There’s Another Spotify Holdout: RUSH

Call them old school, call them whatever you want.

But RUSH is now the latest band to withhold their music from Spotify, specifically their latest album, Clockwork Angels.   Representatives for the band (at Atlantic and Roadrunner) have yet to respond to a weekend inquiry, though sources have pointed Digital Music News to a deliberate windowing move.

RUSH’s management group was contacted early Monday morning; Spotify agreed to look into the matter while pointing to a similar situation at other streaming services.

Which means physical retailers, iTunes, and other sales-oriented outlets have the album, and Spotify will have to wait.  Taking it a step further, iTunes has gotten ‘red carpet treatment’ on this one: Clockwork Angels has been Mastered for iTunes, and there may have been an exclusive (or semi-exclusive) release window of several days.  The album was officially released on June 12th; iTunes had it June 8th.

The question is whether or not this is an effective sales strategy.  The net result for RUSH is first-week sales north of 103,000 units in the US alone, according to Nielsen Soundscan.  That’s not bad, especially in this climate, and RUSH scored the second-best album sales ranking behind Usher’s Looking 4 Myself.

Perhaps Coldplay is the standard bearer in this windowing game.  In December of last year, the band finally released Mylo Xyloto to Spotify after a three-month delay.  Album sales easily topped 1 million units in the US, with nearly 60 percent coming from paid downloads.  That may have offered validation for windowing and withholding, and informed RUSH’s strategy.

Of course, this discussion assumes that RUSH will ultimately release this album on Spotify.  Other bands, most notably the Black Keys, seem to have folded their arms indefinitely.

More as it develops. 

17 Responses

  1. News Reader

    So every time an artist witholds an album from Spotify it makes the news now?

    • FarePlay

      Let us hope that is the case. Spotify offers an unsustainable compensation models for artists. Rumors have it, that when Spotify begins offering free streaming on the McDonalds’ Site, artists will recieve discounts for “Happy Meals” (tm McDonalds) in addition to their licensing.

      That should be a welcome surprise for musicians trying to raise a family.

      All kidding aside, today’s musicians are still spooked to stand up for their truth while the legacy of Lars Ulrich still hangs over their heads.

      “Lars has been made into a legend by the P2P proponents. They stuck his head on a post just outside the LA City Limits with a sign that says “if you speak out for your rights, this is what’s going to happen to you”. And damn if they haven’t been successful for TEN YEARS. I say, high time we took poor Lars’ head down and replaced it with Kim Dotcom.”

      So we encourage all bands to take a stand for their future and politely ask Spotify to take their music down.

    • Rusher

      It’s news because Rush is the number one music group among Sys Admins (seriously). Geeks care.

  2. They don't need it...

    You know what?

    Being that the entire rest of their 30+ year catalog is available, and their fanbase is rabid and dedicated who the fuck cares?

    Effective sales strategy? These guys make music because THEY LOVE IT at this point in their career. They never have to make another record as long as they live if they don’t want to. They went to Brazil for the first time in their career in 2003 and played to 40k and 60k fans. They still sell out arenas all over North America.

    That said I highly recommend the VH1 Classic Roc Doc on them…it will answer a lot of questions.

    I just streamed all of Chronicles yesterday no problem with my 5 year old. He’s a huge Alex Lifeson fan, not so much of Geddy’s Voice though…

  3. @esgetology

    Spotify lacks great content, & no smart playlists.

    • Meat

      Spotify does *not* lack great content, it has it marbled through it’s flesh like fat through a good steak. There’s SO much good stuff on there it’s ludicrous to say it doesn’t. What, because ’21’ isn’t on there or this Rush album? How about the 1000+ years woth of classical music or everything else ever?

  4. hello

    I don’t think the Rush album was on iTunes early – I think the date is defaulting to countries that have Friday release dates. Look at Usher from the same week with a June 8 date, Offspring today with a June 22 date. For what it’s worth.

  5. HansH

    Ok a little off topic still very interesting:

    Mythbusting: “Spotify doesn’t give any money to artists”
    This label gets 80% of its revenue from Spotify.

    BTW Adele-21 is now on Spotify.

    (Some window!)

    • paul


      Amazing, I’m actually listening to Adele’s 21 on Spotify. When, I’d ask, did this happen?


      • HansH

        I got an alert from the @spnotify service this morning

  6. @grumpusnation

    Aw, no Rush for Spotify? Because Apple just *has* to get into the music subscription business, right?

  7. TheFuturist

    The question isn’t IF Apple goes into the subscription business. It is WHEN. And when that happens say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. Anyone besides me notice how iTunes is streaming more and more pre-release albums? It’s only a matter of time before it goes subscription too. The future of music is streaming; period. Get with it people!

  8. NoUse

    Just set up your Dropbox as a local folder in Spotify and you can very easily fill any holes that might exist.

  9. Ben Sommer

    As one of those crazy anti-copyright wackos, I wish Rush would just release it already, but its their right to hold it back. They’ll come around I’m sure.

    The sales figures are fascinating. Love that this trio of old geezers is still kicking it. This release prompted me to go back and examine their entire catalog. I wrote up (what appears to be) the most complete infographic on the web on Rush Album Sales Figures. Check it out: