Copyright Balls: Spotify versus Thom Yorke and Dre’s Beats
SPOTIFY has been incredibly divisive in the music industry, with some looking at it like a perfectly good promo tool to promote artists, while others think it’s stealing all their lovely royalties. Others sit somewhere between the two, thinking At Least It Isn’t Illegal Downloading.
Music fans are equally divided, with someone wondering why you’d pay a subscription for music you can’t keep, while others love how it opens up a huge library of music to delve into, make playlists and more.
One thing’s for certain – without it, a lot of us would listen to a lot less music. It is to music what Netflix is to movies, affording everyone the chance to take a punt on albums and bands without some music snob giving you grief for being so late to the party.
However, fights still swirl around the service and Spotify founder Daniel Ek has decided to have a pop at the newest streaming ‘rivalBeats Music’ (sister service to Dre’s ‘Beats’ headphones) as well as Thom Yorke of Radiohead.
Beats Music launched earlier in the week and is backed by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Dr Dre himself. Radiohead – long critics of Spotify – have made their music available to stream on Beats Music and Ek isn’t impressed.
Speaking to Billboard, he said of Beats: “It’s a competitor, for sure, but my way of looking at it is, if it gets people to understand the value of streaming, it is ultimately good. Our way of doing this is not just slapping some celebrity brand on it and hoping it will be good. We are a social service; we are a product company. People have tried to put a brand on it and thought that’s enough, and they have failed: Microsoft, Nokia – many big companies.”
Turning his attention to Thom Yorke, he said he doesn’t understand the way in which streaming differs from purchasing music. “[Thom] looks at this and says over a million streams gives me a few thousand dollars, and he says, ‘If I had a million downloads, that would mean $1million so Spotify is not good’. But the difference is he would not have had a million downloads because they are not comparable. In fact, with 24 million users, and Apple has 500 million users, we already have billions of streams today.”
Beats are cosying up to artists with cash, promising to pay the same royalty fee for every track on its database.
“Beats Music is based on the belief that all music has value and this concept was instilled in every step of its development. We want it to be just as meaningful for artists as it is for fans,” said Trent Reznor ahead of the service’s launch. “We’re committed to providing revenue to artists, while helping to strengthen the connection with their fans.”
Doesn’t matter though because, like pre-download ages, bands with the biggest budget for a marketing team stand to make the most money while little bands survive on bugger-all.
The new model, it seems, is exactly the same as the old model – only this time, new bands don’t have to worry about the printing costs of vinyl.
The first of the two services to create a b-side version, which opens up to unsigned bands, wins the race.