And Why Death Cab’s Benjamin Gibbard Is Wrong
“The meteor’s hit. The dinosaurs have all died. And it’s time for whoever’s next to take over. And I think it’s a good time for new ideas.”
– Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy
That was 2007. At the time, Radiohead released the pay-what-you-will In Rainbows. Record companies were clamoring to figure out how to monetize albums. It was a time when everyone – let’s not kid ourselves – was stealing music on the Internet. The music industry was in panic mode.
Back then, I produced a video piece for MTV News titled “The Future of Music.” You can view it below.
The conclusion: in the future there will be a “jukebox in the sky.”
“It’s the promise of being able to walk down the street with your mobile device and just ‘zzzip’ I’ve got a new album,” Bill Werde, editor-in-chief of Billboard told me. “Look, I’ve got the whole Led Zeppelin catalog or I’ve got everything Kanye West recorded in the last five years just like that.
Spotify is this idea fully realized.
The concept of “buying” music is now completely irrelevant. Forget it. Done. Kaput.
Early adopters have figured it out – in the future all of us will “rent” music via outlets like Spotify, MOG and Rdio. Think of it as cable television. You don’t purchase your weekly dose of “The Walking Dead” or “South Park.” You subscribe to cable and get them for that cost.
Charles Caldas is CEO of Merlin, a company that represents over 10,000 indie labels and helps them negotiate better deals from Spotify and other services.
“Artists can actually make more money from a single fan who streams an album over the course of their lifetime than they would from the same fan if he or she had purchased the album,” Caldas told Evolver.
Why am I ranting now?
I found out this week that Death Cab for Cutie frontman Benjamin Gibbard is not on Spotify. I wanted to hear his brand-new solo debut. But now I refuse to pay $9.99 on iTunes because I already pay $9.99 a month for Spotify. Furthermore, now that the album is out, it’s not available for streaming. The YouTube clip is now “private.” I’ve supported Death Cab, buying concert tickets since 2003 and seeing them several times.
The Beatles aren’t on Spotify. I don’t mind because I already own most of their albums. Metallica’s albums aren’t on Spotify. But that’s because they’re greedy bastards.
It’s not like artists are not getting paid from Spotify. Far from it. So says Caldas.
When a person buys a CD, that is one unit sold, Caldas says. However, if a person streams an album or song a thousand times over a lifetime it’s much more lucrative.
Spotify is a novel concept. It’s changed my listening habits. It’s changed my life. And in my opinion, it’s here to stay.