We need to have a talk about Spotify…

I have a couple of titles out on Ayler records. Ayler records has its own e-commerce built into their web site. Every year, i (used to) get a check from Ayler for my sales. This year, i received a very disturbing mail from the label manager. He wrote, in part, “…considering the fact that most of the downloads now happen on Spotify and thus almost don’t bring any money in…”. In other words: i probably won’t be seeing any money from sales from Ayler because there haven’t been any because people are streaming my albums instead of buying them. The same thing is happening at other labels i’m affiliated with. Revenues are way down on digital sales because listeners are doing just that: listening (to Spotify) and not buying.


I’ve read the Spotify documentation and understand the principal behind their business model. I also “get it” and see how this could represent the future of music marketing and distribution. Still, online labels are being hit hard by this new way of “doing business”. Let us recall that the online label was the wonderful convenience that took the heavy lifting off the independent artist’s back and  helped us to expand our reach while making it easier for our fans to buy. Spotify doesn’t do a much better job of broadening our audiences and certainly is not stimulating sales. 


So, why are labels cooperating with Spotify? Is there an alternative? Is this the future and am i just being a Luddite?  David Byrne has piped in on the matter. What are your thoughts?



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