Anthrax’s Scott Ian Loves Spotify Now: “It’s the Best Thing Ever.”
For years, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian was Typical Old Dude Patient Zero who railed against Spotify as ruiner of the music industry, pining openly in interviews for the good old days and lamenting that music fans no longer bought physical records.
Only a little over a year ago he said on Jamey Jasta’s podcast, “Take your streaming and shove it up your ass.” Excerpt:
“I don’t have Spotify. I don’t stream. I don’t do any of that. So I’m ignorant to that. That’s a good question that I’ll ask my manager. Like, all our old Island catalog, is ‘Among The Living’ on Spotify? I have no idea. If it is, I’m sure we’re not making any off it. Even if we had the best deal in the world, we still wouldn’t be seeing any money from Spotify. That’s why when I hear musicians use Spotify, I’m, like, ‘Really? You’re supporting a company that’s ripping you off.’ That’s amazing. ‘Yeah, but it’s so easy to just have your music.’ I’m, like, ‘It’s really easy to have my music without Spotify.’ I just never got that. You know this company is fucking you, yet you are still okay with using it. That’s weird to me.”
“The thing is, I get it, I get it. It’s how a lot of people on the planet get their music now, and I’m not against that. I wouldn’t say, ‘Don’t put our records on there,’ because I understand it now. It’s, like, great, that’s how you’re getting our music, and then maybe you’re gonna go buy a ticket next time we come through. So I get that; I totally get it. On the other side of that, I’m still the guy who… I came from the era where you could actually have a platinum album. How many records went platinum in America last year? That’s a fucking joke. So take your streaming and shove it up your ass, is really how I truly feel about it. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna be a caveman and say, ‘We’re not streaming.’ I want our music to get out there. I want as many people to get exposed to it as possible.”
Now Ian’s tune (pardon the pun) has changed a whole lot: in a recent interview with Alt Press (posted below), he described Spotify as “the best thing ever.” Excerpt, via Blabbermouth:
“I don’t care how people get their music — I don’t care — as long as they’re not stealing it. So, really, it doesn’t matter to me if you’re listening to vinyl or you’re streaming; I don’t care. I’m not one of these people anymore that is against technology or the future. I was [against it] until I found out how our deal actually worked with things like Spotify. I was actually criticizing out of ignorance about two years ago. And then I learned how things were working specifically for us. I don’t know how it works for every band, but I got educated and I embraced Spotify big time after that.”
“I look at it this way: as long as a band is getting paid for what they do, I don’t care how people get their music; it doesn’t matter to me… however you enjoy it. At home now, I’m pretty much… We have music on… If we’re awake, there’s music on in the house, and it’s generally Spotify through out Sonos system, so you’ve got music in every room, and it’s Spotify, so you can hear whatever you want at any given time, because it has everything. It’s the greatest. [Laughs] Oh my God! It’s the best thing ever.”
Ian’s shift on streaming services is a microcosm of how the general public viewed and views them, too. The initial pushback against streaming when Spotify first debuted in the U.S. was strong; listeners claimed they’d never pay for something that didn’t give them ownership of anything (physical media or downloaded files), and musicians claimed the payouts were astronomically and unfairly low. Over time, when music listeners realized there’s no practical difference between owning digital files or streaming them (and that the convenience of streaming far outweighed the need to own a physical object), and when musicians became aware that Spotify isn’t ripping anyone off, just sharing the pie proportionately for payouts increasing with scale, more and more converts moved over into the streaming column. And so it goes with all new technology that changes the status quo.
At least Ian’s now in the good guy column on this issue and has the humility to admit he was just being ignorant on the issue rather than being bullheaded and spiteful. It’s just frustrating for me as a bystander who’s been championing Spotify since the very first day it came out in the U.S. that’s it’s taken so damn long for people to come around.
Celebrate by jamming Anthrax’s latest album For All Kings below.