BitTorrent: “The Major Labels Only Care About a Spotify IPO”

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Have the major labels given up on selling music, and instead started praying for a Spotify windfall?

Absolutely yes, according to BitTorrent CEO Matt Mason, who helped to orchestrate the recent Thom Yorke deal and sees little happening when it comes to real music industry monetization. “This [BitTorrent Bundle] album was born out of these conversations we had on how the internet should work for artists: the vision we both share, which is that at present we don’t have a sustainable business model for artists on the internet,” Mason recently told The Guardian.

“Major labels have really given up on selling music, it seems.  Pushing Spotify to an IPO is what most of the senior executives at the major labels are concerned with.”

In other words, that’s not a business model, so until you hatch a real way to make money and get artists paid, stop criticizing this deal.  “That might have something to do with the fact that they own a piece of Spotify, and will participate in that IPO,” Mason sharply attacked.

“But it doesn’t bear any relation to an artist trying to make a living from their work on the internet.”

And what about the part where a vast majority of users use BitTorrent to, uh, rip artists off?  “Should we blame Apple for selling you a laptop? Why not attack the guy who invented streaming or HTTP? People misunderstand BitTorrent and think it’s something just for piracy,” Mason continued.  “If you look at BitTorrent, the stuff you’ll be offered in BitTorrent and uTorrent, our clients…

“If you’re just using our websites and products, there’s literally no way to get any illegal material. That’s not what they’re designed for.”


Image adapted from a photo by Alejandro Hernandez, licensed and modified under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

25 Responses

  1. GGG

    Wouldn’t it make sense to be a bit of both? Obviously any shareholder would love to see a huge IPO, but then what? Execs pocket the vast majority of the money and jerk each other off for a job well done, but they still have a business to run. Presumably streaming rates will rise with a user base big enough to generate a massive IPO, in which case they’d make money moving forward. They are intertwined. So yes, they’d love an IPO but I don’t imagine it stops there.

    • Guile


      There’s a long and a short game there for the labels. They could definitely cash out almost immediately after the IPO, however the platform serves them in the long run since they have sweetheart internal deals for royalties and basically power the entire service with their content.

      Obviously the nature of the agreements probably bind them in different ways, but they won’t be tied to their shares in the same way someone like Ek is.

      There is an aspect of win/win for them here.

    • Anonymous

      Stealing existed b4 the Internet.
      There is no meaning to the internet saying license to steal.
      Billions of dollars in copyright violations, yet those low tech police!….
      That’s fine cause nobody’s copyright is safe and there are many cop jobs.

    • Paul Lanning

      I suggest balancing the story by obtaining comments from the majors. Otherwise you’re just publishing somebody’s speculation about what somebody else thinks, which is kind of useless.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        “obtaining comments from the majors”

        I don’t think that’s gonna happen…

  2. Anonymous

    “what about the part where a vast majority of users use BitTorrent to, uh, rip artists off?”

    Guns don’t kill people, swastikas are just design and — oh wait, this isn’t the NRA, is it?

  3. john

    is this guy fuckng serious?

    bandcamp has the exact same model for years now, no bullshit torrenting required. how is this revolutionary?

  4. Anonymous

    Even if you hate them, they are right. LAMO!! You bet labels are waiting for that artist-free royality payday!!

  5. Remi Swierczek

    They are co-parents of this suicidal, anti-music MONSTER!

    I can understand the blind pride of dumb creator but what are they expecting after this IPO?
    Another IPO for DEAD music business?

    Time to drift Spotify into Pandora mode and convert both to GIGANT music stores.

    • Dave 5000

      Anyone who thinks the music business is dead is obviously not paying attention. There are more indie artists than ever making music and money now.

      • Remi Swierczek

        I totally agree with you. We are living in the most fruitful music times on Earth.

        Considering that inflation adjusted 1999 global recording industry today is worth $56B we should be well above $100B by now!

        As we are, we are SHRINKING to below $14B in 2014. THANK YOU RIAA & LABELS!

        Those guys brag about 500M users and 12 billion tags.
        (one for iTunes or Amazon for every 49 to freeloaders) They never have made a penny and are broke!!!

        Twitter with 200M users and ability to sale NOTHING but few ads IPOed @ over $30B.


  6. BarryCoffing

    When I found out Universal made around $500 million on the beats deal I realized that they are playing a different game. By they I mean big multi national corporations. Be it strip mining for coal or stripping rights and mining the music of artists. Greed is good and just move on to another mountain or video games as the case may be. I agree with Paul and Matt they are just looking for the IPO and the payday.

    Here is what I believe
    1) Indie music still accounts for 20%-25% of the official revenue from recorded music. Given a fair fight of talent against talent I will bet on the people with passion and heart not pocketbooks and procedures.

    2) Music will NEVER die as long as we are here so is music.

    3) Music is NOT free to create so it is NOT sustainable to be giving it away. It is also too important in our lives to be created by just hobbyists.

    4) Most of the carpetbaggers who were in the music business for the fast easy cash have moved. Now it is just those with a passion and a purpose left standing in the rubble. Yea baby it’s all ours again.

    5) There are no real rules in music so we are free to be creative our own business models and create a new music business like gods we are!!!!! Alright I’m a little excited but don’t you feel a little bit like a god when you create? Where there is silence we create sound. From canvas and papers white and devoid of all, we create words, poems, stories and even songs that touch on all three. But in the beginning like god we start with nothing and if we are lucky we look on afterward and see that our work is good.

    I for one am moving forward to create the music business that I want to work in.

  7. zog

    You must be desperate to write something, PLEASE quit complanning and write something constructive your columns getting old.

    • Anonymous

      I thing they are to stupid to take care of themselves. They are just shrinking and shrinking and shrinking and the part goes on! Read some RIAA’s tweets – bunch of pleasant talk about nothing and the boat is sinking with Spotify, Pandora and YouTube plants growing on board.