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back to article Spotify strikes back at Radiohead - but artists are still angry

Earlier this week Thom Yorke sparked widespread debate over the rates Spotify pays artists by pulling his music from the streaming service as a gesture of protest. Spotify has now replied to artists upset by its chickenfeed payouts. A spokesperson for the streaming service told trade mag Music Week that “we're still in the early …

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Catweazel

Thanks for the memories.

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Re: Catweazel

Indeed. And apposite too: "Nuthin' works!"

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Happy

Re: Catweazel

Electrickery!

Happy memories. :o)

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Facepalm

Re: Catweazel

Back in the 80's we had a regular stand-in teacher who used to wear the most awful blue leisure suit to school, spitting image of Catweazel! You can imagine the ribbing the poor bugger took from a group of cocky 15 year olds!

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Go

Green light

“Any music creation is now potentially ubiquitous, for free, as soon as it is made available digitally,”

Fire up the downloaders people, this guys said it's alright. I mean we don't need to worry about the artist losing money, as they're no longer getting it.

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I'm a member of The MMF, and I can say that I don't agree with the statement issued by them!

I'm fully behind Thom on this - the big players are just trying to lock down the music biz the way that they always have. Small artists pay the cost.

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Adapting to the times

Of course artists should be paid for all their hard work they put into music, but just like music as moved from a physical format to a digital format, the primary source of income for an artist as moved from selling the music to PLAYING the music (e.g. concerts). That's where all the money is going to come from nowadays.

There are probably countless numbers of artists out there that think "I'm just gonna write the songs then let the money pour in from the sales while I kick back." It's just not the way the big boys do it.

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Re: Adapting to the times

On the other hand though, the way the music industry at the top has also changed. No longer do they need to spend millions producing a top notch video, nor do they need to spend that much on advertising. There are a lot of successful people who make their money just by posting music on youtube.

Arguably the amount publishers do for artists today has greatly diminished since ye olde days of records / casettes / cds.

I would honestly argue for a tiered system. For the first $x they make the publisher takes the vast majority until their costs are covered. After that the profits are split on a more even keel, giving the artists a better share after publisher risk has been absolved.

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Re: Adapting to the times

Really? Tell that to bands like Steely Dan, who only were ever a studio act for over a decade (they never trusted the sound quality of the live performance to meet their studio polish). Tell that to XTC, who's frontman suffered a nervous breakdown after one album and they never toured again. And countless other examples of studio-only bands that produced great music but never toured.

More importantly, tell that to all the small bands that cannot make ends meet just playing concerts....the only ones that can are fairly large acts. Which is kind of the point of this article - the current schemes for digital only reward acts with large back catalogues, the same ones that can fill large enough venues to actually live off the concert revenue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Adapting to the times

Don't forget to tell the families of the bands who are expected to tour all the time.

In any case, you don't make money gigging until you're already a fairly big band. It's gruelling to go on tour, the lifestyle is not sustainable and even if you are going around the world, you don't actually see it from anything except the inside of a tour bus or identical Travelodge.

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Radiohead? Don't you mean Atoms For Peace?

I realise that the word Radiohead in your title will garner more clicks, but this really has nothing to do with them. Radiohead content is still available.

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Re: nothing to do with them?

Sharing a member surely makes them related.

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Pirate

Time for the artists to retaliate?

Spotify et al should remember how United Artists came into being.

If the like of Radiohead and Pink Floyd decide to not let the likes of Spotify play their music perhaps they should start their own service that pays the artists a lot more $$$$ ££££ etc. If the cost to the subscriber was the same and the artists got more then who can complain, except the likes of Spotify perhaps?

However the likes of Spotify might consider any rival service nothing more than a -->

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Flame

Re: Time for the artists to retaliate?

Starting a new service won't help anyone. The labels are driving this. They are the ones with the exploitative contracts. They are the ones that set the rates that Spotify pays. They are the ones that set the rates that the talent gets paid.

Moving to another service would just recreate the problem.

This is all about how the labels screw the talent.

Spotify is just caught in the middle because the talent is stupid.

A UA for musicians would be a great idea but not because of Spotify.

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WTF?

Re: Aww, poor spotify

If that dick at the top of the company wasn't creaming it it might be possible to agree with you....

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Anonymous Coward

Luckily, I have 60 gb's of music that came prior to Simon Cowells crusade on decent music. I own the entire discographies of Pink Floyd, The Who, Led Zepplin, Rush, Black Sabbath, and at least fifty others. Plus, all the notable singles I collected over the years. I paid for all of it on CD (So I know the artists got paid fairly), then sampled every track at 256K. Let me tell you it's far batter than anything you can get online today and as a bonus, if the Internet is down I can still listen to all of it.

I personally, don't give a faff about modern music which is canned, dreary, and produced by committee. Nor do I enjoy these overnight singing 'sensations' from pop TV shows that last two songs before they vanish only to reappear on Big Brother two years later. Give me strength.

I would rather listen to Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Mozart than FM radio today.

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Anonymous Coward

Nurse, he's out of bed again!

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Personally I prefer Rachmaninioff and beethoven.

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@AC I doubt the artists were paid fairly, remember the Stone Roses being screwed out of CD royalties? The big corporations will always screw everyone and most musicians are too passionate and/or desperate about wanting to play. For me that's the real issue rather than Spotify.

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Anonymous Coward

The dictionary defnition of dreary....

.....mentions Pink Floyd, The Who, Led Zepplin, Rush, Black Sabbath (give me strength!)

You're stuck in the last century. Brilliant music is being made all the time, you just need to find it instead of sitting around moaning. And it's a fuck sight easier to find new music these days than it was 20 years ago.

Luddite.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: The dictionary defnition of dreary....

Heretic! Burn the witch!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Windows

I prefer Brahms and Lizst (hic)

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Mushroom

What a crock of shit!

I have just over 350GB of music, all dumped from CDs to 320Kb MP3s, stuff from Beethoven, through Rush, Motorhead, right up to full on Cannibal Corpse death metal and black metal's Arcturus and Emperor. I still go out and see young bands in clubs, despite being old enough to be their Dad most of the time!

Stop all this fecking bullshit about "modern music being shite", it's not! There are a lot of very good young bands in the fringe music genres that are very heavily influenced by older bands and artists. I can only speak on behalf of my favourite genre Metal but I see so many young bands who are open about the influences from the older acts from Rush, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Saxon, Judas Priest, Metallica, Anthrax, Cannibal Corpse, Slayer. I've heard bands from China, Russia, Argentina, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, the UK, US and from all over Europe that can do a mean Judas Priest cover one minute then shred like thrash demons the next.

About 10 years ago I got very disillusioned about where my music was going, until a mate of mine forced me out and off my arse back to the clubs where I'd spent my youth listening to late 80's thrash and death metal bands. As a pair of old gits we've found so much great music from going out and finding new music being played by kids with nothing but passion to drive them, you know you're getting the real deal not some sliced and diced label cooked nonsense. I've been to gigs where the band have had their parents standing by the bar because they're not allowed to be in the venue without supervision! They played their nuts off for a couple of quid that barely paid for Dad to run them to the gig but by Christ they made it worthwhile and hopefully picked up a few new fans.

I've been to band websites where the band have said you can download the album for free but if you could spare a few quid it would be appreciated, so I listened to one track and if I like it rather than take the piss I paid up a fiver for the album so they know all the hard work is worthwhile.

There is music out there, lots of great music and I'm proud that my couple of quid on the door of some club might not pay for anything tangible in terms of petrol or strings for the bands, it does at least let them know that there are people out here who do care for young bands and want to see them keep the music alive and hopefully that will spur them on.

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Re: @Amorous Cowherder

Hell yes! Very interesting to watch my daughters' generation, there are some sheep-like followers of the ordure spewed out by Simon Cowell and his odious ilk, but there are also some true, grass-roots rock enthusiasts, some of whom have given me some great leads on new bands to go and see, whilst still appreciating all the old classics.

Amongst my eldest's friends, I think Planet Rock is the most listened-to radio station. Got to love it, really.

GJC

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Anonymous Coward

I have absolutely nothing constructive to add other than that I chortle heartily every time technology finds a way to fuck the music industry. 99% of the people involved are parasites, in the digital age, we really need these middle men any more?

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Well, to a point, Lord Copper.

I was mulling over this very subject the other day, and I came to the conclusion that there has never been a better time to be in a small band, at least if you have some musical talent and creative flair.

What drove me to this conclusion? Well, I went to a gig. The Temperance Movement, reasonably new bunch just about to launch their first full album. Excellent gig, and sounds like it should be a cracking album, however that is not my point. TTM came to my notice the traditional way, got a bunch of plugging on a radio station and some advance plays of their album.

No, what got my attention was the support band. Black Wolf, also excellent. So, when I got home, I fired up a web browser, searched out their home page, found that they were using crowd-funding or whatever it's called this week to fund the release of an album, listened to a few samples, and put my hand in my pocket to buy a copy, for delivery some time in the near future (not much of a risk, as the funding target had already been met). Now, this is a band based 120 miles from my home, that I happened across a gig 200 miles from home. Two decades, or perhaps even one decade, ago that gig would have been the first and last I ever heard of them.

Add to that the availability of excellent and (relatively) cheap recording and mixing equipment, and it seems to me that new bands are in positions of great power. If, as I say, they have some musical talent and creativity, which is by no means guaranteed.

Of course, all the above has a flip side, that there could be choppy waters ahead for the big music companies. Boo hoo, lads, boo hoo...

GJC

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Re: Well, to a point, Lord Copper.

I too have great hopes for a more crowd-funded approach to financing artists in the future. Ideally, once the work gets appropriately funded and then actually created, I'd prefer to see it made available for free - which would solve the...erm... undesired-distribution problems the current model has - but I'd be fine with a low later price as well, as long as it went directly to the creators. Granted, my preferred model would not allow anybody to reach current-rockstar-levels of wealth, but that's actually a feature not a bug in my view, and frankly I have a hunch that it's a monopoly of very few people even today - everybody else might actually end up better off this way. This sort of thing is already in motion, pioneered by sites such a Patreon, which lets you secure an arbitrary but steady trickle of financial support to an artist as long as they keep creating things you like: a sort of voluntary, flexible form of subscription if you like. It remains to be seen if this sort of thing gets embraced (by both sides involved) or not. I for one hope it does take off...

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Re: Well, to a point, Lord Copper.

and now, due to the extra voice that people get from access to the internet, via word of mouth I now have two new artists to go and check out, who in turn I may (if they are good enough) pass on to others.

Thanks, I've been after some decent new music for a while

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Re: Well, to a point, Lord Copper.@ Geoff Campbell

This has been an opinion I've held for some time (and occasionally put forward here). There is no reason whatsoever that any band these days needs to be in thrall to the record companies. No longer do the vampires in silly suits hold the keys (recording equipment and distribution channels) to getting music out there where people can enjoy it, and possibly pay for it. There is absolutely no reason in the 21st Century to hand over lots of money to tits who can't do anything but ride on the coat-tails of the musicians.

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and a “premium” for new music.

Wtf, why a premium until they have proven their ability, creativity and enjoyability.

People forget, maybe never knew, that the likes of the Beatles slogged their guts out for years 4/5/6? before they even charted. Granted they did OK thereafter.

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Joke

I make shit music which is available for free at a well known "cloudy" "sound" website that dosnt even work properly half the time - I wish I got 7 cents for every play - id have ooh maybe £40-£60 by now - not bad for three years work! </sarcasm>

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In two hundred years time...

... music historians will look back at the brief period around the turn of the 21st Century when it was possible for musicians to make a living from people paying to listen to pre-recorded music, and how when technology allowed the music media itself to be essentially costless, the music industry that had been built up around this model desperately tried to defend the business model rather than dealing with the fact the model was irreparably broken.

By that point it will be taken for granted that musicians make their money from live performances, and that making recordings of their music available for free is just common-sense marketing unless it is for commercial gain, in which case a fee would be due either on a per-play basis or by a fixed fee for unlimited usage.

The payment per listener per play on Radio 1 is £0.000005940594059 (£60/10,100,000). It makes the streaming services payment per listener per play of c.£0.00x positively generous.

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WTF?

The artists may be paid a pittance but I doubt their owners are

"the recording royalty is returned to the record company and those details are under NDA"

My teenage son uses Spotify all the time now that he is in a city with fast internet. I am sure the very notion of 'owning' music will disappear quite soon due to such streaming services. Instead of manipulating millions of impressionable teenagers into parting with cash to 'buy' songs, pop singers will now have to deal with streaming services, apparently largely owned by their own record companies.

"Some of the world's largest music companies are among the owners of Swedish streaming music service Spotify, with the record labels buying their shares for a pittance, according to financial documents obtained by Computer Sweden" -- PCAdvisor - 2009

And try this for a discussion of vested interests: will-artists-be-paid-if-spotify-goes-public

Same old criminals collecting the dues then. And all for an investment barely more than the cost of a new tea trolley. Despite the deceptive headline, Spotify as such is not the artist's enemy here.

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Pirate

Another thought...

It must be quite easy for someone to write a macro to request plays from Spotify, and generate a continual income for themselves, I would have thought. Might require some interesting obfuscation, perhaps using commercial cloud services, to hide the activity from casual observation.

GJC

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Re: Another thought...

It's even easier for Spotify to identify your macro and cap plays per subscriber. Even if one subscriber plays a song 40,000 times, that's still a small portion of a tenner in a month going back in royalties. To really rig the system you'd have to hack Spotify itself - which is fraud.

You're assuming that Spotify has incredibly stupid techies is - they're not stupid at all.

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Re: Another thought...

Not to mention a free account has a limit on number of plays of any given song. You'd have to pay for a number of premium accounts to really generate any income, and even then the returns would be dwarfed by the subscription fees!

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Re: Another thought...

and dwarfed also, according to the article, by the electricity cost of running such a program.

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FAIL

Re: Another thought...

Ah, yes, the heat must be getting to me. I completely forgot that each request would be linked to a subscriber ID :-)

As you were, then...

GJC

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Re: Another thought...

As an aside they've dropped the 5 play per track limit on free accounts, instead now there is a 2.5 hr allowance per week which can roll over to a max of 10hrs. The rest of your post still stands tho... :-)

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Not that bothered about this story, but...

...the picture just prompted me to buy a copy of Catweazle from eBay. Haven't read that book for about 20 years!

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I don't see how this makes Spotify the villain. Spotify (or Pandora) don't pay the artists directly, but they pay a sort of union that then splits the money between artists and rightsholders (aka, labels) at rates imposed by the copyrights watchdogs.

I still hope one day some artists will grow balls and stop selling music rights to labels, you sold your rights, now you have to share the income. Keep the rights and you'll have your income from online services double over night.

Physical media is being sidelined, folks.

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Y'know, I just find it hard to see how Spotify is at fault here. I'm not even sure they've posted a profit yet. Maybe they're being made the scape-goat for artists' distrust of streamed music services.

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What exactly is those artists problem?

They hate it when people pirate their music and they don't get paid.

They hate it when people legitimately stream their music and they do get paid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What exactly is those artists problem?

No:

They hate it when people pirate their music and they don't get paid.

They hate it when people legitimately stream their music and they get sod all.

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Re: What exactly is those artists problem?

Maybe with the abundance of music that artists are producing now, music isn't worth what it used to be.

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