The Major Labels Are “Clueless” and “Ruined Every Aspect of Their Business,” Says Arcade Fire Frontman

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…from an interview with Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, published this (Monday) morning by the Independent.  Butler was one of the  original artists involved in the launch of TIDAL.

On the ill-fated TIDAL ‘poor millionaire artist’ media disaster…

“None of the artists knew anything about the PR.  It was a poorly managed launch, but conceptually the thing that we liked about Tidal was that it’s HD streaming quality.”

On TIDAL’s $20-per-month pricing for HD-quality streaming…

“They dictated that Tidal has to cost $20.  The major label music industry has completely ruined every aspect of their business. At every step of the way they’ve had the tools offered to them to create an industry that works, and they’ve completely blown it.

That’s why we never had any interest in signing a contract with one of these companies because they’re clearly completely clueless.”

On that strange feeling sitting with artist royalty…

“It seems silly, for fear of being embarrassed, to not at least sit at the table with Jay Z, Kanye and Daft Punk and talk about art and music and how it’s going to be distributed.”

11 Responses

  1. Rickshaw

    I don’t get the Arcade Fire. I’ve tried – been to several shows; listened to their releases. Not happening. That said, I don’t get the statements from Win Butler above, either.

    • Remi Swierczek

      I am afraid Jay-Z, Kanye and Daft Pank are equally CLUELESS.

      Global limit of sub based streaming is at $15B!
      Why would you invest time and money in venture KILLING MUSIC goodwill.

      It is overdue to convert Radio, TV and percolating STREAMING to primitive discovery based $100B music store!

  2. Gnome Sane

    Who actually is clueless here? Nobody cares about HD. Ask Neil Young and Pono.

    • Name2

      My bedroom listening setup is built around my Kickstarter pono.

      The prices on hi-res downloads are coming down. (Keith Richards’ new one was $14.99)

      But go ahead, pay $1.29 for 3 minutes of music “Mastered for iTunes”. Do it twice, even!

      • ...

        No one cares about hires downloads. It’s not the price of the download, but the price of the equipment it would take to utilize it. Everyone listens to music through $5 earbuds, or car stereo speakers at best.

          • Name2

            Detailed digital audio discussions happen in one of two places these days, and one of them is gamers’ forums. But thanks for your comments, grandpa.

        • Name2

          Someone’s going to have to explain this urge on the part of Internet Music Biz experts to spout on about how “Nobody cares about X” or “Everybody’s interested in Y” or any other flavor of 100% blanket statement in the context of trying to find an actual future for making money in music.

          Apart from the fact that it’s IMPOSSIBLE for these bromides to even be true (or, let’s say, even close enough for rock and roll), the glib dismissals are tiresome, sophomoric, and offer no way forward for people to build niche businesses, or run the occasional Kickstarter, or just pay the rent. The business we once knew was built on people not willing to walk away from building their empires one 45 at a time. Now, everyone’s busy playing armchair Shark Tank.

        • Name2

          Contract-only phone models on the market TODAY from 3 different manufacturers include hi-res playback capability.

          If you wait for boomers to buy new phones to listen to their hi-res Grateful Dead, yeah, I agree, forget about that. But sound is a big deal in gaming. Smart music already is in bed with gaming companies just to get published and making coin. But go ahead — assume that the music business and only the music business will shape the audio hardware buying landscape.

          That sounds like a GREAT bet, if you’ve been asleep for 15 years.