M. Shadows Calls Out Spotify for Withholding Fan Data—”They Don’t Tell You Who’s Listening to Your Music”

M Shadows calls out Spotify for withholding fan data
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M Shadows calls out Spotify for withholding fan data
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Photo Credit: Locales Only Podcast

Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows doesn’t mince words about Spotify on a recent podcast appearance. He calls out how the DSP withholds crucial fan data from artists and how the company makes music consumer-friendly at the expense of artists.

Spotify is becoming a one-stop shop for everything audio—from your favorite music to podcasts and even audiobooks—if you listen to it; Spotify wants it. That consumer-friendly approach is great for getting music out to the masses, but it does very little on the backend to help artists who depend on the platform.

“Spotify has a great system for the user,” M. Shadows says. “[Consumers] pay $9.99 or $14.99 a month and they get all the music that’s ever been created for virtually nothing. Now on the other end, the artist has nowhere else to have their music listened to,” he continues. “You’re not gonna go on a road trip and go to every individual artists’ website to pull up their latest record and stream from there.”

“It’s kind of like when you put an AAA movie out—but it’s not on Netflix or in theaters. Who actually goes and sees it, then? That’s the way consumerism is in America, we want ease of use.” M. Shadows criticizes Spotify’s failure to capitalize on that direct connection with fans, instead describing the DSP as a label sell-out.

“[Spotify] has ease of use for the consumer, but what they don’t do is—I don’t know the last time I saw someone wear a Spotify shirt around. I’ve seen Metallica shirts, Avenged Sevenfold shirts, and Taylor Swift shifts—but what they don’t do is tell you who is listening to your music. They don’t let you reach out to them. They don’t let you perhaps upsell them things. They’ve basically sold the company in return for catalog from the labels.”

“Now you have all these old record label deals that most people are locked into, getting a royalty on that percentage that Spotify pays you. Most bands are getting about 24 cents on the dollar. So it’s not Spotify really, the payment; it’s more of the labels and having bad deals.”

The discussion over Spotify’s royalty rates has kicked up in recent months as the DSP introduced changes this year that went into effect April 1. One of those controversial changes is that a song must receive at least 1,000 plays in a 12-month period to be eligible to receive the royalties it generates.

As for the direct-to-fan pipeline from Spotify—the company has partnerships in place to showcase live ticket sales from partners like Ticketmaster and Eventbrite. It also has a design tab aimed to let artists sell their merch to fans—so Spotify is listening to complaints.