Find tour dates and live music events for all your favorite bands and artists in your city! Get concert tickets, news and more!

  • Analytics
  • Tour Dates

Op-Ed: Spotify – By Bob Lefsetz

It's gasoline on embers.

Yup, Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich just did Spotify a big favor, they got every music blog and major newspaper to write about the service, the Internet is blazing with this irrelevant story, but if these guys are that mad at the service, is it worth paying attention to?

That's Spotify's problem. The youngsters, who glom up every new social networking service, believe it's irrelevant, for adults at best, and those adults…are so frugal and so afraid of coughing up their Facebook identity that they don't use it either. And then the smug, self-satisfied digerati complain about streaming costs, even though the service allows you to synch four digits worth of playlisted tracks to your handset so it's like you own them and…

That's just the point. Ignorance rules.

Kind of like with the artists themselves…

Read this explanation of Spotify payouts, you'll find it enlightening:

Making Dollars: Clearing Up Spotify Payment Confusion

As for the complaint that catalog plays get as much in payment as new cuts…do Radiohead really want to take less on "Creep"? I don't think so, just ask Brian Message, their manager, who came out against Yorke and Godrich's screed:

Radiohead manager backs Spotify in ongoing Thom Yorke debate

A song is a song is a song. And until recently, catalog music used to cost more at retail! And since everybody's paid by the play, why give new artists a leg up, when it's those who last that reap rewards.

As for major label ownership… I hate to disillusion you, but he who has the desirable asset makes the deal on favorable terms. Kind of like Apple and Verizon. Yup, turns out Verizon is upside down on iPhone payments, by BILLIONS!

Verizon Could Owe Apple $14 Billion Over Insufficient iPhone Sales

Should Verizon be complaining that they pay LG less?

Come on. There is no Spotify without the major label catalogs, that's how they got their ownership position. As for payment per track, this is what has bothered me since Spotify's inception, the lack of transparency. It's all digits, they now even tell you the number of streams tracks have, but as far as delineating every last detail of payment…it's all behind a curtain, exactly the way the major labels like it. They've been underpaying and screwing artists since their inception. Which is kind of why artists believe they're getting screwed by Spotify, because the label is keeping most of the royalties. If you go indie, you get paid more. As for getting paid less per stream… Come on, even Steve Jobs backed down regarding indies and the iTunes Store. Indies now make up a greater percentage of the marketplace than ever before. They're gaining leverage. You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater by pulling your music from the service, that's like an eight year old taking his ball and going home, and one thing about that eight year old…the rest of the kids hate him!

If Yorke and Godrich were smart, and they're not, based on creating this publicity juggernaut that is benefiting Spotify, not the indie musicians they say they care about, they'd be doing "I Want My MTV" commercials for the service. All acts should be doing this. MTV was a failed enterprise before this campaign, but with stars in commercials imploring viewers to call their cable companies and demand the service…MTV blew up.

We want Spotify to blow up.

Yes, we want everyone in America to have a streaming music subscription. We want to grow the pot. But Yorke and Godrich would rather stand on ceremony and deny the future to their detriment.

Most people to this day don't know how Spotify works. We've got to get them to check it out.

Have you used Spotify with Sonos?

Positively mind-blowing.

Or if you haven't got this wondrous equipment, have you been at a dinner party, in a restaurant, talking about a track and…

The Spotify subscriber pulls it up instantly on his or her phone. The rest of the patrons are wowed. You've got to pay to do this on the go. We've got to incentivize people to pay.

Or maybe, like Jimmy Iovine, you try to get AT&T to subsidize your streaming service, MOG/Daisy.

As for iTunes Radio, artists don't want that. Are you kidding me? You want people to be able to play your music ad infinitum. iTunes Radio is a RADIO service, just like it says. Do you like sitting in your car waiting for another spin of your favorite… OF COURSE NOT! But if Yorke and Godrich and their ilk put a dent in Spotify that's what you'll get.

So all you artists, and too often it's wannabes who weren't making any money anyway but are students of the game, start proselytizing streaming services. Subscribe yourself and demonstrate them. Use your power to get your minions to sign on.