Thom Yorke and Johnny Lynch entirely misunderstand Spotify and online music
THIS is one of those newspaper pieces where you have to check that the people are still living on the same planet as the rest of us. They’re talking about whether Spotify is paying enough in royalties to the musicians who produce the work. Yet they manage to miss the most basic point about the whole subject:
Spotify is selling a lie, though. In this post-Napster world, the pressure is on for new independent artists to have their music sit alongside massive acts – but we’re not getting anything back. We are told that it’s good exposure, and will lead to increased album and ticket sales, but this simply isn’t the case.
It’s sod all to do with whether you get anything back or not. That’s not the point of the whole exercise at all. Just because you strum a guitar that’s not a reason that the world owes you a living. It also doesn’t matter how many years you trained or toured, the effort you put in, the hours, how much your album cost to record: absolutely none of this has any relevance at all to how much you should be getting paid.
The sole and only determinant of how much you’re going to get paid is how much the consumers are willing to pay for what you produce. And as it happens, on Spotify, there are 6 million people willing to pay £10 a month to listen to music. That’s across the whole world. So therefore, the maximum possible amount that can be paid to musicians is £60 million a month minus the running costs of Spotify. And that’s it: there just isn’t any more.
Wibbling about what you want from it doesn’t change this basic fact: consumers aren’t willing to pay enough for you all to make a living. Tough luck.
If you don’t like it go take it up with the buggy ship makers.