blaming at Spotify: don’t put your music on Spotify. No one forces you.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “don’t put your music on Spotify”

      Good advice.


      Reply
  10. ww

    “because of streaming” is not why this label closed down.


    Reply
  11. Wren Washington

    Got to learn, unlearn, and relearn, my friends. The music industry of the 21 century is not the same game anymore. You need a web guru like me to help you promote and find new revenue streams. It is really sad news…
    But saying because of streaming is WRONG, unfortunately if you don’t embrace technology, it will over take you.
    You guys should start a festival…you have a lot of followers! You cannot get into 18th Street…
    Someone is missing the mark!


    Reply
    1. KungPow

      Isn’t “web guru” just bullshit that translates into another fucking middleman trying to get his fingers into your ever-shriking piece of the pie? Web guru? Fuck that shit.


      Reply

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