Lars Ulrich Loves Spotify!
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…
Or something like that. Lars Ulrich has learned from his past mistakes, and has decided to embrace the future head-on: the Metallica drummer participated in a press conference yesterday in which Spotify announced the forthcoming release of a whole new set of features. Oh, and not only are all three version of “Unforgiven” now on Spotify… but so is Metallica’s entire catalog. This is the guy who famously railed against Napster 12 years ago and is still living it down. And there he is, sitting right next to Napster founder Sean Parker in the carefully planned photo op. Parker is an investor in Spotify and sits on the Board of Directors.
That this move comes shortly after the recent announcement that Metallica have started their own record label AND now own all of the masters for their old albums can’t be coincidence.
The new Spotify featureset includes 1) a new “Discover” tab that improves upon Spotify’s existing recommendation engine and makes finding new music much easier, 2) a “Follow” tab that greatly expands how you can keep track of and interact with what your friends are listening to. Both are designed to address one of the biggest knocks on Spotify, that it’s great if you know what you’re looking for but not so great if you’re looking to discover something new (an area Pandora has Spotify roundly beat). There’s also 3) a new “Collection” tab that will allow you keep current favorites close at hand without having to create custom playlists.
If I work at Metal Blade, Sumerian, Prosthetic, Profound Lore or any indie label that’s still not on Spotify, I’m quaking in my boots right now. All those hundreds of thousands of kids listening to Metallica on Spotify are not going to be finding my label’s artists via the new “Discover” feature; HUGE opportunity lost.
Gizmodo points out that Spotify is actively trying to portray an artist-friendly stance in the media:
The whole point of trotting Urlich [sic] and Parker out for the money public relations shot, though, is to hammer home the idea that Spotify’s on the side of musicians and artists. At the beginning of the presentation [Spotify founder Daniel] Ek let us all in on some figure[s]. Spotify now has five million paying users and the company has paid out a half-billion dollars to rights holders. In other words, the idea is that Spotify really wants to be convince us all that it’s good for the music industry—even if some artists [are] complaining that Spotify barely pays artists a pittance.
Hey, Lars Ulrich actually did something cool for once. Bravo!