Tuesday, January 17, 2012

As Consumers Learn To Love Spotify, Artists Snub Streaming Service

While Spotify continues to gain traction among music fans and the record industry, the streaming service apparently isn’t for everyone. Three of the most popular acts in the U.S.—Adele, the Black Keys and Coldplay, all with top 5 albums on the Billboard 200—are refusing to allow their music to be shared. In a story that’s making global headlines this week, their concern is that streaming cuts into sales of physical and digital product.

Spotify spokeswoman Dawn Bridges isn’t buying it: “There is not a shred of evidence that holding back albums on Spotify cannibalizes downloads—or helps overall sales in any way.”

The British-based Spotify currently has 2.5 million paid subscribers and 10+ million users, who utilize the site to sample new music and share playlists with friends (including a recent alliance with Facebook). One could certainly make a case for the fact that Adele hardly needs social networking at this point to sell product. Her current album 21 was the best-selling of 2011, moving 5.2 million copies, while she was Billboard’s Top Artist of the Year, with 2011’s No. 1 single “Rolling in the Deep.”

The Black Keys, meanwhile, are closing in on 300,000 copies of its El Camino since its December 6 release. Drummer Patrick Carney told VH1 that while streaming services may be popular, “for a band that makes a living selling music, it’s not at a point where it’s feasible for us.”

And Coldplay, which has shared previous albums on Spotify, declined to allow any streaming services access to its latest Mylo Xyloto, instead leading fans to physical purchase or MP3 downloads from Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft’s Zune store or Amazon. Sure enough, the band’s set debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 earlier this month.

Even so, Spotify takes issue with Coldplay’s decision and, for that matter, any act that turns it down: “We do hope they will change their minds as we believe the Spotify model is adding huge value to the music industry,” the spokeswoman said. “We have already convinced millions of consumers to pay for music again, and as we increase in scale, we will continue to re-educate millions of additional consumers as to the value of music, and revitalize artists’ ability to make make money from it.”

Perhaps… but in the meantime, the anti-streaming sentiment seems to be gaining steam among artists. Kanye West, Jay-Z and even Tom Waits have also boarded the bandwagon. *                                      See original story here.