Tool is one of the last streaming music holdouts.
Now, there are more signs that the band is rethinking its stance.
Back in 2017, the band was reportedly negotiating terms with Spotify, not to mention Apple Music and other streaming platforms. But little has happened since that point.
At some point recently, both Spotify and Apple Music quietly pushed Tool profile pages. Neither profile pages have any music attached, though of course, the pages would be needed to showcase any upcoming Tool music.
Both profiles have the identical band biography.
Incidentally, rumors have pointed to the band going ‘full 180’ and uploading their entire catalog to various streaming platforms. But that move, if it happens, may also coincide with a new release. The net result would be a burst of publicity and attention for the group, both for older, die-hard fans and newcomers alike.
Either way, Tool has made a serious, decade-plus statement on streaming. Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan once dismissed digital music formats in general as “just this disconnected thing that you can’t touch and feel and experience,” with streaming even less ‘touchable’ than digital downloads.
But these days, there isn’t much music fans can actually touch. CDs are rapidly dwindling, and despite vinyl’s resurgence, total vinyl sales remain slim compared to broader streaming revenues.
Indeed, almost everything has changed since Tool released 10,000 Days in 2006, the last in a string of high-selling releases.
Back then, YouTube was unknown, yet these days, YouTube dominates music streaming. Spotify has more than 100 million paying subscribers, and the album concept has been wildly transformed.
On that last point, Keenan strongly prefers that Tool’s albums be enjoyed front-to-finish, instead of chopped-up into singles. That’s actually been a serious concern since the days of iTunes, or even Napster before it. But these days, it’s almost impossible for an artist to create an album with ordered tracks in mind — and platforms like Spotify have refused to make exceptions.
Meanwhile, Tool may be teasing some new material on its upcoming tour, which kicks off this weekend at the Welcome to Rockville festival in Jacksonville, Florida.
Incidentally, Tool isn’t the only big-name holdout on streaming platforms. Garth Brooks is notoriously absent from platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, while Jay-Z is only available on Tidal (which he co-owns). Others holdouts like Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Led Zeppelin have long since succumbed to the streaming overlords.