The Black Keys: Still Boycotting Spotify After All These Years…

The Black Keys are a huge band.

Huge bands lose a lot of money on Spotify.

Which is why, once again, the Black Keys are withholding their latest album release from Spotify.

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The Black Keys’ earlier release, El Camino (2011), is also not available on Spotify.  Earlier albums, starting with 2010’s Brothers, are available.


38 Responses

    • Chris

      You do realise that article is about Apple, the owners of iTunes?

      • Mike

        Ha. Also this article is a little too early for the display search, considering the album has not yet released and is only a preorder (therefore there should be no content on Spotify)

  1. Me

    Well, first of all, their album isn’t out yet, and Spotify has yet to do any pre-release streaming promotions. But, that being said, Black Keys are one of the most vocal anti-Spotify artists out there. Although, their issue seems to be me more of a personal grudge against Sean Parker than a flat out objection to the streaming model.

    A Spotify boycott here would not be a surprise at all, but can we at least wait until album is actually released before we start calling it that (or at least wait for a statement from the band saying they are indeed boycotting the service).

    • Vail, CO

      Well, we’re probably not gonna see that album on Spotify. They’d be streaming the first single already. Oh and their last album isn’t there.

      • Anonymous

        Uh, “Fever” is available on Spotify. The album isn’t set for release until May and DMN pronounces it withheld from Spotify? Boy, is the reporting on this blog shoddy.

        • jr565

          I think that artists like the Black Keys might still do singles on Spotify, just not whole albums. IF you can stream the whole album that means you don’t have to buy the album. Which means artists lose all their revenue. If it’s just a single it might be enough for people to go out and buy the rest of the album.
          Many artists will just stay away from Spotify altogether.

  2. Shaka Con

    Aside from shutting out Spotify, let’s talk about the new song. Yikes. On first listen it sounds like they’ve been listening to lots of Smashmouth and White Denim. I guess the blues don’t pay the bills.

  3. Lynn S

    That single, Fever, might hit Spotify, though. With El Camino, they did release 3 singles.

    They might do the same again. Plus it is a possibility they’ll release El Camino to the streaming services once their new album comes out. Contrary to what is stated above they have withheld from ALL streaming services, not just Spotify.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Spotify is sort of a proxy for streaming services: usually if it’s not on Spotify, it’s not on streaming service as well. Spotify’s just the 800lb. (or, 363kg) gorilla.

      On the rest, I see a lot of people pointing to the single. That’s fairly buried, so thanks all for showing me that – and fair point. But this article is really about the album.

      • Me

        For what it’s worth, the single wasn’t on Spotify at the time you published this article yesterday. It must have been added today.

        But, since they do have the new single on Spotify, as well as their 3 big singles from El Camino, you can’t call this a full on boycott. They obviously realize that there is some viability to Spotify, and are most likely receiving healthy royalties – They’ve gotten well over 145,000,000 streams so far (and that’s just on their top 10 songs).

      • jw

        The single isn’t buried. Nothing on Spotify is buried. You were just searching for an album that isn’t actually available on Spotify or iTunes. Spotify doesn’t presale anything, so that totally explains why there would be a listing on iTunes & not Spotify. The single was posted to Spotify on Tuesday because new music comes out on Tuesday, so it was treated as a standard release. If iTunes posted it early as a part of their presale, then good for them, but that has no bearing on Spotify. The song went up on YouTube before it even went up on iTunes.

        I respect your argument that larger bands lose money on Spotify (I think counterarguments can be made, but I respect your argument). But this article is outright speculation masquerading as investigative journalism. They probably won’t post the album to Spotify, but if that’s your hunch, just say so. You jumped the gun, & should probably update this article to reflect reality, which is that the statements you made can’t be inferred from the evidence you posted.

        • Paul Resnikoff

          It wasn’t available when I searched for it prior to publication. It definitely doesn’t come up when you search for the album (see above). I’m don’t even think it was coming up when I searched ‘Fever’ itself.

          Now go to iTunes. Search the album, and you get the single. Try the same on YouTube.

          • jw

            It didn’t come up on Monday because Spotify releases new music on Tuesday. If you had searched for Johnny Cash’s Out Among the Stars or Aaron Lee Tasjan’s Crooked River Burning or the Belle Brigade’s Just Because or anything else with a release date of March 25 before March 25, none of them would’ve shown up. That doesn’t mean that some boycott is happening. You should be willing to admit that any of these releases being searchable on March 24 does not constitute evidence that the artist is “withholding their latest album release from Spotify.”

            You can’t compare YouTube & Spotify’s search functionality directly… YouTube’s intent is to include as much metadata as possible because the content is not organized. Spotify’s intent is to only include specific metadata to compliment the built-in organization, & for the sake of clarity. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with their decision not to include parent albums in single release’s metadata, but I’m confident that they’ve thought it through. But what I think mostly is that you, as a journalist, ought to go a little further than simply searching the title of the unreleased parent album in looking for a single.

            And, true, it wasn’t released prior to its release date. But there are no “prior to publication” excuses on the internet. The longer you go without updating the article, the more people you mislead. You’re at fault from the moment it’s pointed out that Spotify has everything that iTunes has, only iTunes had it a day early. For all anyone knows, the rest of the album may show up on Spotify on May 13, the same day that those who pre-ordered the album through iTunes receive their copy. I, personally, don’t believe that will be the case, but that’s pure speculation. Pure. Speculation.

  4. JTVDigital

    Good for them if they have enough money to neglect the income from streaming.
    They could make approx 20-30% more money from royalties, but obviously they don’t need it.

  5. Anonymous

    The single is already on Spotify – album’s not due out until May so it could still appear.

  6. GGG

    Yea, they’re really sticking to Spotify by withholding their new music.

    Using an interesting technique, too, by…putting the new single on Spotify….

  7. Steve Jones

    I just listened to “Fever” from the new BK album on Spotify 15 minutes ago.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      That’s a pretty buried single, but thanks for showing me that deeplink (interesting that if you search for the album, nothing comes up, and if you search ‘Black Keys,’ the single is also not presented in results). And of course, you can find the single in many other places, including YouTube. That’s the free sample.

      I’m looking for the album, which is what true Black Keys fans want.

      • Anonymous

        Okay, so on the basis of what evidence did you arrive at your conclusion that an album not scheduled for release until May is withheld from Spotify? Because you couldn’t stream it several weeks before street date? Just fess up that this was irresponsible reporting. I’m embarrassed for you.

        • Paul Resnikoff

          Sometimes I wonder who’s really commenting here. You can get hung up on a specific related to the single, or you can look at the bigger picture.

          Let’s see:

          The album is getting promoted on iTunes with a dedicated page and pre-order and available single. You can buy it now.

          The album in various premium configurations and and bundles is being promoted on the Black Keys site right now.

          The single was even available on YouTube first.

          The Black Keys last album isn’t available on Spotify.

          Hey, have fun with your single and ‘official release date’. And have fun waiting for the album to come out on Spotify (cross your fingers it comes out on May 13th). The real fans have already taken action, and paid a premium to get the album.

          And that’s the whole point.

          • JTVDigital

            It’s just that when you negotiate an exclusive on iTunes for a release, it is normally not to be found anywhere else.
            The pre-order concept does not exist on Spotify since there is no “order”, no download.
            It is a very common practice to setup a pre-order on iTunes, then when the release date is met, the release appears on other stores.
            It happened also to have, as an exclusive, full length album stream available on iTunes during the pre-release period, I remember it was done for Red Hot Chili Peppers once and maybe a couple others.
            I don’t know any specifics around Black Keys, and you’re certainly right when stating their next album will not be on Spotify (which I personally consider as an outdated strategy), just commenting the pre-orders and exclusivity periods are quite common.

          • DUDE

            You’re not ‘looking at the bigger picture’ dude, you’re being purposefully obtuse. Don’t kid yourself

  8. PiratesWinLOL

    I wonder what these clowns will do, when iTunes open their streaming service.

  9. Anonymous

    Man, this site has really turned into Digital Music Snooze. S.O.S. (same old shit)

  10. john

    hey guess what, my albums that aren’t released yet aren’t on spotify either. all the fucking time wasted making these screenshots and u didn’t even check to see that it’s not out til may?

    • JeffreyBarkin

      Last.Fm is a streaming service that has been playing The Black Keys (and Dan Auerbach) for years, and this London-based service pre-dates Spotify by about 5 or 6 years with over 5 million active users world-wide. The latest album by The Black Keys is not out for over a month, so why this particular story? Is this to help spin their pending release?

      However, regarding Streaming Radio… it has just been announced through a small web-link notice on subscribers’ players that their service will cease on April 28, 2014: Spotify is taking this service over. It seems that CBS Interactive is cutting its loses and bailing… Not sure how it will expect to operate in Canada as Spotify is not yet licensed to operate here (through CMRRA).

  11. totinagretsch

    I’m tired of hearing people bitch if a songwriter doesn’t want to give away their work. How about every band you download for almost nothing comes over to your house to do their laundry for 2 cents a load.

  12. Scott

    When you are as big a band as they are I think it is a smart strategy.

    Put up a couple of singles to stream and promote the new record but not the whole album.

    I would wait at least 3 years before letting a new album stream on Spotify or any other service.

    Before then, if you like it, you can purchase it in all the formats it is available including LP, Digital, CD from various online and brick and mortar stores.

  13. Jeremy

    Well this article may have jumped the gun but it turns out it was correct. The new album isn’t on Spotify and El Camino STILL isn’t on there either. This type of digital temper tantrum by bands doesn’t exactly make me want to buy their albums.

  14. Anonymity

    They earn money when I buy their concert ticket. They will earn my money when they are available on Spotify. But for now I got the album from usenet.
    Silly guys they rather earn nothing than something…. Well their is still hope if they arrive in my region for a concert of course or change their minds about Spotify.

  15. Marsie

    Now there is na alternative against downloading the music industy can’t stop with crying.
    For me it’s Spotify or usenet nothing else.