back to article Taylor Swift dumps Spotify: It’s not me, it’s you

Taylor Swift's record company has removed her entire catalogue from Spotify, becoming by far the most popular artist to snub the streaming service. Spotify rarely responds to artist snubs, but snapped back with a cringeworthy blog post begging her to return. It's acutely painful timing for Spotify: the company's IPO is likely …

  1. EddieD

    Hmm

    "Taylor Swift's record company has removed her entire catalogue from Spotify, becoming by far the most popular artist to snub the streaming service."

    A wee bit of a sweeping statement there surely - AC/DC have sold over 200 million records (Back in Black has sold more than 40 million copies), which is a tad more than Ms Swift, and they still sell out stadia in minutes...then there's Pink Floyd...Led Zeppelin...

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      Zep have been on Spotify for some time now.

      1. EddieD

        Re: Hmm

        Really?

        Mea culpa... It wasn't when I had an account

    2. Purple-Stater

      Re: Hmm

      Perspective: Lifetime record sales, and current concert sales, are rather immaterial in this context. It's the current annual sales of new media that count, and Taylor Swift is at the top of that heap.

      AC/DC's last album, Black Ice (which I own myself), in 2008 sold 6.5 million copies worldwide. Taylor Swift's album (personally, I own nothing from Ms. Swift) from 2008, Fearless, has sold more than 8.6 million copies worldwide. Her two albums since then have sold an additional 12 million copies, and another album on the cusp. Arguably, today, Taylor Swift is significantly more valuable to the music industry than AC/DC; especially considering that she is still at the beginning of her career. (Though I'd be more than willing to bet that her lifetime sales will never reach the level of AC/DC.)

  2. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    Not got a f**king clue...

    So, instead of getting paid for your crap - don't even get me started on 'Rare stuff is valuable' (Yes, it is - your pop however is rare as pig shit on a pig farm) - You will now get it torrented in stead. I think 2003 called and wants it dumb people back.

    One thing the article has right is pop people need money quick before they do a Britney Spears...

  3. Test Man

    "between 70p and £1.20"

    But that's it though, once you have the sale that's all you're getting, even if the person repeatedly plays it a million times. Whereas with streaming, you get money with every single play of the song.

    Has anyone actually worked out the average total earnt from an average song via traditional methods vs the average total earnt from an average song via streaming within a fixed period, say a month? Reason I ask is because even though streaming yields typically far far smaller per song, it's possible that the total amount of plays will net the owner a similar amount regardless.

    1. Les Matthew

      "But that's it though, once you have the sale that's all you're getting, even if the person repeatedly plays it a million times."

      Or they could actually get up off their arses and play more concerts. Or is that just a bit too much like hard work?

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > Has anyone actually worked out the average total earnt from an average song via traditional methods vs the average total earnt from an average song via streaming within a fixed period, say a month?

      Presumably Swift's management have done exactly that calculation and have decided that Spotify would canabalise new album sales - so they are going to sell the album through normal channels for a year or so then allow it to go on Spotify and try to get some of the per play revenues that another commentard referred to.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Whereas with streaming

      If this statement from El Reg is factually accurate:

      One estimate of Pandora's statements was that one million plays yielded the songwriter as much as they'd get from selling one T-shirt.

      There's no way the the streaming revenue will EVER match the upfront 70p and £1.20 (times a million albums), even if it is over your lifetime.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Whereas with streaming

        "There's no way the the streaming revenue will EVER match the upfront 70p and £1.20"

        They didn't claim that. It was about the songwriter's share, which is a small percentage of the street price (and ~1£ per song definitely is a street price for CD tracks).

        1. Tom 13

          Re: It was about the songwriter's share

          So are you claiming songwriters shouldn't be paid at all? Because even if the song writer is only getting 1% of that share, and the "singer" is getting the other 99%, that means the singer is getting the T-shirt money for 99 T-shirts instead of only one and still at per ONE MILLION SONGS. That's not a heck of a lot of money. Certainly less than they'd make selling T-shirts at a concert of 10,000 people.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

            Re: It was about the songwriter's share

            "So are you claiming songwriters shouldn't be paid at all?"

            Not claiming anything like that. All parties involved should get their fair share. Obviously.

            It's the calculation of shares and different interests that are so tricky. Different payment metrics just cannot be directly compared - by album, by track, per play (either counting clicks or counting minutes), monthly fees, various lump sums that may have been used in contracts. It's apples and oranges all over again.

    4. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      I wonder if that pricing disparity will encourage artists to write music that people want to listen to more than a handful of times.

      1. P. Lee

        >I wonder if that pricing disparity will encourage artists to write music that people want to listen to more than a handful of times.

        Who thinks a good product is all you need? Its all about the marketing and the advertising and you have to make all the money you can before Cowell soaks up all the media space for the next addition of Britain's got no x-factor. Do you really thing 1D would get where they are today on their musical merit?

        Yes, you need a reasonable product to be long-lived, but the whole point of the pop industry is to churn. They need one-hit wonders they can take advantage of for their first contract but who won't interfere with next season's offering. Besides, there's only so long you can listen to high-energy bright/loud stuff before it leaves you feeling tired.

        Unlike "classical" which has generally stood the test of time.

    5. Anakin
      Facepalm

      I did the math for Sweden when another famous artist quit Spotify

      An artist played in Swedens most popular radio show "Sommar" get about 0,00001 SEK or less for every listening.

      On spotify they get 0,02 + 0,05 SEK for every listening.

    6. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      I think the point is that even if you try and calculate the royalties per song on an album, if a person buys an album, you have their money. You won't get any more if they play every song 1000 times and you won't lose out if they don't play a single song. It also means that as long as you know you have a few good, commercial songs on an album, you can be a little less mainstream, and a little more experimental with the rest. Do it right, and you may come up with an acknowledged classic. IIRC, this is pretty much how Bohemian Rhapsody came about.

      With Spotify, you will get more for SOME songs that people like but there may be a lot of songs you don't get money for.

      I'm not specifically arguing against spotify here (on the contrary, I like the service, and I think it can help people discover new music), I am actually comparing any system that sells or streams music by the track with buying albums.

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Whereas with streaming, you get money with every single play of the song."

      Aka the radio royalties model - in which reaching one million sets of ears results in royalties insufficient to buy even ONE t-shirt.

      Radio play gets 2 copyright royalty payments - songwriting and mechanical - of which the mechanical royalty goes to the label, to be paid to the artist. (songwriting royalties are usually handled by a parallel system which tends to be much more efficient and in some areas of the world, the songwriting royalty outfit handles both payments, then disburses to the labels - radio stations like this as it's much easier to deal with)

      What's of more concern is how little of what Spotify pays out eventually gets paid out as royalties - bearing in mind that most label contracts charge 100% of all costs ("salaries", recording, mastering, publicity, touring, etc etc) to the artist and expect them to be repaid (with interest) from artist royalties.

  4. John Lilburne

    I've said before ...

    ... and it either got heavily downvoted or rejected, that those generating content should withhold it from Google and the like. A content strike may be the only way forward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've said before ...

      Google will just go Meh and it will be the artist that give in 1st.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I've said before ...

        "Google will just go Meh and it will be the artist that give in 1st."

        Anyone who disagrees on this should look at http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/tv-history/music

        "In 1986 TVNZ took all music shows off the air following a dispute with record companies, who were demanding payment for video clips that were becoming increasingly expensive to produce. TVNZ refused to pay to screen them on the grounds that this was ‘a form of sales promotion’.

        The dispute was resolved by the end of the year and the shows returned to air."

        Where "was resolved" means "after 3 months of no music videos on TV and plummeting sales, Michael Jackson's Thriller video was premiered on prime time TV at full commercial advertising rates. 10 days later the record companies dropped all demands and begged to have their videos back on air"

        It was made abundantly clear that record companies need media exposure far more than media needs record companies. The problem is that lesson needs to be periodically repeated.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I've said before ...

      > A content strike

      Aka, "no content" and get a paying job instead.

      Frankly its sounds like an idea that could come out of a meeting of the Communist Party.

  5. DropBear

    Erm....

    ...who the heck is Taylor Swift?!?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Erm....

      apparently she is one of those special AutoTune mime artists...

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Erm....

      who the heck is Taylor Swift?!?

      I believe she is a popular, beat combo m'lud. Or to put it another way, she sings both kinds of music. Country, and Western.

      To be honest, I've no idea. The only country music I own is by Otis Lee Crenshaw. And he's not taking it terribly seriously... But as he says, "Country music is sitting on the floor, with a bottle of Jack Daniels and the lonely, salty tears rolling down your cheeks. And taking all that pain, misery and heartache, and trying to turn it into cold, hard cash."

      1. sisk

        Re: Erm....

        I believe she is a popular, beat combo m'lud. Or to put it another way, she sings both kinds of music. Country, and Western.

        She started out in country but has sort of migrated more towards pop over the course of her career. Neither are among my favorite kinds of music. Honestly I'd never heard of her until Kanye West's stunt at the Grammy Awards a few years back, but apparently she'd already become quite popular. I'm still not sure I've ever actually heard any of her music.

    3. SDoradus

      Re: Erm....

      A less well known friend of Lorde, my kids tell me.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Erm....

      What the hell is a "spotify" and why would I want it?

      1. Shugyosha
        Facepalm

        Re: Erm....

        My mum - who will be 60 next year - was telling me over the weekend that she uses Spotify. So unless you're trying and failing to be 'too cool for school', if I were you I'd be embarrased admitting to being so IT illiterate on an IT industry website.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "being so IT illiterate"

          Surely you mean "consumer illiterate"...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Erm....

      For those that down voted me for pointing out she's an AutoTune specialist...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoMF3TsNWFA

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Erm....

        >>"For those that down voted me for pointing out she's an AutoTune specialist... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoMF3TsNWFA"

        If technology enables people to pursue a career they otherwise wouldn't be able to, why are you against that? Seems rather mean-spirited to me. I mean you could probably rule out any form of public singing other than opera with this approach on the grounds that it depends on electronic equipment to boost volume - that's another area where technology is used to modify a performer's natural abilities. Do you refuse to watch The Fifth Element because the central opera scene was a splicing together two separate singers to achieve the vocal effect they wanted?

        In short, if the result is what you want, why pour hate on the people who produced it because you think song production should be the preserve of a few who gain admittance to your privileged group through luck?

        Serious question.

    6. Midnight

      Re: Erm....

      Who is Taylor Swift? She's a well known IT security expert who occasionally records music.

      https://twitter.com/SwiftOnSecurity/

  6. AbelSoul

    Not a fan...

    ... but can't say I blame her.

    Having said that:

    And Spotify can't be too happy today that Google's YouTube, by sheltering behind the DMCA's Safe Harbour provisions (a voluntary code of conduct whereby American companies promise to treat EU citizens' data properly), delivers Swift's 1989 and her entire back catalogue without interruption. That makes it hard for anyone, not just Spotify, to maintain an ethical business.

    This type of confusion probably means things will get a lot worse before they get any better.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Not a fan...

      That makes it hard for anyone, not just Spotify, to maintain an ethical business.

      No, that assumes that the people who will pay for Miss Swifts albumas on amazon or wherever are the same as those that faff around with YouTube videos. Even after 10 years of repetition, it sounds weird to me, aking to talking up radio as the merciless killer of pop starlets.

    2. Nicole D.

      Before it gets better

      This type of confusion probably means things will get a lot worse before they get any better.

      Yes, that's the real story here. You can find almost any music by any artist on YouTube, and rip the audio to mp3 as easily as ripping a cd (does anybody remember cds?). Sound quality? Usually more than acceptable, to give a fan a feeling of "yeah I have that song" and add it to their playlist.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Not a fan...

      "This type of confusion probably means things will get a lot worse before they get any better."

      The labels don't complain overly about youtube entries because they can claim copyright and have all the ad revenue directed into their own pockets without having to cough out to the artists.

  7. Frallan
    Coat

    LoL Swift'ly off to the Pirate Bay for a quick walk off the plank...

    another starlet who thinks she is the mifddle of the universe and will brutally learn that we dont give a EFF..

    Gettin me Coat

    /F

    1. Test Man

      Didn't know you were a Taylor Swift fan!

      :D

  8. Drat

    Consumer or supplier

    From a successful artists point of view this makes sense, I am sure she can get more money in the short term from album sales, and later on she can always add the albums back to Spotify for future income.

    From a consumer’s point of view, Spotify is much better value, a fixed fee gives you access to a huge range of music, whereas buying albums costs more for less listening choice, and has the big chance of buying an album you listen to once or twice and then it sits idle.

    So whose point of view is the most important, the multi-millionaire supplier or the average consumer, which in this case is probably a school kid saving up their pocket money.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Consumer or supplier

      I think the answer is that Spotify is too cheap. But maybe that's all the cash consumers are willing to part with for it as a service?

      Of course this does depend on how much cash Spotify keeps for itself and how much it's passing on to artists. i.e. Are they profiteering? Or are they just making bugger-all cash for everyone?

      I'm sure the big name multi-millionaires will be OK, whatever happens. But it's the next level of artist who might really suffer.

      If society wants to have a decent number of good professional musicians, of varying types, then we're going to have to pay them in some way. How that's organised is obviously up for grabs. But people definitely do want music. People will definitely pay for music. They have been for years. What may happen is a sudden collapse in the industry, due to too many people free-loading. But in the end we'll probably reach some sort of balance where we get what we pay for, and we decide how much that is.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: People will definitely pay for music.

        Actually, that's the question. If we assume your statement

        I think the answer is that Spotify is too cheap. But maybe that's all the cash consumers are willing to part with for it as a service?

        is true, then no, people will not definitely pay for music, at least not at a level that supports the production of more music as a living.

        It is true that some people will pay for music. In fact it is probably true that some people will pay a LOT for music. And we can see even here in the comments section at El Reg that some people will NEVER pay for music. The question then becomes can you achieve a mix of sales across those various groups such that some people will produce music to make money? Right now that is a very open question.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: People will definitely pay for music.

          Tom 13,

          A lot of the people who say they'll definitely not pay for music, are people who listen to music. The ones who don't download for free or buy, probably don't care enough to talk about it.

          Even those people who refuse to pay for music do value it. They derive a benefit from it, or they wouldn't go to the effort of getting it. The question is, how much is that benefit? Is there a way to stop them getting something for nothing, such that you don't piss off the people who are willing to pay? Or do you have to reduce the prices massively to get acceptance from the customers that it's more trouble not to pay? In which case we'll get less music, of a lower quality.

          Historically people have been willing to shell out more money on music than they do now. In very recent history. So there's probably money to be had out there. What we haven't found is a way to make a market work such that if you don't think something's worth the price, you don't get to have it. You have to do without it. If that's no longer possible, then we won't have a free market in music, the consumers will underpay (I mean in economic terms here), they will have a consumer surplus, and at least theoretically the supply of music will drop until the amount people are willing to pay for meets the amount people are willing to produce.

          Obviously just as there are free-loading customers, there are also musicians who'll work for free. Because they love to do it. As usual, society is moving too slowly to keep up with technology. Maybe in 20 years time we'll praise the free-loaders for having unlocked a new pargadigm of wonderfulness. Or we'll curse them for having destroyed the industry that gave them the stuff they wanted, but wouldn't pay for. Who knows? It's much more of a certainty that the record company executives will be screwing things up as usual...

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: People will definitely pay for music.

            "Historically people have been willing to shell out more money on music than they do now. In very recent history. "

            The historic market for pop music was 16-year old filing clerks. It's no coincidence that the singles market tanked when these became less common and lower paid where they still existed.

            Shelling out money on music is discretionary income. In case people haven't noticed some people are getting very very rich whilst the vast majority are seeing their discretionary income fall rapidly.

        2. Mike VandeVelde
          Pirate

          Re: People will definitely pay for music.

          I will pay. I will pay admission for a live concert. I will pay for authentic collectable physical media with inserts and artwork. I will pay for various other authentic collectable paraphernalia.

          If a friend lends me a copy, and I pay for my own blank media and my own duplicating equipment, and make myself my own copy, I'm sorry but there are no fees coming out of me for that. Extrapolate out to all the other ways to make copies, my concern remains at the same level. Make war on me for that and I'm sorry but you will lose.

          I will pay for access to a well curated collection with features.

          Them's the breaks. Artists and all your various hangers on: figure out what to do with that. Or don't. Whatever. Quit your fucking whining already, I might find that yes I actually can somehow care less.

          1. sisk

            Re: People will definitely pay for music.

            I think it's been pretty well proven that a lot of people WILL pay for music over pirating it provided they feel like they're being treated fairly. Personally I'm not a fan of Spotify specifically because the person doing all the work (the artist) isn't getting paid. That's the same reason I make sure all my royalties get paid when I DJ.

            Here's the thing people: if musicians don't get paid they don't make music. I'm not saying we should go back to paying $20 to get one or two good songs plus a bunch of garbage we don't want, but the $1 per song model seems pretty fair to everyone. The consumer gets what they want for a good value and the artist gets paid. There's still the problem of middle-men and record execs sucking up most of the profits, but I think we're well on our way to that problem being solved. There are quite a few successful* indie artists out there now who've done away with the record execs and are only paying a (debatably fair) percentage to the music stores now.

            *In this context, "successful" means that they've been able to quit their day jobs, not that they have private jets.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: People will definitely pay for music.

              " There's still the problem of middle-men and record execs sucking up most of the profits"

              For every €10 paid out by Spotify to labels, artists get less than 20c and authors get slightly more.

              So yes, that IS a problem, given that _everything_ related to the artist's material has already been 100% charged to the artist's account and is paid back out of the 20c. Labels aren't just double dipping, it's fullblown rentseeking behaviour.

      2. Tom 35

        Re: Consumer or supplier

        "I think the answer is that Spotify is too cheap. But maybe that's all the cash consumers are willing to part with for it as a service?"

        She said...

        "and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is."

        Just like the bad old days. Back when you bought an album with 2 good songs, a couple ok tracks if your lucky and a bunch of filler. You paid what they asked for, or you didn't get it. Except they had this thing called radio. Oh and home taping was killing music.

        Now you have iTunes where people can just buy the two good songs, and streaming services are the new radio (because radio is crap do to almost all the stations being owned by a couple companies who play the same crap). If you pull your tracks out of hundreds of other tracks people are listening to most people will not even notice.

        The old days are not coming back Taylor, no people buying albums to get one or two songs, no buying everything twice, or three times when they switch format.

  9. Ralph B

    Seems Reasonable

    > An artist may make between 70p and £1.20 from the sale of a digital album on iTunes or Amazon, but only fractions of a cent from each play on a streaming service.

    So, if the artist thinks their music will get selected for streaming time and time again, then they should probably use Spotify. But if they think their music will get played one time only then they should probably stick with iTunes and Amazon.

    Taylor Swift would appear to share my opinion of her music.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Seems Reasonable

      Ralph B,

      That argument is total bollocks.

      If artists are only getting pennies per thousand songs played from Spotify, then it's pretty much impossible to make up the profit from an album sale in per-play fees.

      It's just basic maths. If I buy an album, and the artist gets £1. That means I'd have to listen to their songs 100,000 times, in order for them to make the same cash. That also negates them having the chance of selling me 2 albums, if all their stuff's on spotify.

      100,000 tunes x 3 minutes / 60 mins / 24 hrs = 208.3 days of solid listening to pay them back. 312 days if I'm allowed 8 hours of sleep...

      That's also not including other costs. Obviously record companies take their pound of flesh from a CD sale. Nice profits. Cocaine and hookers for the execs. But they've also got to pay marketing, photographers, people to organise the band's website, studio time.

      I don't know if the writers and producers get their cash out of the artist's cut or the record companies'. But someone's got to pay it.

      It looks like Spotify doesn't pay.

      Maybe artists will switch all their effort to live gigs. Release enough records to get known, then just tour. But if that happens, the quality of recorded music is likely to drop. And I can listen to far more recorded music than I have time to get to gigs. Plus bands won't come to my house to play while I'm cooking dinner, or entertaining friends. Selfish gits!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: Seems Reasonable

        You forget the flip side. Promotion.

        How much does it cost to have a TV ad?

        How much for the promotional posters?

        How much for the music video?

        None of these generate ANY revenue

        Spotify, and radio for that matter, are less about generating revenue, but more about generating publicity.

        The fact they get paid is a bonus.

        Still by doing this, it's a "free" publicity and "we" are all falling for it.

        1. Fibbles

          Re: Seems Reasonable

          Ah, the old "work for free and I'll pay you in publicity" chestnut. No matter the field of work in question there's always some moron that will try it.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Seems Reasonable

          Spotify, and radio for that matter, are less about generating revenue, but more about generating publicity.

          Lost all faith...,

          Please correct me if I'm wrong, I don't use it. But isn't Spotify a subscription service where you can basically listen to what you want? So basically like renting a music collection. Whereas on radio you listen, and you get what you're given.

          So in a normal market, that would make Spot ify cheaper than buying CDs / downloads. But still a significant portion of the cost. If you lease a car you pay several hundred a month. Obviously music doesn't depreciate, or need maintenance. But from the artist's point of view they need to get similar sorts of money out of the deal. Bearing in mind that only the elite few get rich from a music career.

          Even if we assume that all the works of the record companies are evil, and that marketing is uneccessary... Music needs to pay enough profit for session musicians, studio time, sound engineers, producers, band management, writers, someone to drive the van, and the musicians themselves.

          Now some of that can come from live ticket sales.

          But quite frankly you can fuck off with your superior attitude about how someone else should work for free for the privilege of being able to give you stuff that you actually want, in the hopes that you'll throw them some scraps in the form of ticket sales. Maybe. That attitude truly pisses me off. The freeloaders need to be honest in these arguments. If they want to do without music, then fine. But if they want to listen to stuff that requires other people have to spend hours of effort to create it, then they should pay for it. Or just steal it, and be honest about the fact that they're stealing it. Rather than all these verbal gymnastics about evil record companies, some artists being somehow too rich, promotion, or whatever else. If you want it, pay for it. If you don't want to pay for it, go without.

          And breathe... Ooops. Sorry. Rant over. I'm sure I'll receive a healthy crop of downvotes for this. And I apologise if I've maligned you. And you were just making a general point about marketing. But I'm leaving the post in anyway, because it's a decent summary of what I feel. And I'm sick of the hypocrisy in these arguments.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Seems Reasonable

            Parklife

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Seems Reasonable

          "You forget the flip side. Promotion."

          Promotion is 100% charged to the artist's account.

          _EVERYTHING_ that can possibly be charged to the artist's account, _IS_ charged to the artist's account, including the "cocaine and hookers" for the executives, via some creative accounting.

  10. Alistair
    Coat

    Like air time or record sales *really* get that much in the ARTISTS pockets.

    I know a couple of smaller time musicians. The only money they *really* make is from touring. Everything else is coffee money, once the various entities above them in the "rights" tree get their cut.

    Which defines where the problem really lies. The business model is br0ken, and the businesses need to die, but being "too big", .......

  11. batfastad

    Eh?

    "Rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free."

    I agree with Taylor Swift (whatever one of those is). I would like to see her music be infinitely valuable, by being so rare that it doesn't actually exist outside of her tiny little mind.

    1. batfastad

      Re: Eh?

      Woah, I have truly incurred the wrath of Taylor Swift's fanbase here on LeReg!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Sorry.....

    ...but your "goods" are only worth what the market is willing to pay. this goes for EVERYTHING anyone sells. This is why marketing and hyping up a product is such a big industry, it's to make you think that £50 worth of materials in your phone is worth spend £500 on, why that handbag made in a sweat shop in Pakistan is worth paying £200 for.

    You may feel your music is worth a million, but if the consumers (and that includes Spotify) think it's worth a fiver, it's worth a fiver.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Sorry.....

      That's true in a sense. If the market won't pay, you get bugger-all. And tough luck to ya.

      But, on the other hand, we have the law to protect people selling. So that the alternatives don't become greedy consumers saying, gimme your stuff for free, or I'll steal it*, and you get nothing.

      That's why you aren't allowed to walk into a shop and steal an iPhone, because you think it's overpriced.

      Therefore we only get to know the true value, when the choice is pay for the music, or don't get the music. So I don't buy iPhones, I don't think there's any phone out worth much more than the Lumia 730 or Moto G - at under £150. Similarly if I like some music, and want to listen to it repeatedly, I buy it. If I don't think it's worth it, I do without.

      *Yes, I'm aware that copyright infringement isn't really theft. Because you're only taking a copy. But it's a fucking pisspoor argument to try to claim on one hand that someone else's work is worthless, while at the same time you're making the effort to get yourself a free copy of it, and then listening to it. I'm happy to accept the argument if you listen once, then delete, and either buy or don't. I check stuff out on Youtube before buying. But you can't argue that something has no value, and then use it at the same time. That's cheating.

      1. Lakanal

        Re: Sorry.....

        Yes, the user pays, if only in opportunity cost. The question is simply how efficiently (if at all) the payment reaches the source of the good. Currently the payment is diverted into the pocket of YouTube, the ISP and the vendor of blank media (though there is often a private copy levy, so that actually the copier is paying a little). Set the cost (in the widest sense) of listening without payment high enough and the market will work, but probably at a much lower number on the supply axis of the demand curve.

    2. Fibbles

      Re: Sorry.....

      Hit the nail on the head but not the way you thought you had.

      The market will bear full retail price for her albums; this is evidenced by the millions of albums she sells. This being the case, selling her music for less (i.e. streaming through Spotify) is actually undervaluing her music.

      I'm not a fan of her autotuned Disneyfied faux-country music but I think she'd be a fool to sell it for less than the market is willing to pay.

    3. h4rm0ny
      Facepalm

      Re: Sorry.....

      There is so much seething bitterness in some of these comments. It's basically like the Daily Mail but swapping in successful people for immigrants.

  13. heyrick Silver badge

    Ethical business?

    Look for some more obscure stuff, you'll quickly find that Amazon has a different selection of MP3s in each country's store. Oh, but wait, this isn't like buying a CD. This stuff is "licenced", so places where you aren't? They don't wanna know.

    Take my goddamn money and give me my goddamn MP3. Until that can happen without "country" or "region" crap, talk of ethics is worthless. I get to pick what supermarket I buy things from, why should this be any different?

  14. DavCrav Silver badge

    Taylow Swift left Spotify

    and nothing of value was lost.

    I'm not entirely sure who she is, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to hear her music. She would have got nothing from me, and she is now getting nothing from me.

    As for Spotify cannibalizing music sales, you cannot have it both ways. Either streaming is big, in which case there really is a much larger audience, or it is small, in which case it won't reduce sales by much. If it is just your current audience, people who already buy your albums, who move to streaming, then you're in trouble, but that also suggests that there's nothing you can do to increase your audience. So stay off streaming and sell to people. But this argument seems to work for all people. Use streaming to get big, then leg it once everyone knows you.

  15. ItsNotMe

    OMG!!!

    My life is over.

  16. Frankee Llonnygog

    I'm over 12 years old

    Is she someone I need be aware of?

  17. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Not what it seems

    I don't believe it's a principled position of a hard done-by talent.

    I think she is simply doing her masters' bidding in the "rights-holders" v Spotify war that has been going on for years now. A cliff richard of the Internet streaming...

  18. wolfetone Silver badge

    I'm old enough to remember when Taylor Swift was a Country & Western singer.

    I'm also old enough to not understand the big whoo-har surrounding her. She's not a good singer, guitar skills are questionable. But she's not bad looking, so I suspect her success in music is down to her looking good and sounding in tune.

    Amiright?

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      @wolfetone

      "her success in music is down to her looking good and sounding in tune."

      She's also a reasonable song writer (where the real money is) and judging by her philanthropic actions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Swift#Philanthropy) definitely not a greedy cow.

      Whatever your opinions on her work, I don't think that Spotify's record of paying artists gives them the moral high ground in this:

      Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported in 2009, that record label Racing Junior had only earned NOK 19 ($3.00 USD) after their artists had been streamed over 55,100 times

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotify#Royalties

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: @wolfetone

        I'm not defending Spotify, I refuse to use them since they ignored my cancellation and carried on charging my account because I logged in to it - and this was to my user account, not the actual music section, to remove the link from Spotify to my then Facebook account.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: @wolfetone

        "Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported in 2009, that record label Racing Junior had only earned NOK 19 ($3.00 USD) after their artists had been streamed over 55,100 times"

        And in other news, a radio station which played the song to 55,000 listeners would pay less than 1 cents for the privilege.

        It seems to me that a streaming service like Spotify isn't that much different to a radio station, but it's paying 300 times more for the privilege of "On the Internet"

  19. Brew

    Albums and Taylor Are Good

    I've mostly bought albums after just hearing one or two songs. Yeah those two songs are what grabs you at first but after a few listens most of the albums sink in also. Out of 100's of albums just a handful that were bunk- it gives you more of the artist.

    Taylor is cute and talented, cute enough for me to follow her from Country to Pop.

  20. STGM

    What about royalties for the goats she ripped off?

    I knew she was trouble when she walked in...

    1. montyburns56

      Re: What about royalties for the goats she ripped off?

      Are you confusing her with Shakira?

  21. Mark H

    I buy more albums because of Spotify

    I listen to the free version of Spotify and if there's something I like I buy it.

    This means I buy albums from a far wider variety of artists than I used to do in the old days, because I can try for free.

    Also taking your album off of Spotify is silly because people will just use Youtube or torrent it. It's a pointless act.

  22. Vlad

    I recently tried to buy a song that I heard on the radio.....

    and found that it would be available to purchase in two months time! So the artist lost a sale as I used 'Freemake Youtube to MP3 Boom' to make a...ahem....'backup' copy until such time as I could legally make a purchase. In the meantime I got sick of that song. That record company lost a sale as they hoped that people would hear it on the radio many times and then purchase en block when it became available - pushing the title to the top of the 'Hit Parade' (or whatever it's now called). If I hear something I like I want to buy it immediately. Full stop (Period, in Merkin).

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "I know a couple of smaller time musicians. The only money they *really* make is from touring. Everything else is coffee money, once the various entities above them in the "rights" tree get their cut.

    Which defines where the problem really lies. The business model is br0ken, and the businesses need to die, but being "too big", ......."

    And, to expand on this... Spotify is (per the article) largely record company owned. So I can see pulling music off Spotify -- no-one can expect to get paid as much for a stream as for a music purchase... but Spotify follows and encourages the model of the traditional record company, where the artist gets peanuts.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "I know a couple of smaller time musicians. The only money they *really* make is from touring. Everything else is coffee money, once the various entities above them in the "rights" tree get their cut."

      Analysis shows this clearly:

      http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/artists-get-7-of-streaming-cash-labels-take-46/

  24. SDoradus

    Iron irony

    "... the DMCA's Safe Harbour provisions (a voluntary code of conduct whereby American companies promise to treat EU citizens' data properly)"

    Wait, what?

    1. Vociferous

      "treat EU citizens' data properly"

      By "treat properly" they mean block EU citizens from buying mp3's or listening to US streaming audio.

  25. Vociferous

    Global distribution

    >Perhaps fewer artists would complain about lower rates if the promise of a global distribution network was fulfilled

    You mean the thing the record companies have spent a decade and tens of millions to lobby against? It is currently not possible to buy MP3's across country borders even inside the EU thanks to record company lobbying. It screws the artists, but protects record companies from international competition.

    For the same reason it is currently impossible to listen to Pandora and other US streaming radio in Europe.

  26. nethack47

    Dad woes and calculations

    I am pretty sure I'll be forced to but that album soon enough as I have a 9 year old daughter but since it's between that and One Direction I'm not enjoying either option really.

    Looking at the streams you get a couple of suggestions

    $0.006 and $0.0084

    SEK0,02 + 0,05

    Both look fairly reasonable and I'd say the per song play for an initial song cost on buying an album for $1 works out to be around the same as 500 plays per sale.

    With some guesstimates of music consumption I would say you normally listen for the new and shiny song a lot 2 the first two months after which you are sick of it and listening gets more sporadic.

    A regular to and from school/work listen makes it at least 2 plays per day for around 60 days but since you might not listen in the weekends it's probably only 50 days. Since it's new and shiny there's a good chance you listen to it a few times more the first week so add 50 more to make the numbers nicer for comparison.

    50 days x 2 + 50 spur of the moment listens makes about 150 for that early profitable period when it is the most profitable in sales. Not quite

    Looking at when I was young, my friends and my children I am certain the initial numbers tend to be a bit higher.My personal experience with "Everything is awesome" which I happen to have a counter on got over 250 plays since purchase a little while ago.

    I guess the recoup from streaming is around half of the album sale over the first year but the cost of albums downloads needs about halving so this is more about trying to keep download prices up than protecting the unique and special.

    If it's not then why would Taylor Swifts 1989 be $9.99 as a physical album and $12.99 as a download?

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