From The Plastic Hallway

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Subtraction By Subtraction

November 20, 2015

"I'm scared of audiences.” ~ Adele

 

Adele’s new album dropped today, but I will not be hearing it.  Why?  I’m a Spotify user. 

 

I do not endorse Adele’s boycott of Spotify, and do not think it’s the right thing either for her, or for the music business at large.  I view it as a lost opportunity.

 

What if, instead of saying “no” to Spotify, Adele had found a way to cooperate?  Make an offering that consumers couldn’t refuse while embracing the popularity of streaming?

 

 

For example:

  • What if Spotify offered streaming previews of Adele's record that could have been unlocked for a premium price?

  • Or if Spotify offered the ability for 25 to be streamed only by premium subscribers?

  • Why not offer a limit on plays for 25, with more plays to be “unlocked” by paying an extra buck or two?

Instead of cooperating with Spotify and figuring out a way to swim with the current, the music business is, once again, choosing personal greed over progress.  Many are celebrating Adele’s decision to withhold her album from Spotify and I do not understand why.  Who wins?  The record company?  Publishers?  Certainly not music fans.  

 

And certainly not artists.  Adele is in the top one percent of one percenters: if you are a recording artist and think that you somehow benefit from this situation you just flat-out wrong.  The growth of Spotify is rampant, and all artists should want MORE people using the service, not less.  The recent failure of Apple Music has all but cemented Spotify’s position as the streaming music leader: http://bit.ly/hallway-DroppingApples

 

Sure, Spotify’s payouts are lousy: half a penny per stream to labels/artists, and an absolute pittance to songwriters.

Sure, Spotify is owned in part by the three major labels: 18% of it owned by Sony, Universal, Warner. http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2014/06/11/major-labels-trying-sell-spotify-10-billion-sources-say/ 

 

But the fact of the matter is, Spotify is still the number one streaming music service in the U.S. and it is a shame that its users are being deprived of this great new recording.  Worse, it is a shame that Adele is missing out on all of the myriad ways that Spotify offers music fans an introduction to her new jams.  Spotify offers a truly robust listening environment – and now Adele’s record, at the likely peak of its popularity, will be intentionally omitted from this portion of her audience.  

 

Because cash?  Super.  Thanks.

 

Someone remind me – how did that whole Napster/P2P thing turn out again?… 

 

- JLS

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