Rdio Confirms: The Black Keys Are Not Licensing Any Streaming Services

Updated, 9 am PCT Friday: Spotify has now also confirmed the Black Keys decision to Bloomberg, though the company offered few additional details.  

Other major media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter are confirming our original story.  This confirmation from Rdio was first published Thursday afternoon; stay tuned for ongoing updates.              

Rdio is now confirming what sources have been telling Digital Music News for days. The Black Keys are indeed making a deliberate decision not to license their latest album to any of the streaming services, most notably Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and MOG.  “At this point no streaming service will be offering the album,” an Rdio representative emailed us last night.

Shortly after the Rdio email, Spotify also confirmed the band’s decision to Bloomberg, while offering few additional details. Many are assuming that this is part of a windowing strategy, one that would see services like Spotify uploading the album at a later date.  But that is not confirmed at this stage, and neither offered any details on a future arrival date.  The album, El Camino, officially hit the iTunes Store, Amazon MP3, and other outlets on December 6th, with only the teaser single, “Lonely Boy,” available on streaming services.

There’s also been a ‘situation’ at MOG.  On the morning of the 6th, MOG actually had the album available for its users and subscribers, though it quickly disappeared.  Now, it turns out that MOG was instructed to take it down.  That was confirmed by this customer service response, posted by a Digital Music News reader.

That ‘content owner’ seems likely to be Q Prime Management, not Warner Bros. Records, according to our sources.  At this stage, it appears that Q Prime has decided that platforms like Spotify do not make sense for their artists, at least on frontline releases.  That is certainly the case with Q Prime client the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose later releases – including Californication and Stadium Arcadium – are also not available on Spotify.

Instead, Spotify users can only access a sampling of older releases from the 80s and early 90s, including classics like Mother’s Milk and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan.  But Stadium Arcadium came out in 2006, and Californication in 1999, a dateline that raises questions about any Black Keys windowing plans.

Warner Music Group has yet to offer any response.

23 Responses

  1. @axxll

    Steven Rosenberg

    The industry is headed towards DVD model where new releases are available for sale first & later become available for streaming.

  2. Double a

    could someone please explain to me why this is a bad idea?

    If someone said to you – here’s a bag of money with $5K in it and one with $50K in it, wouldn’t YOU take the one with $50K in it?

    I understand that fans want access, but until either a) Spotify figures out how to price discriminate and offer different levels of service or b) enough people use streaming services to make it worth an artist’s while, EVERY time an established artist releases an album, they will lose money if they don’t window.

    This isn’t a strategy for new and developing artists who need exposure. This is a strategy for artists with a gang of fans hungry for new content, fans who will either pirate the album or purchase the album. At this point, even if most fans pirate the album and a few buy, the artist sees more money from windowning than not.

    Before pointing fingers and calling the Black Keys out for this, put yourself in the position. $5K or $50K? What would you do?

  3. El ComeOnNow

    Don’t panic, streaming services and the bands that shun them will all survive this kerfuffle.

  4. HansH

    More assumptions and guesses…

    Come up with a statement from The Black Keys or their label. This is tabloid style reporting.

  5. Visitor

    All of these albums are available on Kazaa’s legal streaming service now

  6. paul

    Just an update to the original story. Spotify has now confirmed the band’s decision to withhold to Bloomberg, though they’ve offered very few additional details.

    The Bloomberg article is here.

    We’ll be updating as this story unfolds.


  7. peacerocker

    The Black Keys are no longer part of my music library. I deleted all their files and removed them from any playlist I had them in.

    If we the people hit them where it hurts, they will reconsider,

    DON’T BUY Black Keys music!!!

  8. Visitor

    Really the best solution here is for Spotify to allow us to upload our local files to the cloud so I can buy/pirate and records they don’t have and still access them anywhere.

  9. Jason Spitz

    I don’t like this sudden expectation that artists put their ENTIRE brand-new album (or their entire back catalog) up on streaming services. A couple years ago, on-demand streaming services didn’t even EXIST. And now we all get in a huff if they can’t deliver every song by every artist, the moment it becomes available? We’re so easily spoiled.

    For a popular artist with a brand-new album, Spotify works really well as a marketing channel to give people a taste. Put a few tracks up, maybe the lead single and two or three others. But your main goal should be to drive fans to purchase the whole record if they wanna hear the rest (or at least stream the full album on your website only, so if people wanna listen, they’re in an environment where you can market to them directly, as opposed to Spotify with its lame-ass music ads).

    Any new piece of media has the best chance at earning the most money in the period closest to its launch. Smart artists & labels will take advantage of windowing to maximize their earnings. I enjoy Spotify, but I definitely think it can cannibalize new-release sales if the full album is available for streaming on street date.

  10. Nasa

    100 Digital Albums Sold & 1,000 Digital Albums Stolen is Greater in value then 1,100 Digital Albums Streamed. (By a lot)

    Until you fix that, you will have a problem with the model.

    Easy enough?

    • Visitor

      and on top of that, studies show that people who pirate tend to buy more music, so it’s a win/win.

      • Visitor

        Getting into Streaming music on Grooveshark has increased my vinyl purchases tenfold. I now spend more money on music per year than I have for the past ten.

  11. @clipperhouse

    Matt ☼ Sherman

    This doesn’t actually bother me, as long as the band is making the decision.