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Spotify Hit With $1.6 Billion Lawsuit

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Bones, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    If the bands were making and selling "hard" products like tins of baked beans, machine parts or clothing, the distributors (in this case that's Spotify, etc) would either buy the product and sell for a margin or distribute for a fee. Either way, the manufacturer (in this case, the band, etc) would receive income in direct relation to units sold.

    "Soft" products are no less valuable but because they are generally intangible, easily copied and distributed, they seem to be treated differently.

    A short while a go, a friend of mine (a well known and respected photographer near where I live) was approached a number of times to take wedding photos and create albums - for free - on the basis that the couples would pass to their family and friends and put the photos on websites - all of which would provide the photographer with shed-loads of additional business. He declined their "generous" offers.

    In the case of the photographer or, maybe even the bands, the offer of genuinely massive widespread "free" publicity might be a calculated gamble worth accepting, on the basis that it could be an important stepping-stone to greater things for those just getting into the business.

    However, irrespective of who the streaming site operator might be, why would world-renowned, established and highly sought after bands and singer / songwriters agree to get nothing (or a pittance) from a company that makes revenue from advertising renters and subscribers to their streaming service. I have a "free" account with a streaming service and some of the bands / artists I've listened to have tens and even hundreds of millions of "listens". Even if the streaming service paid the band / artist $0.005 per listen, a 200k listen track would generate $1,000

    It seems like someone is making a lot of money here and, in my naïve world, I would have thought that creating a system that rewards the ban / artist, record label and distributor equitably would be a good thing.
    drlucky, RedRiverII and bottlenecker like this.
  2. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 21, 2007
    My mom's basement.
    I decided to view this because I've been watchful and respectful of licensing all along, and my kids' request for holiday gifts included a family subscription plan. I also watch it because I know surviving and struggling musicians and artists.

    One thing I see with the musicians is something that's just like other good ideas and talent. You have to have your act together as a business person or pay someone to do that. It can be a friend's son making it enough to live in NYC as a studio musician and song writer or my mother's cousin who survived ever since graduation with a music degree in the early 1950s. They have sense and organization some other friends don't have. One talented musician friend from college is just like a talented engineering and math friend from same era. They struggle from lack of having their act together as needs to be.

    Two I'm thinking of in the world of streaming state they love the control they have. One says Apple is totally together and straight forward. He just needs to be creative, promote and steer his fans to a service he knows will pay him.

    I know musicians, painters, jewelry makers and a sculptor. After decades of watching them I'm convinced how well they do has a lot to do with having their act together outside of their creative life. The ones who do their business or a good job of having a qualified person or firm do it make a living.

    To me it's not evil streaming. Things change as time passes. You have to do what it takes to make a living.
    RedRiverII and Bones like this.
  3. Georox

    Georox Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 30, 2014
    The tan house in AZ
    Increase the royalties on streaming services and cut the hell out of the insanely expensive tickets for live shows. Win/win.
    rag1 and imwjl like this.
  4. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2017
    The thing with spotify that causes all this is well known and documented, I'm surprised no one has mentioned it, especially when there are already comments in this thread from artists who know they have thousands of plays a month on Spotify and they're making $0.50 a month or something in their spotify royalties.

    The radio seems to pay a fixed amount per play or something and actually counts how many times each song is played and pays based on that.

    Spotify (unless it's recently changed) doesn't work that way.

    You get a % of the total pie based on the # of plays you got vs the total # of plays of all the music in the catalog.

    If I pay Spotify $9.99 a month and I listen to Jakedog 100% of the time you would think he'd get $8 or something if Spotify + labels have a 20% overhead. If there were 1000 people like me he'd be doing pretty well. (And remember there are other streaming services, CD sales, etc.. still out there.)

    Instead Jakedog will get $0.05 from my $9.99 and Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, etc.. will get $7.95 divided up among the 3 of them even though I didn't listen to any of them.

    The record companies are taking their cut and they're happy, doesn't mean the artists are getting a fair shake. They're just making sure the biggest artists are kept happy and the press, etc.. will ignore the complaints from the less popular artists.
  5. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 21, 2017
    I go into non existent record stores every weekend and spend money on artists I like.

    I go to shows when they are in town and at a reasonable price.

    I stream pandora as background music when I am not critical listening.

    I can't get bogged down with how much of my money goes to them, that's between them and their contracts. If you signed up to get jack squat in royalties, it is not my problem other than I don't want to see you quit because you can't make ends meet, but it's not my job to bail you out either.
    a_pidgeon and imwjl like this.
  6. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015
    You're right that streaming isn't evil. I think the technology is separate from how they do business. Record companies screwed over a lot of people. When an artist sells gold and just breaks even, that's very wrong, and that's how it used to be with the majors.

    So there's a business problem, imo. People just need to figure out how to take power from spotify and put it back in their own hands, the way independent labels once did.
  7. Elmore

    Elmore Tele-Holic

    Dec 18, 2011
    The business is now very much like the early fifties. You have singles and concerts.

    I am concerned that we will never again have an earth shattering rock album because the million dollar brass ring has been taken away. Will we ever have another Physical Graffiti, Electric Ladyland, or White album? The incentive is not what it once was.
    Bones likes this.
  8. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Aug 6, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, and you're not the defendant in the lawsuit.

    If you buy something from a pawn shop, that doesn't guarantee that the chain of custody was all proper beforehand.


    I think the subject of the lawsuit isn't whether the artists got a good deal or not. You suggest that everything is proper and that the root cause is artists "getting high and letting other people handle their business" and ending up with bad deals. However, it is also possible that contractual obligations have not been honored. Fortunately, the court will decide things like this, not a guitar forum.

    When technology moves fast, there are still opportunities to have things go astray. As others have said, if the legal resolution leads to improvements in compensation to value creators, it is almost certainly better for everyone in the long run.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    bottlenecker and Bones like this.
  9. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Imagine that you made your living from your excellent photographs, and one day your entire portfolio was available online. However, the online availability means that no-one buys directly from you anymore and instead of getting paid the previous rates for your work, you now earn a mere 6 cents for every thousand copies downloaded. That would be better than nothing, right?
    I mean, imagine how great you would feel if suddenly you were so popular that your work was being downloaded at a rate of 10,000 prints a day? That would be an incredible level of success, and would earn you $18 a month.
    That's what Spotify is paying.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    RedRiverII likes this.
  10. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Exactly. I can't simply call up a radio station and get them to play any song I want. However, with streaming, I can play any song any time I want. It as easy as going to my shelves and finding the CD I want. In effect, I now "own" every single song in Spotify's catalogue. The internet allows me to own pretty much every song ever recorded, without the hassle of finding storage space. I can play anything I want, any time I want. The radio is not like that. The music I hear is chosen by the station, not by me.

    When I bought an album, the artist and the songwriters got paid. According to this lawsuit, Spotify is paying the artist but not the songwriters.
    Skub likes this.
  11. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    I think you mean "songwriters".

    kelnet and TeleTucson like this.
  12. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

    Dec 31, 2005
    Luddite Island, NY
    I wont even let anyone else print or frame my photos. I do everything myself and in very limited editions. A couple years ago , I was offered a very generous sum to provide photos for a book. A one time fee, regardless of sales. I went through the process as an excercise and backed out at the last minute. I don't even share my "good stuff" online. I will never get rich doing this, but I have complete control over my work. Last year I sold 27 unique pieces to one client for a clubhouse and it was amazing to see it all put together. I guess my rambling point is that if you don't want to dance with the devil, don't dance with the devil.
    LutherBurger likes this.
  13. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

    Dec 31, 2005
    Luddite Island, NY
    So, the only incentive to create great art is a big pay day?
    a_pidgeon likes this.
  14. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    You missed my point. Never mind.
  15. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

    Dec 31, 2005
    Luddite Island, NY
  16. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    How about the incentive of a decent income? Enough to raise a family and still be a songwriter? Or should the songwriters just pack up their gear and get a different job?
    Skub likes this.
  17. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    You know, I think plumbers, mechanics, and carpenters should be happy to earn 50 cents an hour. It's better than nothing, right?
    drlucky, Skub, beyer160 and 1 other person like this.
  18. jondanger

    jondanger Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 27, 2011
    Charm City, MD
    I did.

    See, I should have gotten someone else to sing them. Were they good? We’ll never know because I wasn’t good enough at singing them.

    The terrible truth is that Jagger/Richards were right, it’s the singer not the song.
    imwjl likes this.
  19. ftbtx

    ftbtx Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Sirius XM raised the royalties today over 5%.
  20. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    5% of what they had been paying, or 5% of the profits?
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