Why Withholding Music From Spotify Only Hurts You

Someone just told me to check out a band. I’m going to withhold their name because this isn’t meant to shame them – as there are many more just like them. Their music is fantastic (and have celebrity support). They have less than 2,000 Facebook Likes and only 3 reviews and 14 ratings on iTunes. A relatively new band. They’re a buzz band of NYC right now and just landed a major tour supporting a huge artist.

So, naturally, I went to Spotify to check them out. They had two songs there. Both excellent. I figured these were the first singles for their upcoming album. I listened to the songs and then visited their website. It listed they had a new album available – that was released 4 months ago! If they were utilizing the windowing method, this was one Sistine chapel sized window!

I liked the music. But I check out new bands every day and the ones I really like I add them to a Spotify playlist and listen many more times. I’m not going to pony up $10 for 15 new bands’ albums every month.

Spotify is not just a promotional tool.

Everyone will understand this eventually. It is the new way to consume full albums and songs.

Artists using Spotify as a promotional tool are missing out on attracting the die hard fans. The fans that don’t use iTunes anymore, but will buy your vinyl and t-shirt at your concert. The fans that will support your PledgeMusic campaign. The fans that will share your YouTube video to their Facebook page. The fans that will ‘name their price’ on BandCamp and pay you double the ‘normal’ price (this band is also not on BandCamp).

Let’s not forget that Lorde rose to prominence because “Royals” was included on Sean Parker’s Hipster International playlist on Spotify.

Forcing fans to use one platform to consume music is arrogant and destructive.

Pulling music from Spotify and forcing people to download removes choice. It encourages piracy or worse, apathy. Spotify, like iTunes when it first launched, gives people a quick and easy way to legally consume music (and get artists paid).

Stop bitching about low ‘per-stream’ rates. They will increase the more users sign up. Remember, the music industry is not a one-for-one model. Never was. Never will be.

Photo adapted from Rambojun Iphoneography with the Creative Commons Use license.

129 Responses

  1. suspicious

    Ari, how much does Spotify pay you to churn out these infomercials?

        • FarePlay

          I guess CD Baby agrees with you Ari. Artists can no longer pick and choose streaming services with them. You can’t remove your music from only Spotify. Equity deal?

    • visitor

      It’s funny how Ari’s “wisdom” is always in tune with silicon valley and not with other artists. Spotify is not just a promotional tool, it’s a financial instrument dreamed up by silicon valley and wall street to which the labels are complicitous.

      Faza (the cynical musician) is on the money here…

      The Tyranny of Legality | The Cynical Musician

      The fundamental point I’d like you to take away from this is: it’s a lot more important to keep a watchful eye on ostensibly legal services – recall that both Pandora and (perhaps to a lesser extent) YouTube are legit – than to agonize over overt piracy. That pirate services should be hunted to as close to extinction as is feasible goes without saying, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that nobody deserves a medal for going legit. It’s what you’re f-ing supposed to do.

      • Guest

        Spotify is the best way to consume music. The reason it’s a big money thing is because people use it. Movie theatre owners got pissed at home television. Radio hated video. Blockbuster hated netflix. If you can’t adapt as fast as technology you will loose. This is entertainment we’re talking about. Whatever is the most entertaining way to consume entertainment is going to be the thing people pay for. Art house movies make no money. Four quadrant blockbusters do. Small indie no name bands don’t make money. U2 does. It’s the nature of bing an artist. You need to create something of value and also present it in a valuable way.

        • WM

          If you can’t adapt as fast as technology you will lose huh? It seems Tool is doin just fine w/out being on Itunes, Spotify, etc… Its spotify and all these other FREE download sites that are killing the music industry. The band don’t make any money off just you downloading one stinkin song. Thats what people don’t get yet they’re willing to pay 5 bucks for a stupid star bucks coffee. Unreal!

          • OpNMC

            That is because Tool was already popular before any of these streaming services existed.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      @suspicious: Spotify does not pay Ari. Digital Music News pays Ari.

      But speaking of informercials, do you have excess belly fat? Because millions Americans are discovering a revolutionary secret… ;D

          • Anonymous

            Paul, nobody seriously thinks Spotify pays you.

            And I’m sure you think you’re doing the music community — and perhaps even democracy? :) — a favour by hiring anti-music writers to tell us Silicon Valley’s side of the story.

            But have you considered the damage they may do to young artists?

            The music world has never been tougher. When your writers repeatedly tell newbs to give their work away for free, they may believe it.

          • Paul Resnikoff

            Gosh, you really think our audience is that stupid? The artists that read Digital Music News are really intelligent people, so let’s not insult them. They are sophisticated and can weigh a myriad of different opinions, and make decisions that fit their situation and strategy.

            And if they can’t, we’ll probably never hear from them anyway.

          • Anonymous

            “The artists that read Digital Music News are really intelligent people”

            That’s funny — most of the artists I know, including yours truly, are drunk and/or stoned nitwits. But ymmv.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, really, please do that.

            I’m sure many newbs trust the headlines in their favorite music magazines.

          • Moby

            did spotify ever give money to digital music news for advertising?

    • GG Allin

      Only suckers pay for this stuff anymore, now that there are workarounds to get Spotify for free.

  2. daryl shawn

    Well put, Ari. I use Spotify, or Rhapsody, or Mog (I subscribe to all three, as sometimes the catalogs are different) both to check out artists and for regular listening. Like you, I can’t buy all the stuff that interests me (and in the heyday of CD’s I pretty much always bought used anyway). But I’ve become a huge fan of bands solely through hearing their music online, whether through streaming or through Youtube, and would likely have never discovered/gotten into them otherwise.

    And speaking as an artist, people who would never have encountered me otherwise hear my stuff – and that’s the point. In this new world, it’s more important than before to make our music compelling enough to create fans from listeners.

    tx for the good words,

    Daryl Shawn

  3. ben

    Forcing fans to use one platform to consume music is arrogant and destructive.

    You are not talking about “fans”, you are talking about stupid “followers” (that don’t pay for anything).

    The fans that don’t use iTunes anymore, but will buy your vinyl and t-shirt at your concert.

    No they don’t buy my stuff because i don’t do concerts.

  4. Brian K.

    You’re Freudian slip bears examination:
    “Spotify is not a just promotional tool.”

  5. Polaske

    Great post Ari! In addition to Spotify, I believe every artist should have (control) there music on YouTube and Souncloud (EDM producers its a must). By not being on these platforms you are simply narrowing your potential audience reach.

    • TuneHunter

      Folks in concentration camps had to eat sawdust.
      Considering current music industry situation, Ari is right, you have to be on Sotiffy and Tube Player.
      To be visible and call yourself musician – you have allow to be raped.

      • Anonymous

        “Did Apple/iTunes pay you for that comment?”

        They don’t have to do that — they pay artists.

        • PiratesWinLOL

          But not very much with a dying MP3 market ;) I thought perhaps you wanted to supplement the shinking income, with a job as a paid internet troll, supporting their doomed stoneage business model

          • GG Allin

            Completely incorrect. That 70% is not accounting for all the other players. On a 99¢ download, an artist/band typically earns 7-10¢ cents after deductions for the retailer, the record company and the songwriter.

          • Kieran-Alexis

            Not if you use tunecore dot com – you get 70% – yes you do of course have to pay $30 dollars to release the album [and $50 for each subsequent year – up to you to decide if it’s worth keeping your release up for more than one year – if my releases don’t recoup after 1 yr, I take them down], but after that, they don’t take a cut.

  6. Anonymous

    The new Broken Bells album isn’t on Spotify yet, either (aside from 4 of the tracks, 2 of which were just added this week). Wonder how long the window will be for that one. What’s interesting though is that if you make a Broken Bells station on Pandora you’ll eventually hear the whole album. It devalues the service a little when new releases are windowed like that. They need to work harder at guaranteeing all new releases will be available on release day if they really want people to pay for the service. It’ll be interesting to see how it (the battle between streaming and downloads) all plays out. Why can’t Spotify shell out so much for a highly anticipated new release that it’s only available on Spotify premium and not on Itunes (Cazzette doesn’t count because they were a new artist no one knew about)? They would gain subscribers by doing this, similar in the way Netflix gained subscribers by introducing original programming, and add value/exclusivity to the service. I’m probably not the first person to ask these questions, so it must not be that easy, but to me it seems like it can be.

    I disagree about Sean Parker’s playlist having any effect on “Royals” rise to prominence. That song was bound to be huge, it needed absolutely no help. The first time I heard it on the radio in my car, I went home, found it on youtube and played it over and over. And I know others who had a similar experience. It was just that immediate.

    • PiratesWinLOL

      It is odd with the Broken Bells album, because it is available on my other streaming services, WiMP and YouMusic (a Danish streaming service from my ISP).

    • Me

      Royals reached 800,000+ listeners on Spotify long before you heard it on the radio.

    • Esol Esek

      Exactly. Great songs sell themselves. That’s why Youtube exists, as a sort of community confirmation, and further identification of what someone has heard. Macklemore’s Thrift Shop and Psy’s Gangnam were as much video happenings as songs. Afterwards, they could move straight to downloads. No need for streaming.

      You can reach millions of people through online radio. There’s little reason to give a piece to a group of fraudsters like Spotify and Pandora, especially when they are actively lobbying AGAINST more money going to artists.

      I havent heard Macklemore comment on Spotify. If he can explain its value, I’ll listen.

      • Esol Esek

        I guess he was number one streaming last year. Oh well. I still hate it, though. Spotify prob just added to the promotional value, but how much would be interesting to quantify since they also made a traditional radio deal.

  7. George Johnson

    Ari doesn’t understand Copyright Law or the free market. Is Spotify paying him like most of the trolls that cheerlead for Spotify? No real songwriter or music publisher or independent artist cares what Ari says, like all the other freehadists.

    • PiratesWinLOL

      It is you that doesn’t understand what a free market is about. The free market is about the consumers choosing the product, which benefit them the most, so that good products stay and inferior products eventually disappear. In this case, the consumers has clearly spoken, and while downloads and CDs are disappearing, streaming is growing fast. Whether you like it or not, this is the future, but of course you can stay with the old formats. You are just not going to sell anything. In Scandinavia the transition is almost complete already and the overall market is growing as a consequence. The US is a bit more backwards regarding this technology, but that only means that the complete transition will take a few more years.

      Other than that, keep it real, fight the power and keep exposing those horrible Spotify agents brainwashing us with their propaganda.

    • Anonymous

      “No real songwriter or music publisher or independent artist cares what Ari says”

      Newbs might. So the music world faces a real problem here, given the fact that DMN actually pays Ari for his services.

      Perhaps we need an artist-friendly alternative to DMN, TorrentFreak, TechDirt, etc.?

    • PiratesWinLOL

      It is not like she actually sold a lot, considering the number of fans she has. Also, I would like to see how she how that silly stunt would work for her i Scandinavia alone or in five years from now…

      • Anonymous

        lol, are you still here? Man, I just love what you said about Beyoncé’s new album:

        “it is just some silly arty-farty project, which very few will care about” :)

        The rest is, of course, history:

        A week later, her album proved that musicians don’t need Spotify.

        • PiratesWinLOL

          I love it too, because I was correct again :)

          Only a small percentage of her many millions of fans (13 million twitter followers!) was actually interested in her silly arty-farty project and cared to spend a few dollars on it.

          Not that it matters much though. The big story is the fact that paid MP3 downloads is already declining and that streaming is exploding, which an increase of 103 percent in the United States.

          Sure, you are correct though, that artists don’t need Spotify. They only need if it, if their ambition is to be successful in the years that are coming.

          • Anonymous

            “her silly arty-farty project”

            It made the longest run at No. 1 on Billboard 200 for a year.

            Without… Spotify! :)

          • PiratesWinLOL

            You fail to address the central issues, which is that her success in the dying MP3 market was very limited and also irrelevant. Very few has cared about her silly arty-farty project, compared to the number of people who has choosen streaming as their new way of consuming music in 2013. Really, what is relevant is only that CDs and MP3s are dying, and that consumers want streaming.

          • Anonymous

            “Very few has cared about her silly arty-farty project”

            Oh, I see.

          • PiratesWinLOL

            Good. Finally :)

            Obviously, her numbers are laughable compared to for example the 438 million streams that Baauer got from his terrible song. What matters is the big picture and her nonsens is of no consequence.

  8. Anonymous

    Spotify is just another example of musicians being told to eat shit and like it. Fuck’em. Unless an Indie or DYI artist can show me a bank statement pre Spotify and post Spotify that shows what an amazing increase in their bottom line Spotify has made, there ain’t no way I’m supporting these greedy crooks. Yeah, yeah, sure, they’re loosing money and the pay will increase with more subscribers blah blah blah… That is a bunch of shit! Spotify might not be making money but Daniel Ek sure as hell is.

    I don’t have a problem with streaming but the payout model has got to change. Unlimited music for a set monthly fee is only going to make money for the labels and David Ek and the indie/DYI artists will remain broke and poor. There is no fucking reason why they couldn’t do something like 99 cents to stream an album for a month and $5 to stream for the the life of your membership. Do a straight 70/30 split on each purchase like iTunes and then everyone makes money and the accounting tranparent.

    There is way more potential for upselling and reselling and a variety of possible marketing with something like that. Sure people might bitch in the beginning about having to pay per album or song but in the end they’re gonna go ahead and spend that 99 cents because it’s easier than downloading from iTunes or having to find it on some torrent site.

    Hey Spotify, the PRO’s (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) and the labels already take most, if not all the money from the little guys, but bravo to you for figuring out a way to really fuck the little guys.

    When the new artists realize that they have to just go ahead and “hurt themselves” by not providing new free content for these greedy fucks and stand together, then maybe, just maybe something will change. They can’t just keep streaming all the old catalogs. Somebody has to supply new songs and the people that create those new songs should be paid for it in a reasonably fair and transparent manner.

    • AnotherAnonymous

      A one month membership at Spotify is only 10 euros, I think they could easily bring it up to 20 or more, I mean come on, the demand for this must be very inelastic, especially if they would abandon all the free memberships. Spotify is such a nice idea, I think everyone who likes music will be prepared to pay 20 bucks it they’d know artists would profit. There is so much great music in the world and we want to listen to all of it, of course many will prefer Vinyl and Cd’s, but no one can afford to buy this all. I think Spotify is not meant to replace Vinyl orso, it just gives the listener the ability to listen to music that he likes but doesn’t want to have on Vinyl.
      Tons of people have tried Spotify’s free membership now, abandoning this will certainly lead to an increase in paid memberships, even if the price is higher, im sure this will solve a lot of problems.

  9. Sebastian Wolff

    Really well-written; the last paragraph beautifully sums up how there will never be a single model that’ll work for all. Good thing to keep in mind!

  10. David

    What may make sense for an artist with potential mass appeal might be suicidal for an independent artist with inherently ‘niche’ audience appeal. The arithmetic is simple: to compensate for 10,000 lost album sales it is necessary to get about 10 million track plays on a streaming service, with the current payment models.* For a niche artist that is a lot of plays. If you check out the ‘artist profiles’ on Spotify (which give cumulative streaming numbers for their 10 most popular tracks), most independent artists are a long way short of that.

    *I assume that an independent, self-financed artist gets $5 for an album sale (on iTunes, etc), and half a cent for a single track play on a streaming service. 10,000 album sales would therefore bring in $50,000, which would require 10 million track plays.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah but as streaming grows (actually, it had explosive growth with revenue doubling in a single year), and download continues to decline it will be a lot harder to sell 10,000 albums then to get 10,000,000 streams.

  11. HansH

    “Stop bitching about low ‘per-stream’ rates. They will increase the more users sign up.. Rates will not increase, it has to come from a growing number of streams. As for the rest you are 100% right.

    • Anonymous

      “Stop bitching about low ‘per-stream’ rates. They will increase the more users sign up”

      You’ve said so for years. And nothing happens!

      Meanwhile, Spotify loses money and artists by the hour.

      There are only two ways for an artist to make money from streaming:

      1) Start a streaming service or
      2) Buy major label shares.

      • PiratesWinLOL

        “Meanwhile, Spotify loses money and artists by the hour.

        Whooo, that sounds so dramatic. Now to get back to earth, can you mention 10 important artists who actually left Spotify during 2013? It should be easy with them loosing “artists by the hour”.

        • Jerry Lavoy

          The Beatles and Led Zeppelin don’t allow their music on spotify.
          Granted, these are not exactly current artists, but they certainly would get streamed in numbers that border on the ridiculous. Maybe they have the sense to look out for the little guy so that perhaps one day there CAN BE another Beatles, or another Led Zeppelin? The current state of the music industry makes it unlikely, and streaming services raping artists makes it impossible. Reading down through here i see that U2 got name dropped…uh, they were filling arenas before spotify was a gleam in a corporate skidmarks eye.

    • David

      Not sure if HansH was replying to my comment, but if he was, I wasn’t bitching about low per stream rates*. I just think it would be crazy for an independent artist with a niche audience to sacrifice album sales in exchange for streaming royalties. A sensible strategy for such artists would be to maximise sales to their limited fan base, perhaps through a ‘pledge’ system, and maybe a 3-month ‘window’, before releasing an album to streaming services.

      *I do think that there should be more experimentation with different pricing models, but that is another matter. It would also be possible to have a kind of hybrid window/streaming model, where new releases are available on streaming services, but only with a very limited number of plays allowed during the ‘window’ period.

      • HansH

        @ David I wasn’t talking to you ;) It was a quote from the article.

        @Anonymous I know, but I can’t help that the number of streams doesn’t rise as much as you want.

  12. Joshua Hall

    Remember that there is another model out there – radioairplay.com where the Artist Pays for plays on django.com. When I think of all the pennies that come streaming in from Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, ect….. I say – well at least I didn’t pay for all those people to listen to me for free.

  13. FarePlay

    “Streaming is the future of music”, is a tagline invented by the very corporations who are looking to create a business on the backs of artists. The compensation model combined with the destruction of recorded music sales is not a workable business model for the creators.

    The discovery model that Ari refers to is non-existent for the majority of artists who would be better off developing a local fan base, than pushing their fans to a service like Spotify.

    If artists don’t stand up for the value of their work, who will.

  14. Mark

    It is FarePlay, if I had to go out and buy out dated CD;s I would probably just stick to downloading mp3s for free ;) like I am sure many would, you listen to as much music as you want for 9.99 a month, thats incredible, not only that but music streaming services give back billions to the music industry, so something must be going right with streaming services, I would never go back to CD’s

  15. Reality Check

    for all you streaming services haters, what is your goal? you want to sell CDs? cassettes and vinyl too? do you own a pressing plant or do you make music? if you make music do you want people to hear it and pay you a ‘fair market price’

    my musical budget before subscribing to a streaming service for the year was $0 however, with a streaming service subscription i now spend $120/year Why do i choose to subscribe when i can get it for free? convenience and deep catalogues. welcome to the 21st century.

    • FarePlay

      How perfect. Two people who used to pirate music, commenting in defense of Spotify.


      • Reality Check

        you are making shit up to fit your delusions… radio is free as well as THOUSANDS of online radio stations. so ya.. that’s how far your head is up your ass. i said i didn’t pay for music, you assumed i downloaded it… i subscribe so i don’t have to hear commercials.

        what do you gain by streaming services failing? you’re not pro-artist, you’re ‘pro-fareplay’

        you sound like a wannabe or has been. have a nice life play.

        • FarePlay

          No there’s total BS. You mean you only listened to radio and never had specific tracks you wanted to hear, when you wanted to hear them?

          I don’t believe that for a second. Guilty as charged. Next

    • FarePlay

      Interesting that two individuals who claim to have pirated music in the past are coming to the defense of streaming. Actually, I am not as much anti-streaming as I am pro-artist.

      • Anonymous

        “Interesting that two individuals who claim to have pirated music in the past are coming to the defense of streaming”

        Interesting point, indeed.

        “Actually, I am not as much anti-streaming as I am pro-artist.”

        Same here.

        I’ll support streaming with all my heart if somebody comes up with a model that can finance professional music production.

        But we’re obviously not even close. So the only responsible advice is to stay away from Spotify. People just don’t buy what they can get for free.

        • PiratesWinLOL

          The overall music market in countries where streaming is strongest, is actually some of the few that is growing. One example is Norway, where the overall sales increased with 11 percent in 2013 and streaming was behind 65.3 percent of the total revenue.


          So tell me more about how shrinking markets with a smaller presence of streaming, can better finance professional music production.

    • smg77

      The rabid anti-streamers are people who can’t let go of the past. They fetishize the 90s where bands could put out a CD with one or two decent songs and charge $18 for it.

      Those days are gone and streaming is the future. The consumers have spoken.

      • FarePlay

        You guys lose your credibility every time you use that hackneyed $18. One song model. Pure BS. You are so caught up in this wonderful digital homogenized crap, yet you use these antiquated price points for CDs. Try $10 bucks and if you don’t know anything about music, you may end up with a CD with one good track.

        Give it a rest Pal.

        • Anonymous

          $10 CDs? lol. FarePlay maybe you were buying CDs from a guy selling them from a crate off the street

          • Anonymous

            Sure thing. There is no way you could buy mainstream CDs for $10 in the 90s. Unless they were counterfeit.

          • FarePlay

            I didn’t realize we were talking about the nineties. Then yes, you are correct. And I get why there is so much animosity towards the labels in the 90’s and beyond.

            By then the record people had been pushed out of the business and the accountants and lawyers who replaced them had no connection with the music or the fans. Music became just a business and nothing has changed with the new overlords, technology

            They work everything out with algorithms.

  16. hippydog

    Until spotify (or any streaming service) actually “breaks” a new band, then the ROI (return on investment) is not that high..
    IE: not having your music on Spotify most likely is NOT hurting you that much..
    Whereas having your music on Youtube (Vevo), bandcamp, Itunes, soundcloud, etc etc ARE places that have been known to break new music, so if your going to take a loss, your best bet is to go there..

      • hippydog

        thanks, I havent seen that before..

        Though I think a person could nitpick that it was more the “sean parker” name that broke Lorde then spotify..
        is a band “broke out” when they are well known on spotify but no one else knows of them?

        as per:

        •“Royals” was added to Spotify on March 19th
        •The track was added to the wildly popular Hipster International playlist on April 2nd.
        •On June 10 “Royals” debuted on the alt rock radio spins chart in the US – two months after debuting on the Spotify Viral Chart
        •On June 15 “Royals” cracked the Spotify Top 100 List.
        •On July 9 “Royals” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 – three months after debuting on the Spotify Viral Chart and one month after hitting the Spotify Top 100 List.


        one month after hitting terrestrial Radio its in the top 100.. done.. it broke out.. but it took 2 months of heavy rotation on spotify to get that result..
        ERGO: Radio still has the largest “thats cool” factor over any other format..

        and again.. I would argue that its more Sean Parker that broke the artist, not spotify.. (IE: if Sean Parker was a backer of beats or RDIO instead of spotify, I would bet we would have seen the same results..)

  17. john

    i agree, every streaming service should be looked at as found money that is rescued from the unpaid piracy universe. if you aren’t making enough money from streaming you should be working on building up your catalogue and opening other revenue streams from your music rather than bitching about something that has no fucking chance of changing because spotify already loses 20 million dollars a year. would u like to see them double rates, your royalty doubles for one month and then they go out of business forever and u never see another dime?

  18. GGG

    My mindset at the present time, which has changed somewhat and may change again, is that there is no single set answer. Too many people on here treat everything as black and white, but for this case especially, I think size of band plays into it enormously. Here’s my current conclusions:

    1) Tiny Bands – If you have less than 1K likes on Facebook and no press beyond your friend’s shit blog that gets 20 people a year, it’s probably not worth it. People who know you will buy something out of friendship, sympathy or sense of requirement. Nobody will be looking for your music on Spotify, though.

    2) Moderate but largely unknown – When you start to get to this level, and start to get some smaller blogosphere recognition, you should put it up. This is where people start to see your stuff, will want to listen (if it’s getting good reviews/hype) but most likely not buy it. You’re one of 100 other bands they’ll come across that day. The blog will probably want a single on a SoundCloud stream or something anyway, so have it up on Spotify so you’ll actually get SOME money from people searching around for more.

    3) Hyped Up Indie – One thing I’ve changed my mind about is windowing. Usually bands get hyped up after a record is out, so it may be hard to window that release, but definitely do the next one. However, make it short. You’re still a relatively unknown indie, so the amount of people who will want to buy and/or say “fuck it, I’ll just buy it” will be infinitely less than the amount of people who will see your band’s name, want to check it out but not buy it. The longer you have it off Spotify, the more you’re going to have it pirated or forgotten about.

    4) Smaller majors – I think it’s similar to above. Often smaller major bands get less press than bigger indies since nobody really gives a shit about them, and “hip” blogs don’t want to write about them.

    5) Majors – Window, but for longer. You have the name recognition, money, and exposure behind you to convert potential buyers to actual buyers. But at the same time, there’s literally millions of people who are NEVER going to buy your record that would be willing to stream it. That can add up.

  19. ChrisH

    Conclusion: It’s a free-for-all, find a way to be the last man standing.

    • Ari Herstand

      Kinda how the music business has always been! Welcome to the wild wild west!

      • FarePlay

        Ari, you haven’t been around long enough to have a clue about the RECORD business before your time. Read all you, want I was there.

  20. Dj

    If you love the music, buy it on download for a reasonable fee.
    An “all you can eat” Buffett like Spotify ruins an individual’s identity.
    It’s like the old music clubs.
    It’s for robots not humans.
    Vote with your coin for independent music or subscribe to the majors and get spoon fed agenda.

    Withholding your music from Spotify only hurts Spotify – if a fan gets upset because they don’t have access to you music on Spotify then there’s plenty of fodder for them to consume!

    You article is nieve, you probably never experienced the pleasure of buying music on a fixed media such as vinyl from a place called a shop.

    • PiratesWinLOL

      I don’t get the so-called pleasure of buying music on an obsolete and inconvenient piece of plastic. I just want the music that I like to be available at any time and at any place that I happend to be. Streaming delivers that.

      As for “spoon fed agenda”, that is nonsens too. It is not like Spotify is forcing you to listen to Beyonce or some other garbage like that and there is plenty of options for listening to all kinds of quality music. Much more than in any record store I have even been visiting.

      • Dj

        Hey, guess what? There was a time when you could leave you house, on your own, without a phone with two quid in your pocket and walk in to an independent record store selling independent music supplied by an independent distributor and find music that gives your mind independence. You may tell go your mates about the track and they might go buy it and before you know it the Majors had to sit up and take note of the independent label that believed in the record enough to fork out on the initial costs. But hey, you crack on with your everything’s free shop and see how quickly good music migrates to people who actually listen.

        The musicians and artists who support a Spotify are one of three things (1) Signed to major corp or (2) Part Time (3) Previously successfully Artists trying figure out what’s happened to their royalties and willing to except a cash Advance or Promotion on their back Cat.

  21. dilemah

    No way this guys get our label´s music for less than .0001 cents of peanuts. Spotify is the perfect machine to ‘ripp off’ every single artist in the world, and if those white collar thief’s want to get access to our masters, they need to pay in advance and have a better system to show whatever they do with the financed money they got every month. Spotify have support form the big labels because they good all the money available and they simply split and distribute that money within their major acts, but for indie and upcoming acts there is nothing there.

    And to correct Digital Music News, Lorde did a great job promoting her music since late 2012 at SOUNDCLOUD, we got samples, demos, remixes from her since october 2012, not in Spotify.

  22. FarePlay

    The tide is turning, look at the comment thread. Like piracy, streaming is losing its’ mystique as more time passes and people begin to see beyond the hype. While I may have more positive feelings about the major labels from the sixties and seventies, what happened after that was deplorable.

    The deal with Spotify never should have happened and it demonstrates a lack of faith in the music business by those running the major labels, They bailed on the very artists they were entrusted to represent. “Streaming is the future” is nothing more than a new business model foisted on the public by a few well financed start-ups.

    This fascinating with everything digital obscures reality, the irony being, this is big business intent on making money, whatever it takes. It could care less about this generation that so fiercely defends it and even less about the artists who provide the true value.

      • FarePlay

        You mean “free” streaming is taking off? Free is meaningless. How many free apps have you downloaded and never used?

  23. Romina Jones

    A lot of artist like people are stuck in the “what should be” instead of what is. Like in real estate it’s all about location, location, location. Go where the people are. It is ridiculous the amount of indie artists who compare themselves to Beyonce, give me a break. Look at who your fans or most likely fans are and go there. You have no business model until enough people hear your music.

    • FarePlay

      Really weak Romina. Being on Spotify is like the end of Indiana Jones, when they go into the enormous warehouse and put their valuable crate away. It would be like underpricing your house because you were desperate to make a sale. Are you in real estate?

      Settle for pennies on the dollar and that’s what you will get, always. Even people who work at Walmart protest pay. Why shouldn’t talented artists?

      • Romina Jones

        Some treasures end in a warehouse undiscovered and others are in the national museum and have a ticket price to view. Think about the difference between why an object goes to one location or the other.

        If you are currently using Spotify for discovery, break out or income, good luck. Look up the new app Forgetify.

        Every artist’s strategy will be different, this avenue will work for some and not others. If you can get on your own time and dime enough attention for someone to even notice and follow you on Spotify, it certainly beats paying to play another back-pocket band strategy.

  24. lroosemusic

    Right on, Ari.

    I’m going to see Arctic Monkeys tonight in Detroit. My wife and I will be wearing the t-shirts we bought the last time they were here in 2011 and you better believe we’ll be buying at least one each tonight.

    I heard a single once on SiriusXM, looked them up on Spotify and have been a huge fan ever since. I’ve never purchased one of their albums, but I have all five in a playlist on Spotify and listen to the whole thing start to finish a few times a month.

    They’ve gotten over $500 in revenue from me almost entirely because I’m able to listen to their music on a free, ad-supported platform.

    I know I’m not every user, and there are plenty of people out there that will buy the album if they have to, but many of my favorite bands would be missing out on hundreds of dollars a year from me if they didn’t let me access it the way that worked best for me.

      • FarePlay

        Ari are you serious? You have one person validating your viewpoint and claiming victory? And there is something off with the
        comments anyway. It sounds like a check off list from a benefits page published by Spotify. Now, am I saying that Spotify doesn’t provide opportunities that can benefit musicians, no. What I am saying is the compensation model is terminally flawed and this combined with the destruction of paid downloads and CDs is lethal for the vast majority of musicians.

        Do the math.

        And as far as alternative streams of income, this failed experiment has been going on for 15 years since the beginning of free file sharing and for the vast majority of artists, this is a non starter and the reason we have lost nearly half of our full time working musicians.

        • lroosemusic

          Hey Mr. Fareplay,

          Check their tour schedule – AM was in Detroit and I can assure you I was there. It was an awesome show – they played two of my favorite songs, Cornerstone and R U Mine, during the encore.

          I made a point of saying I am not representative of every listener out there, but rather said I am exactly the type of fan that has a win-win relationship with the artist when Spotify is involved. I also stated that some listeners will go out and buy an album of a relatively unknown band to learn about it. I am not one of them, and I believe I represent a growing segment of listeners.

          Did I mention I found out about the show on the Spotify Discover tab? Did you know it lets listeners know when bands they listen to on a frequent basis?

          The service is a win for the artist and the listener for fans like myself.

          • FarePlay

            I hope Spotify sends you a t-shirt. You forget to mention that Spotify is also helping bands sell merchandise, as part of their plan to support alternative revenue streams.

            Mr, FarePlay guy.

          • lroosemusic

            Haven’t seen the merch ads yet showing the concert dates and venues for the bands I like have caused me to purchase tickets to two shows so far that I’d otherwise have missed.

    • other random person

      hang on, you heard their music, were a “huge fan” but never cared to own any of their music… ok, and you went to a concert in 2011, we’ll pretend that ws $100 for the two of you, and bought, i dunno two shirts each at 50 bucks a pop (trying to overinflate the prices here btw) so that’s another $200… just somehow trying to imagine those numbers are right, that’s still only $300. did you just send them another $200 in the mail out of guilt because you like them so much, instead of just buying their music? …or did you think that your streaming generated that kind of money?

      spotify’s hi-end streaming payout (according to them is .006 per stream. $300 divided by that is 50,000 plays (how many songs you’d play to reach that) now you said you had 5 albums of theirs, figure that’s about 50 songs or so, so that means you’d need to listen to all 5 albums all the way through 1000 times for spotify to pay them 300 dollars. oh you saved me the effort and said you listen to them all a couple times a month, so that means about 100 streams a month. so… in the last 4 years you’ve possibly listened to about 5000 songs of theirs, exagerrating the numbers in your favor. (100 a month, 1200 a year for four years, and 200 extra streams just because.) that actually paid them $30 over the last 4 years, if you actually listened to their music every day for at least 30 minutes for the last four years. so that’s kind of cool, theoretically you ARE supporting them, a little. just not nearly at the numbers you think you are. otherwise you need to listen to their music about 2 hours a day, every day, without fail.

      • lroosemusic

        Hi Random Person,

        It’s a bummer that you and Mr. Fareplay guy immediately assumed I was lying instead of accepting that there are indeed scenarios where Spotify is the difference between earning revenue from a fan and earning zero. Again, all listeners are not created equal, but this is my scenario.

        You seem surprised that many listeners don’t like to pay for the music they enjoy, which is odd considering that nearly every debate on this site revolves around getting revenue from your music because free is so easily accessed by the listener.

        Before Spotify and the other streaming radio services, I pirated all my music. I still do when I need to get my hands on a file to rip to a cd to play in my car. I do not pay for recorded music and never will. Not even for my favorite bands. I’m just being honest. The numbers since Napster seem to indicate I am not alone.

        You want to split hairs on how much money I spend when I see these guys? Okay. Add the order below to the $90 I spent on two t-shirts and I’m just under $300 per show. Should I have said $600 instead of $500?

        Order #: 76140844 | Order date: 11/26/2013
        Arctic Monkeys at The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit, MI
        Wed, 02/12/2014, 6:30 p.m. EST
        (Event time subject to change – Check local listings)
        Mezzanine 3 | 2 tickets
        Row A | Seats 1, 2
        Ticket features: Aisle
        Billing info
        Price per ticket: $91.20
        Quantity: x 2
        Subtotal: $182.40
        Service fee: + $18.24
        Delivery services: + $4.95
        Order total: $205.59

  25. JTVDigital

    Spotify is the second biggest digital revenue stream after iTunes for labels, distributors, artists…etc. worldwide.
    So yes, withholding music from Spotify only hurts you. Period.

    • R.P.

      finally, and article, and comment with some sense. it’s logical.

    • PiratesWinLOL

      That is true and the reason why almost nobody is doing it, outside the dreams of Mr. Anonymous.

    • How Hard Is It To Understand?

      Spotify may be the second biggest digital revenue for the Labels and the Distributors but you should have stopped there. It sure as hell is not the second, third, forth, or even fifth biggest source of revenue for Indie or DYI artists (you know the ones creating new content) and that is simply not a sustainable model for streaming. Eventually the serious working independent artists will pull out of Spotify and what you will have left is the majors old catalogs and the bedroom hobbyist releases. Oh sure it will be sustainable until the IPO is offered and all the fat cats make their cash selling the “next big thing” but eventually the new CEO will have to figure out a way to get new artists that people actually want to hear and those artists are going to not just want, but need to be compensated in some way that allows them to actually earn a living. I’ll say that last part again, artists not just want, but need to be compensated in some way that allows them to actually earn a living.

      I agree that streaming is hear to stay, there is no doubt about that and nobody is wishing it would die. ALL WE ARE SAYING IS THE CURRENT METHOD OF COMPENSATION IS NOT SUSTAINABLE GIVEN THE FACT THAT NEW CONTENT WILL BE NEEDED. Somebody has to pay for it. Those of us who make a living writing and performing our own material cannot do it selling merch alone. Do any of you people that think we’re just bitching have any idea how much it costs to do even a “low budget” tour with 5 people in a van?! I’m not talking tour bus which isn’t even close to in the budget for most independents. You can’t tour and pay your bills on merch alone (unless maybe you’re one of those guys that plays alone with a looper). There has to be some revenue from the sale of music itself.

      I think streaming is potentially a very good source of revenue. It’s just that someone has to figure out a way to get more of the subscribers money into the pockets of the content creators and less into the CEO and labels pockets. The artists aren’t asking for a god damn hand out, we’re just trying to say we’re getting fucked over and going broke and sooner or later your gonna have to acknowledge that OR be happy with what the majors and the hobbyists feed you. As Ari said “PERIOD. Game Set Match”.

      • JTVDigital

        Ahum…how to say this….”Spotify is the second biggest digital revenue for the Labels and the Distributors”, it means it is the second biggest digital revenue stream for artists who are signed with these labels.
        Who pays the royalties to the artists? The labels (or digital distributors for unsigned ones).
        If you look at the top 10 selling digital services in the world, with a split per territory, Spotify appears twice (USA and Sweden). Then you have iTunes (6 times), Amazon and Google Play.

        • How Hard Is It To Understand?

          …and your probably one of those people that think Reagan’s trickle down economics is good for the middle class and poor. Between Spotify’s dirty deal with the majors and their weighted payout (which again favors the labels) the vast majority of the money either NEVER REACHES THE ARTIST or because of the weighted by market payout pays ridiculously low for anyone not signed to a major and also conveniently for Spotify makes it near impossible to figure out where the money actually goes and who is making what.

          Here is yet another example (from another website) that illustrates the point that the payout averages gleaned from Spotify’s explanation of how they pay just doesn’t add up.

          “Also, if Spotify’s per-stream revenue generation data is accurate, a rights holder should make between $6,000 and $8,400 on 1 million streams. In June, David Lowery revealed his financial earnings from streaming services. He owns 40% of the Cracker song “Low”, which had 116,200 streams on Spotify, netting him $12.06. If my math is correct, that means 100% of the song earned $30.13, and 1 million streams would have garnered about $260. I admit I might be missing something, but the numbers don’t seem to add up.”

          $260 for a million streams is a fuck of a lot less than the bigger major label artists are getting for a million streams. In the end this will have to be changed to be more transparent or the new up and coming artists will have virtually no choice other than to pull out of streaming services that can’t or won’t pay fairly. We simply can’t afford to not be paid for the music. That doesn’t mean that it has to come direct from the consumer but it does mean that it has to come from somewhere.

          Seriously why is it so hard to understand that musicians are complaining because there is actually a problem here. It’s not just lazy musicians complaining because we didn’t make a million dollars. For most full time working musicians merch sales simply cannot fill the void.

          Instead of defending the very people don’t care about you or the music, the people that exist only to make money off the backs of those of us who do care about you and the music, why not stand with us and help make some changes that will allow all of us to keep writing and enjoying new music?!

          Oh that’s right, we should just be lucky that you folks aren’t stealing the music via torrents sites. Well buddy, that “found money” ain’t going where you think it is. For most of the musicians it’s just somebody else stealing from us.

          • GGG

            So….you’re complaining about what labels pay artists and blaming it on Spotify. How does that make sense?

          • JTVDigital

            Yes that is what all the ‘moaning artists community’ is doing. They blame Spotify or other retailers for what their labels pay them.
            It’s not like there were hundreds of articles explaining how the business work…some people just do not want to understand and prefer blaming somebody else.

  26. Bob Spring

    Shame on you for this! ! ! I haven t gained any new fan and no namable money earned. 6000+ streams = 0$. I bet spotify paid you more then this for your post. Shame on you.

  27. JohnnyRockU

    The above noted musicians who are down on Streaming probably either USED to sell alot of records back in the day and just dont understand its not happening like it used to or their music is actually pretty shitty and they just are in denial about that…issue itself.. If they truly rock.. they will embrace the streaming, understanding that with a bit of PR, it is gonna get them exposure, plus i would guess they would make a bit more money if people were actually demanding their bands music specifically on streaming services…
    I dont steal music but i wont buy it on itunes unless I really like it !!!

  28. JohnnyRockU

    Im a musician, huge music fan, disapointed in XM Hard Rock & Local FM radio Programming, shitty major Label acts being pushed upon us..BUT VERY inspired by Pandora, SPOTIFY, European Hard Rock Metal Scene now starting my own online Hard rock Radio Station, getting my 24 Hr program on FM terrestrial Radio …. Not interested in selling ads.. Im interested in helping expose people to artists they may not hear otherwise…
    Im not happy that the more people listen to my internet radio channel (is not up and running yet but the 24 hr 7 day a week programming is nearly complete) i have to pay all this royalty BS…Trust me I will only play major label hard rock acts songs unless they really rock.. Im ont interested in paying royalties on shitty songs the Labels try to push upon the public.. The reason HARD ROCK AND METAL is so unpopular is due to the shitty music that has been in that scene for a while.. luckily its improving alot lately not to mention European acts are running circles around the Americans in this genre…I will tell you SPOTIFY / PANDORA / ITUNES has helped me find bands that otherwise none of us would have even known about..

  29. JohnnyRockU

    I do see the point of the above artists who appear to be signed to Major Labels and are not making any record Sale money and are pissed about how the Majors are selling out to the Spotify.. sad for them that they are in those deals but the Labels have already read the writing on the wall…
    Lets hope the reimbursement royalty systems get adjusted to modern times and situation to be more fairer to everybody

    If your not tied to some major label deal, and If your band is getting alot of listens on Pandora.. no matter how much you are making on the play, my take is that you should be first off proud of your project, thrilled, happy and thankful that your getting that exposure !!!!

  30. JohnnyRockU

    Attention All Streaming Haters..
    You think that is bad.. what are you going to do when Terrestrial Radio stops playing your shit cause they cant afford the royalties ??

  31. JohnnyRockU

    I wonder what these Streaming haters think about XM ?
    I like XM as a consumer..Im cant listen to Octane exclusively but its pretty good compared to most local Rock FM… Im fine tuning my channel based like Octane but adding some other power Metal, European Sleaze metal, Goth Metal etc..occaisional classic metal but we can leave that to the hair channel on XM..

  32. buh

    “Forcing fans to use one platform to consume music is arrogant and destructive.”
    he said, after already stating that he will cease his investigation about a band he admittedly enjoyed, solely because they don’t use the one platform that he uses to consume his music. fuckin’ straw man argument.

  33. Don Nova

    I get paid all the time from spotify. ovatronics.com

  34. Onin

    I am a premium spotifyer, I can’t find Tool in spotify. Okay I will just download there songs via torrent. Way to go Tool!

  35. GetRid OfAri

    Terrible misleading article once again from Ari! Hey at least it’s working for him…
    “Pulling music from Spotify and forcing people to download removes choice. It encourages piracy or worse, apathy. Spotify, like iTunes when it first launched, gives people a quick and easy way to legally consume music (and get artists paid).”
    Taylor Swift may be more of the exception than the rule, but she just proved everything in that paragraph false. Where is the data to back up anything said there? It’s obvious that Ari believes in the streaming model, but why? There’s no evidence that it will actually work at all. SMDH.

  36. Rick H.

    I would like to point out that taylor swift pulled her 1989 album from spotify and other streaming services and sold 1 million plus albums the first week it was released. She stated in an interview you just have to make music worth buying. I believe her too. nobody should work for free so why do you expect musicians to?