Enlarge Phil Labonte by Stefan Brending, Daniel Ek by Magnus Höij. Via Wikipedia.

Phil Labonte to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek: “You’re Kind of A Pile…I Wouldn’t Wanna Be Your Friend”


There’s thunder on the horizon. There’s madness in the air. The sky starts spitting out bloody placenta hunks as the galloping of four horsemen grows in the distance. Pigs take off and soar towards the heavens. We can’t believe it, but it’s happening, as we speak: Phil Labonte just said something that MetalSucks kind of agrees with!

That’s right, outspoken conservative and All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte, who downplayed the impact of the January 6th capitol riot and uses gay slurs like a closeted high school football player, has spoken out about Spotify, and called out CEO Daniel Ek for underpaying artists. Which, honestly, we think is kind of true!

Here’s what ol’ Phil had to say about it in an interview with The Porcupine, as transcribed by our secret sweetnesses over at Metal Injection:

“It’s quite interesting that while the overall pie is growing, and more and more people can partake in that pie, we tend to focus on a very limited set of artists.

“Even today on our marketplace, there’s literally millions and millions of artists. What tends to be reported are the people that are unhappy, but we very rarely see anyone who’s talking about… In the entire existence [of Spotify] I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single artist saying ‘I’m happy with all the money I’m getting from streaming. Stating that publicly. In private they have done that many times, but in public they have no incentive to do it. But unequivocally, from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself.”

“There is a narrative fallacy here…”

BUH. Man, dudes like Phil Labonte love terms like “narrative fallacy.” We get it, you like pointing your index fingers to your temples and telling people to THINK FOR THEMSELVES, but your message didn’t need this. Just talk like a dude, dude!


“…combined with the fact that, obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough. The artists today that are making it realize that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”

Okay, so, long story short is, the idea that artists today just need to do more, or be better, is kind of bullshit and relies on some outdated thinking. Way to be Lovecraft about it, but still, makes sense.

“It’s, like, you can be the person that came up with a creative, destructive force, and that’s fine, and that’s part of a free market and stuff, but when you’re a dick about it, you’re still a dick. If you’re just, like, ‘Well, you guys have gotta adapt to the market,’ it’s, like, look, there are a lot of artists that are in contracts that can’t just put out music every couple of days. Thankfully, I’m almost out of my contract — I’ve got one more record, and we’re recouped — so I’m in a uniquely good position; not ‘uniquely,’ but an exceedingly rare good position. Most artists aren’t.

“So when he is so dismissive of the effect his creation has on the music industry and then to glibly act as if $0.0007 cents for every spin is fair, I don’t think that’s… At the very least, it’s not someone that I wanna hang out with or someone that I wanna speak positively of. Maybe it’s not illegal, maybe it’s not immoral, but I’m kind of just, ‘Well, you’re kind of a pile, and I wouldn’t wanna be your friend.’”

Okay, so, we think Phil went a little HAM here, but his point stands. Daniel Ek’s take on artists is kind of bullshit, and he really should be paying them more. Plus, yes, we also probably would not want to hang out with him.

Well, there you have it: we kind of, sort of, maybe agree on something with Phil Labonte. Check in next time he opens his mouth.

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