Home > Uncategorized > Rounding Up to Zero: Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich Depart Spotify

Rounding Up to Zero: Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich Depart Spotify

July 15, 2013

Is it 1999?  Spotify CEO Daniel Ek seems to think so.  In response to Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich pulling their records from Spotify, Mr. Ek Tweeted:  “So far I’ve not seen any cannibalisation.” “So question should be – Why shouldn’t you do streaming?”

Actually–the question is, who freaking asked you and why would anyone care what you think?

The reason that Messrs Yorke and Godrich gave for opting out of Spotify is the one that is most feared by the VCs and those they back–a principle.  You are screwing all of us so screw you.

We all know the problem.  Spotify and its ilk are enriching themselves at the expense of songwriters and artists whose music is their sole product.  Thom Yorke summed it up beautifully:

Make no mistake new artists you discover on Spotify will no get paid.  Meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it.  Simples.

And Katie Otto, owner of Exotic Fever Records, said what we’ve heard many times and bless her for it:

@thomyorke Thank you for saying this. I have a small, indie label, and it is the worst. I try not to use unless bands want it.

The response to low payouts to artists is frequently to blame the labels–since that’s who Spotify actually pays.  Even if you assume an 85/15 split to the labels, a Spotify royalty payout of $0.005 per stream (roughly what Zoe Keating got paid–and she owns her own sound recordings), is still absurdly low before the royalty is split between artist and label.

Attention Mr. Ek: The question is why do you make so much and pay so little?  Why do you depend on antebellum economics to line your own pockets?  Or are you just doing your part in the greatest income transfer of all time?

And attention Pandora:  Once we get the government out of the compulsory license business, you’re next.

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