DISTURBED/DEVICE Frontman Says Piracy, Not SPOTIFY, Is Reason For New Artists' Reduced Revenues

DISTURBED and DEVICE singer David Draiman has commented on RADIOHEAD frontman Thom Yorke's decision to pull Yorke's solo songs and those with his group ATOMS FOR PEACE from music streaming service Spotify.

Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich took to Twitter to express their frustration at the Spotify business model for new artists, complaining that up-and-coming musicians "get paid fuck all."

"The numbers don't even add up for Spotify yet. But it's not about that. It's about establishing the model which will be extremely valuable," Godrich tweeted. "Meanwhile small labels and new artists can't even keep their lights on. It's just not right."

He continued: "Streaming suits [back] catalogue. But [it] cannot work as a way of supporting new artists' work. Spotify and the like either have to address that fact and change the model for new releases or else all new music producers should be bold and vote with their feet. [Streaming services] have no power without new music."

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Yorke added. "Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it. Simples."

A big supporter of Spotify, Draiman posted the following message on Facebook earlier today:

"In response to the recent hubub over Nigel Godrich and Thom Yorke pulling their new ATOMS FOR PEACE record from Spotify, I have the following to say.

"Gentlemen,

"The days of the hard-copy product have been over for quite some time. All artists these days are dealing with a frustrating situation when it comes to generating revenue and awareness of our respective projects, wether they be new ones, or established.

"Make no mistake that the reason for the current state of reduced revenues for new artists is piracy, and NOT Spotify.

"All artists who actually write their own songs have publishing royalties. Those royalties, unless your songs become hits, are minute, compared to the profit generated from mp3 sales or hard record (CD/vinyl) sales. We've known that and dealt with that all of our careers. Would any songwriter out there be looking to divest themselves from the publishing infrastructure and risk losing the potential revenue that can come from the spins a hit song generates? Of course not. Spotify is simply an alternate form of potential revenue stream much in the same way publishing royalties can be. It was never meant to be a replacement for the old retail infrastructure, it was meant to make piracy obsolete by providing an amazing online service, at a reasonable cost to the user/music fan. You cut off Spotify and you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.

"If you really want to take issue with someone, take issue with the license holders of your songs and the rate you've contractually negotiated with them, not Spotify. Unlike streaming entities like Pandora, for example, Spotify has never attempted to try to further limit license holders' royalties in favor of a larger profit margin.

"The level of awareness generated by Spotify for new artists, having the engine searching your existing playlists and tastes, with the right Spotify applications such as Spotify radio, can bring your music to the ears of millions of new potential fans that just random placement on some bittorent site would never do.

"You can't fight the future or the advancement of technology; it is pointless. There are those who have tried to cling to an antiquated retail infrastructure, that have quickly become extinct before they ever even had a chance to thrive. Do not try to coerce a new generation of fledgling artists into a stance which would be incredibly counter-productive for them, and their development of their respective brands/music.

"In closing, Spotify has given us a platform to finally combat piracy on a real level, created an entirely new and separate revenue stream, and brings us closer to the potential fans out there that are truly thirsting for what we have created in an efficient and economic manner.

"Would you rather the world simply steal your music?"

A spokesperson for Spotify, which has more than 24 million active users worldwide, of which only 6 million are paid subscribers, responded to Yorke and Godrich Monday in a statement, saying, "We want to help artists connect with their fans, find new audiences, grow their fan base, and make a living from the music we all love."

The representative added Spotify already had paid $500 million to rights-holders and predicted that number will reach $1 billion by the end of the year. "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," he said.

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