Leaked Internal E-mail Suggests That Victory Records Will Layoff Staff and Drop Bands if Spotify Issue Isn’t Resolved

  • Axl Rosenberg

It would appear that current dispute between Victory Records and Spotify could potentially have some disastrous consequences for the label.

Victory claimed last month that the streaming service currently owes them more than $20,000 in royalties. Now The International Business Times claims to have gotten ahold of an e-mail from Tony Brummel, Victory Records’ founder and head honcho, to undisclosed recipients. In the e-mail, Brummel allegedly claims that Spotify represents “over 70 percent of our monthly digital sales,” that if the situation isn’t resolved “in a few months — I am fucked,” and that “They are going to force me to drop artists and lay off staff.”

And it’s not just going to take some backpay to satisfy Victory. Apparently — and I didn’t know this, but it makes perfect sense — “Spotify’s service promotes and suggests albums and artists to users in part because of their high play counts.” What that means for Victory, according to IBT, is that the label is demanding that their “artists’ music must go back onto Spotify… with its historical streaming data intact.” In other words, Spotify can’t reset the stream counts to zero and start the process all over again.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, given how many other labels and artists have claimed to basically make bupkis from Spotify, the fact that Victory’s business model now depends so heavily on the streaming service that the loss of revenue could lead to staff being let go is surprising. And for another thing, Brummel’s business practices are notoriously shady and so far we’ve still only heard his side of the story. So you have to wonder, at least a little bit, how truthful the label head is being here. Then again, as I said before, Brummel isn’t the only music business player to be pissed at Spotify, and a spokesman for the company, Jonathan Prince, admits to IBT that “This is an industrywide problem.” So there isn’t anyone on whom we can clearly call “BULLSHIT!” at this point.

Regardless of who did or is doing what, I hope that one way or the other, Victory mends their relationship with Spotify soon. It’s a bummer that fans can no long stream Victory’s discography on Spotify, but far more importantly, additional music industry jobs shouldn’t be lost because of this conflict.

[via The PRP]

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