I’ve left this blog alone for a while because I feel like artistry and punditry shouldn’t come from the same place, but I’d like to chime in here as someone who is actually affected by this whole Spotify issue.

First off, I am a paid premium subscriber to their service and absolutely love it. This is definitely the beginning of the end for tangible musical product. Once they have literally everything ever legally recorded on there, what use will your iTunes library, CDs, etc have? I think it’s the next logical step to find middle ground between the consumers who want everything to be immediate and for little or no money, and for the people who provide the product (music), who need consumer support in order to be sustainable. Of course, there is still some evolving and adapting to do. I’m sure that as this method of consumption grows in popularity, there will be more services like Spotify who make it even more simple to use, add more features and integrate more social networking, and as that grows, I’m sure there will be more money to split up to the people who actually provide the content (a single stream currently earns you something like three thousandths of a cent).

Having said that, I’m going to stand up for Century Media in this case.

As much as I love to see Century Media berated for perpetuating some of the most blatantly cheap, deplorable, embarrassingly trite music imaginable (though they did sign my band, so what does that say about me?), I have known “the suits” at that company for over ten years and would trust their business sense over just about anyone else’s in any industry, music or otherwise, and if they are holding out on a service like Spotify until there’s a better deal, well that just seems like a smart move to me. They (along with me) still see recorded music as something of value.

Anyone who subscribes to Spotify has probably noticed by now that there are still tons of holes in their library. For example, you can’t find any Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC, and lots more music that I like to drive around listening to. Not sure if anyone remembers this, but you couldn’t even find The Beatles on iTunes until some time in the past year or so. This wasn’t about Paul and Ringo “unsure if this whole digital music thing was gonna take off or not,” it was about making sure they got their fair share of money. They (and likely an army of “suits”) were spending that time negotiating a fair cut of their music if it was to be sold through iTunes, because they knew their music held (wait for it…) VALUE.

My band got signed to CM at a time when they still gave out those crazy archaic deals where you actually get to print and sell your own merch and get a fair cut of your music’s publishing, all while still getting money to record an album, hire a real artist to do your cover, and maybe even receiving some help buying plane tickets for a European tour so we don’t have to plaster our website, merch, or even our stage with logos for car companies or energy drinks. I’m not exactly sure, but I’d imagine they are able to hold up their end of deals like this because they actually still make some money selling music, rather than blatantly exploiting and wasting the time of young bands with shitty low budget or 360 deals. This isn’t about me being delusional and hoping to see my huge cut of record sales one day, but rather so that budgets for recording, etc. don’t get whittled down to nothing because there’s no more money to go around.

I’m not saying Spotify isn’t the future. In fact, I truly believe it is. But attacking the ones who are cautious to make the right business decision is just silly. No one at CM is saying they’ll never adapt to the future, I think they just don’t want to get caught in a deal that’s going to be less than fair when this truly is the one method of consumption for music.


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