Musicians love to present a 'everything's fine, we're only in it for the music anyway' face to the public.
It saves them from the accusation of being money-grubbing and, by the mere fact that they worry about where their next meal is coming from, obsessed with material possessions. Once the camera stops rolling though, and the dictaphones switched off, the story changes.
Despite its reputation as the uber-tool of self-promotion; the means by which musicians could escape the shackles of the antiquated exploitative music industry. Despite its reputation as a distribution tool which would bring music into the homes of the planet, there are many musicians who would happily throw a switch and shut the whole web down, given a chance.
Few musicians would ever say that out loud though. Managers and PR officers know the danger that lies in criticising any aspect of the new music industry. Which is why STHoldings's statement yesterday has set the music industry's corner of the internet aflame. Many musicians have long been frustrated by Spotify. Its miserable payouts, the rumour that it pays out more per play to artists signed to the major labels (who received a percentage of Spotify's equity in return for the use of their catalogue), the fact that those payouts are hidden by Non Disclosure Agreements. All these things annoy musicians, but to listen to Spotify's almost-daily self-promotion, in which it claims to be the saviour of the music industry, makes teeth gnash.
Most musicians and acts keep this stuff to themselves though, knowing that any attempt by a musician to safeguard his livelihood is the www equivalent of signing your own death warrant. The internetz don't like that sort of thing.
ST Holdings' announcement yesterday was not the first of its ilk, nor will it be the last. It is though, from a distributor which mainly deals in dance and electronica music, significant. Oldies like Bob Dylan and Prince can be ignored as irrelevant by the internet savvy. The likes of Blu Mar Ten, less so.
Removal of content from Spotify, Simfy, Rdio & Napster.
STHoldings can confirm that we have taken the decision to remove all STHoldings distributed content from the following music services, Spotify, Simfy, Rdio & Napster.
Despite these services offering promotion to many millions of music listeners we have concerns that these services cannibalise the revenues of more traditional digital services. These concerns are confirmed in our own accounts and a recent study by NPD Group and NARM
As a distributor we have to do what is best for our labels. The majority of which do not want their music on such services because of the poor revenues and the detrimental affect on sales. Add to that, the feeling that their music loses it’s specialness by it’s exploitation as a low value/free commodity. Quoting one of our labels “Let’s keep the music special, fuck Spotify”
All the labels we represent have been given the choice to have their music to Spotify, Simfy, Rdio & Napster. As of today (16.11.11) from the 238 labels we distribute, 4 have expressed that they would like to be on these services.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle