This could be one of the most critical junctures yet for Spotify — and maybe, the streaming space overall. Because Thom Yorke isn’t just a musician we all love, he’s one of the most influential musicians in the world. And that includes the indie music world.
Which is why substantial and influential indie labels are actively reconsidering their support of Spotify, or pulling their music while pursuing other, more premium-paying options. We know this because someone went out and asked a bunch of indies not only what they were thinking about Spotify, but what they were thinking of doing next.
That is, journalists Jason Cherkis and Timothy Stenovec of the Huffington Post, who bluntly asked indies what their next decisions might be. Here are some of the answers.
Eric Hilton, Thievery Corporation/ESL Music.
I’ve always spoken out about Spotify and today’s streaming sites 100% negatively. Thievery Corporation intends to join [Yorke] and not participate with Spotify, which is especially dangerous to the livelihood of artists. Thank you Thom Yorke for having the guts to stand up to the new techno-feudalistic gulag exploiting all artists.
Laura Balance, cofounder/co-owner, Merge Records.
We would let [artists] refrain from having their music up there if that is what they prefer. The only artist we have had do that for so far is Mark Eitzel. He had us keep his record off Spotify for the first three months after it came out.
Todd Hyman, owner of Carpark Records.
It’s not like we get a ton of money from Spotify anyway.
Peanut Butter Wolf, founder of Stones Throw Records.
I barely think the good outweighs the bad. But I don’t really push my artists for or against it. Maybe I need to talk to Thom Yorke.
Caleb Braaten, founder of Sacred Bones
If a band wanted to be pulled we would happily do so. Spotify for up-and-coming artists is more of a promotional platform than a money-making one… As we know now Spotify is not a money-making platform for anyone besides Spotify.
Jasper Goggins, label manager for Mad Decent.
As a small independent label I feel it is our primary duty to expose our artists to a larger audience and the best way to do that is to get their music in front of active consumers. By removing music, you’re basically cutting off your nose to spite your face. Of course I would love it if the royalties were higher, but we also have the majority of our music on Soundcloud and that is the complete opposite model. We pay Soundcloud for the bandwidth!
Major labels: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment.
Image: ‘Sermon on the Mount’ by Carl Heinrich Bloch (public domain)