The Misery EP now on Spotify
Our mission to put The Misery EP everywhere that people listen to music continues: we are now on Spotify. You can listen to The Misery EP by clicking this link.
I must admit to having ambivalent feelings about Ember After music being on Spotify. I’m in no way against streaming music. We’ve been streaming full songs for as long as Ember After has had music to release. My issue is specifically with Spotify’s utter distain for the very music that it’s built its entire business on.
There isn’t a lot of money in streaming music. Most internet businesses don’t make a lot of money, so the low streaming rates are understandable. For example, every time you play a song on Rhapsody, Rhapsody pays about 1¢ for it. But at least that’s an amount for which we have a coin, right? Imagine that there was an artist playing a song for you while you were working, and you flipped them a penny. It’s not generous, but it’s something.
Spotify pays about 0.17¢ for a play of a song. That’s seventeen one-hundredths of one penny. It takes an artist nearly 600 plays to earn on Spotify what they could earn on Rhapsody—and what they can earn on Rhapsody for those plays is one single penny. That is the crux of my objection: that Spotify values artists nearly 600 times less than the “going rate.”
I should add that I don’t blame the listeners for this state of affairs. People want to listen to music using cool software, and that’s awesome. I and every other music maker on the planet would like to personally thank you, and ask you to listen to our music. And when you do so, we’d like to get a little coinage in our tin cup. Literally in this case, a penny for the cup. Spotify has built a service that has become popular not simply because of the interface and software, but because of it’s wide selection of music. Yet by paying so little per song, it sends the message that it feels the songs are effectively worthless. The thing is, if you removed the songs from Spotify, it would have a playback engine with nothing to play.
So since the record labels are so notoriously penny pinching, how could they have allowed this to happen? I think one reason is ego—they still haven’t gotten over the fact that it took Steve Jobs to save their asses, and want to stick it to iTunes whenever they can. Chop of their nose to spite their face, and all that. I think another reason is stupidity. None of them really know what they’re doing, or understand this whole “Intertube thing” and didn’t really realize that it would catch on like it has, and that they’d be getting as little as they do. Finally, I think that Spotify gives them other perks like free advertising and other benefits, so while Universal (for example) might not collect much in royalty payments, they still get “free” advertising time, etc. which makes the deal better for them, if not their artists. Anyway, it is what it is—I’m sure it will never get better for the artists.
I do think that Spotify can be used as a “force for good.” As a means of discovery, Spotify is great. I’ve used it to listen to entire albums which I’ve then purchased from an artist’s bandcamp page or iTunes. So I’d encourage everyone who listens to The Misery EP on Spotify and finds themselves listening to it again and again to go to our bandcamp page, or to iTunes or Amazon MP3 and paying the $3+ for the EP. And I’d encourage you to do that for all the music that you find on Spotify and really like, not just ours.
So enjoy Spotify, enjoy us on Spotify, but please remember the artists making the music that makes Spotify so enjoyable, and give them your support.