Why Is the Latest Vampire Weekend Album on iTunes, But Not Spotify?

So let’s review: Spotify says there’s absolutely no evidence that streaming replaces download sales.  Yet two of the biggest artists on the planet — Daft Punk and now Vampire Weekend — are both withholding their latest releases from Spotify.  And, both are getting marquee, exclusive placement from iTunes, right now.

Which raises the question: whose information is wrong?

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47 Responses

  1. Tek

    Vampire Weekend’s will be up in a few weeks (according to their AMA the other day). First I’m hearing of Daft Punk.
    Either way they should both go day and date. Streaming is not only the future it’s the present. Do they make money on all the Youtube streams that are happening in VW’s case and will happen in Daft Punk’s case? Probably not..

  2. Daffy Punk

    What are you talking about, here’s the Daft Punk album on Spotify. It’s Friday afternoon….doesn’t come out till Tuesday

    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

    • Lie Witness Blues

      Wrong. Try clicking the link, it doesn’t work.


    It’s on Spotify US right now. It’s Friday, doesn’t come out till Tuesday.

    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

    • Me

      No, only the first single is available in the US.

      • jw

        If you have the leaked copy downloaded locally, it probably appears as if it’s available in Spotify. If not, the teaser treatment in the desktop software that encourages users to follow in order to be notified next tuesday is really cool.

        • Me

          This. Anybody who’s claiming that it the album was on Spotify early just outed themselves as an illegal downloader. 😉

          • MJL

            The album is in fact available on Spotify US. It has nothing to do with illegal downloading on the user’s part. It’s on there and if you have Spotify and you’re in the US. Go and look for it.

          • Me

            It’s on there now because the album is officially released. It was not available before Tuesday, however. Only the first single was available. Before that, when you would go to the Daft Punk artist page, the most recent album was the Tron Legacy Reconfigured.

  4. Casey

    It is a little odd to hold out on streaming when you are selling it for $5 on 7Digital.

  5. Me

    As far as Daft Punk is concerned, the album is not out yet, so that’s why it’s not on Spotify. As far as I know Spotify has never streamed an album before it’s official street date. And the iTunes pre-stream is fairly new, and doesn’t mean Daft Punk is avoiding Spotify (could be wrong about this).

  6. Stu

    Why isn’t Daft Punk on Spotify? The album isn’t out yet – they did a pre-release stream on iTunes but that’s a promotional decision surely, not a distribution decision. There’d be a story in that if the album wasn’t on Spotify on its day of release next week, but all indications are it will.
    So the argument might actually be this: if Daft Punk are close enough with Apple to do the pre-release stream exclusively on iTunes, doesn’t the fact that the album WILL also be available on Spotify and its rivals from its release date actually show confidence in the streaming model?
    RAM has all the makings of the next big album (see also Mumfords, Bruno Mars etc) to sell a shedload of downloads in its first week AND do a shedload of streams.
    Not sure what Vampire Weekend’s story is on this score, mind.

  7. Aleks

    Paul shows his ignorance and clear comptempt for Spotify in this post.
    The Daft Punk album release date isn’t until next week in most countries. But rather then take 2 seconds to find out when it’s out he choose to post that they’re witholding it from Spotify.
    The record is available in the european markets where the release date was this week, so clearly it’s not a holdout.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Release date? What’s that?
      It means less and less every day; things come out when they come out, people don’t line up at Tower Records on Tuesday anymore. In many cases, the ‘release date’ nowadays is when something gets leaked (and if you don’t believe that, you weren’t on Grooveshark earlier this week listening to the Daft Punk album; or, probably BitTorrent for all I know).
      And Daft Punk offers another perfect example of why the official release date means so little these days. I’m streaming the full album on iTunes, right now. I can’t do that on Spotify.
      So, let’s review: Spotify is all about streaming, that’s their bread-and-butter. Yet I’m streaming it somewhere else (ie, iTunes), in its entirely, as much as I want.
      So who cares about a so called ‘official release date’ in that scenario? It means nothing: Spotify is getting second dibs; they’re waiting until Daft Punk maximizes their download pre-orders and milks whatever promotional benefit Apple is offering.

      • HansH

        “Spotify is getting second dibs”
        Who cares? Not even me;) At least this album is on Spotify on the release date. I’m happy with that and if Daft Punk/the label can make a little more money with the iTunes pre-release stream, fine with me.

      • Visitor

        Does Spotify have a buy/preorder link immediately above their streams?
        I think they used to,but don’t anymore.

        Itunes does.

        Coumbia also has massive market share right now, they may have struck a sweeter deal with iTunes.

  8. Stu

    Oh, also: if Apple is out there offering artists and labels iTunes homepage promotion and prominent preorder link in exchange for exclusive pre-release stream, why wouldn’t you do it? Especially if you’re then free to put the album on Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio etc on the day of release.
    That doesn’t seem to me like a decision for iTunes and against Spotify – it seems to be an emerging model for the two services to complement one another neatly in an album campaign. The Bowie album was another good example: big pre-release exclusive on iTunes, but it wasn’t withheld from streaming services when it actually went on sale.
    Without wishing to seem rude, if you don’t separate out pre-release exclusives (Bowie, Daft Punk) with genuine withholds (Taylor Swift, Vampire Weekend seemingly) you run the risk of appearing to be going looking for anti-streaming stories even if the facts don’t quite fit.
    Did you see that Spotify is starting to display play-counts for tracks in its desktop client? That’s going to be interesting, because we’ll finally have some accurate data on how much money an individual album is making on the service (eg DP’s Get Lucky had been streamed over 22.5m times by Friday on Spotify globally, which is a figure you can cross-reference with reported per-stream payouts from the service. And also compare to download sales…

    • HansH

      I agree. This is a copy/paste article with a silly question with an obvious answer.
      Spotify displaying song plays is a clever idea to counter the ongoing urban legends about low payouts. Sure per stream rates are low, but now we can compare pay-counts and tell who is blaming rates when actually the popularity of the songs is the main reason.

      • Visitor

        “now we can compare pay-counts and tell who is blaming rates when actually the popularity of the songs is the main reason”
        The problem is not ‘popularity of the songs’. I completely agree that it sucks when unpopular artists blame Spotify for their lack of success.
        The problem is that Spotify isn’t popular. If it were 50-100 times bigger — and still paid .0008 per stream — then it could be interesting. YouTube is interesting, for instance.
        And I would like to emphasize that a lot of anti-streamers, such as yours truly, would love Spotify if it made any sense from a business point of view.
        Why wouldn’t we? This is not a religion or an ideology.
        But it does not make sense. Unfortunately…

        • HansH

          Spotify not popular? In the US maybe or with indie musicians. Have you seen these stats?
          1.Daft Punk ‘Get Lucky’
          22.5m Spotify streams/ 25m YouTube views
          2.Macklemore and Lewis ‘Can’t Hold Us’
          55m Spotify streams/ 29m YouTube views
          3.Macklemore and Lewis ‘Thrift Shop’
          103m Spotify streams/ 304m YouTube views
          4.P!NK ‘Just Give Me a Reason’
          40m Spotify streams/ 106m YouTube views
          Not bad for a service that so far has way less users (25M) than YouTube (1B).
          Like I told you earlier Spotify pays more than $.0008, about half a cent per stream.
          You say YouTube is interesting. What is their average payout rate per stream?

    • Visitor

      Digital Music News – where the comments are consistently more insightful than the “reporting.”

  9. GGG

    As Tek said, Ezra said on their Reddit AMA that the label decided to hold out, but gave no more specifics.
    At this point, I feel like labels just have to experiment and see what works. Though, for an indie band like Vampire Weekend who will no doubt see a HUGE amount of piracy, it doesn’t really make sense to hold out on Spotify in my opinion. Might as well try to scrape up as many pennies as you can.

  10. Visitor

    Sorry, but I can’t form an opinion on this without Yves Yvenson commentary.

  11. Nils

    Im a big fan of Vampire Weekend and it’s a little sad that I’m forced to illegally download their album and have them miss out on a lot of paid listens from me on Spotify. Withholding music from streaming services only hurt the artists. I’m not going to pay a one time price for an album, and I don’t understand how anyone can do that.

    • steveh

      If you are a “big fan” of Vampire Weekend why in God’s name don’t you buy their album?
      Buying their album is by far the best way to show your appreciation and to bring them benefit.
      Illegally downloading their album will harm this band that you say you are a “big fan” of.
      Why do you wish to harm them if you are a “big fan”?
      And pur-leez – noone is “forcing” you to illegally download. It’s you choice to do that…

      • Adam

        Hell, it was $7.99 on Amazon MP3. If you’re a big fan then that’s a very reasonable barrier of entry.

    • GGG

      Yea, for once I actually agree with steveh. If you’re really a “big” fan, spurge on the ten fucking dollars, cheapskate.

    • HansH

      Steveh has a point indeed. Still that’s the way it works…

      • GGG

        Oh, I agree. I even pointed out this exact issue in my post a few above. Plus, half my rants on here point out how “important” streaming/piracy can be toward people even hearing your music to begin with.
        Having said that, if you call yourself a big fan of an artist, I think you can handle a few bucks.

        • HansH

          But if you are already paying 10 bucks a month for a streaming service that is expected to give access to all music…. It annoys even big fans.

    • hippydog

      Quote “Im a big fan of Vampire Weekend and it’s a little sad that I’m forced to illegally download their album”
      Wow.. that was the stupidiest comment I have read this month..
      NO.. REALLY..
      it has untapped layers of stupidity..

      • steveh

        Unfortunately this is the kind of mentality that Spotify engenders in people.
        Spotifymakes people think that “all you can eat” is the only reality.
        When in fact “all you can eat” destroys the viability of music creators.

        • hippydog

          Quote ” Unfortunately this is the kind of mentality that Spotify engenders in people.”
          I’m thinking its also just as likely that its a ‘spotify shill’ that posted that comment..

    • Caitie

      If you can’t stream the record, please consider buying a record at a record shop. While this topic for the digital sphere, it won’t hurt to support a physical store once in a while. Once their window is closed, you are then able to legally support them by streaming the record in full.

    • bp

      give me a fucking break… nobody “forced” you to do anything. you chose to illegally download the album isntead of buying it or waiting to stream it.

  12. Clinton

    The only artists making significant money from streaming services are those with major label deals. The majors collect 100% of the market share via PRO’s VS Indies that get paid only on what’s actually being played if at all. It’s a squeeze play to get artists to return to the machine. Spotify even states very clearly they do NOT pay indie artist royalties. Streaming may be the future, ‘maybe’ from the customer’s perspective it’s great but from the artist’s it’s a holocaust. Every streaming service will fail for one reason, as they gain in popularity so too will their royalty pay outs rendering them upside down in their business models. This is not a guess, this is math. This is why they are lobbing congress to lower royalty payouts even more. The reason it works in movies is because movies are generally 2 hours long. Songs are generally under 5 minutes at $10 per month is not nearly enough to cover the costs. For streaming to work the subscription rate would need to be around $50 per month. Streaming KILLS sales by 2 thirds. Do not fall for their manipulation. If it looks like a duck & quacks like a duck it’s a duck!

    • hippydog

      Quote “This is not a guess, this is math. This is why they are lobbing congress to lower royalty payouts even more. The reason it works in movies is because movies are generally 2 hours long. Songs are generally under 5 minutes at $10 per month is not nearly enough to cover the costs. For streaming to work the subscription rate would need to be around $50 per month. Streaming KILLS sales by 2 thirds.”
      I think you need to show your math, because what you wrote makes little sense..
      Lets just start with the idea or “concept” that someone , somewhere, is streaming new release movies for <$10 a month? OR and this is just a thought.. maybe the services simply dont have enough "buy in" from the regular consumer? making them less profitable?

  13. Carly S

    I think it makes perfect sense. The artists don’t want to risk Spotify or other streaming services affecting their initial sales and chartings. Even if Spotify is correct in saying their service doesn’t affect sales, why risk it? Plus I agree with the previous comments about iTunes giving a huge splash on their homepage and helping the artists drive sales.
    Although some bands, one example is The Black Keys, choose to withhold their most recent release from Spotify while listing their whole prior catalog. The Black Keys have publically stated how they make no money on Spotify (er, less than the no money they make off albums…) so this must be their attempt to gain some residual sales after the album is released. Seems to work for them, the album is still on the Billboard Top 200 (#103) after 75 weeks. You have to take into consideration that this was a hit album; if the album was a flop and no one cared, would they still withold from Spotify?
    I would say the same for both Daft Punk and Vampire Weekend at this point… One of the main reasons we’re having this discussion is because they are both hot releases. The bottom line is, artists still care about album sales and chart placement even if the rest of the world doesn’t.

    • Champion

      In a world where YouTube and Grooveshark are both streaming the album, no, it absolutely does not make “perfect sense.”
      This is punishing paying, legal customers for no reason. Restrict it to Premium if you must, but again, other places are illegally streaming it for free.
      Windowing is the one and only way that the labels can make Spotify et al. look worse than piracy to people who are still on the fence. I sincerely hope that they stop shooting themselves in the foot.

      • Carly S

        I agree that the labels are shooting themselves in the foot but lets be honest, they were doing that long before Spotify came into the picture. They should let paying customers on Spotify listen – but that’s a technology issue with Spotify and not the labels fault. To my knowledge Spotify has not offered that option yet.

        • Champion

          It’s definitely the label’s decision because it also isn’t available on Rdio, Google Play Music All Access, Rhapsody, etc.
          This is a blanket ban on streaming, and it’s a really terrible idea.

    • Carly S

      Also as of this time ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ is not on Grooveshark or Youtube…

      • Champion

        Absolutely false. It’s available on both. Maybe at the time you looked there was a magical window where some takedown requests caused the illusion that you describe, but it’s certainly there now.
        Vampire Weekend’s label has successfully made legal services look worse than their illicit competition. Nicely done.

  14. Seth

    Labels lose money on download sales due to illegal downloading. People choose to stream music instead of download it illegally, earning artist dismal profites albeit more than they receive from illegal downloads. Major Labels withold albums from Spotify for a given time following iTunes release, causing people to become resentful towards Spotify and Pandora and Rdio, etc. People stop using streaming services as a result and resort back to illegal downloading, causing artists and (predominantly) major labels to lose out on money
    Hmmm… not saying its fair. Just the way it is. I agree with the comment above, stop shooting yourself in the foot.

  15. Me

    Trouble Will Find Me by The National also does not appear to be on Spotify at the moment. Not sure if they are windowing, too, or if it’s just slow getting on Spotify. Right now, it is the #2 album on iTunes.

  16. hippydog

    To answer the original question “Why Is the Latest Vampire Weekend Album on iTunes, But Not Spotify?”
    I’m simply going to assume that Itunes gave them the best deal
    they simply like Itunes better (after all, artists do seem to have a soft spot for Itunes.. sometimes its not about the ‘money’ and more about the personal preference)