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Spotify responds after Atoms For Peace pull album from streaming service; Nigel Godrich fires back

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Spotify has bitten back after Thom Yorke and fellow Atoms For Peace member Nigel Godrich slammed the streaming service as “bad for new music” after removing their albums from its catalogue.

The company today said it is committed to becoming “the most artist-friendly music service possible,” telling Music Week it was still developing its payment system.

“Spotify’s goal is to grow a service which people love, ultimately want to pay for, and which will provide the financial support to the music industry necessary to invest in new talent and music,” a company spokesperson said.

“Right now we’re still in the early stages of a long-term project that’s already having a hugely positive effect on artists and new music. We’ve already paid US$500M to rightsholders so far and by the end of 2013 this number will reach US$1bn. Much of this money is being invested in nurturing new talent and producing great new music.

“We’re 100% committed to making Spotify the most artist-friendly music service possible, and are constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers.”

Long-term Radiohead producer Godrich yesterday announced that Atoms For Peace’s recent album AMOK was to be pulled from Spotify along with Yorke’s 2006 solo album The Eraser and his own Ultraísta.

“People are scared to speak up or not take part as they are told they will lose invaluable exposure if they don’t play ball,” Godrich said yesterday. “New artists get paid fuck all with this model… It’s an equation that just doesn’t work.”

Last year Spotify was valued at $3 billion; the company hopes to hit the $5 billion mark but faces increasing competition from rival streaming services such as Apple’s new radio offering.

Update: Godrich has again taken to Twitter to launch the latest volley, in response to Spotify’s statement:

So Spotify say they have generated $500 million dollars for ‘license holders”. The way that spotify works is that the money is divided up by percentage of total streams. Big labels have massive back catalogues so their 40 year old record by a dead artist earns them the same slice of the pie as a brand new track by a new artist.

The big labels did secret deals with spotify and the like in return for favourable royalty rates. The massive amount of catalogue being streamed guarantees that they get the big massive slice of the pie (that $500 million) and the smaller producers and labels get pittance for their comparitavely few streams.

This is whats wrong. Catalogue and new music cannot be lumped in together. The model massively favours the larger companies with big catalogues. They need new the new artists to be on the system to guarantee new subscribers and lock down the “new landscape”. This is how they figure they’ll make money in the future. But the model pays pittance to the new artist right now. An inconvenient fact which will keep coming up..

I feel a responsibility to speak up when I see something going on which I think is unfair. I’m not bitching about not getting paid. It’s about standing up for other artists rights. It’s up to streaming providers to come back with a better way of supporting new music producers. It’s not for us to think up how it could work. That’s your department. Over. That’s all I gotta say really. Sorry for the rant.

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