In the case of Joanna Newsom, it’s both. She’s certainly not a fan of Spotify, comparing it to a rotting banana in a Los Angeles Times interview. “Spotify is like a villainous cabal of major labels. The business is built from the ground up as a way to circumvent the idea of paying their artists,” she said. Newsom’s move to Apple Music follows her historically contentious relationship with streaming services. She once said that Spotify is the “ banana of the music industry ” (and she really hates. Joanna newsom is not on spotify By Madeline Rupard. But these songs she loves are. Play on Spotify. Night Scented Stock - 2018 Remaster Kate Bush.
Mega pop stars like Taylor Swift aren’t the only ones leading the debate about whether Spotify is fair to songwriters.
Joanna Newsom, a critically acclaimed harpist and singer-songwriter who also appeared in Inherent Vice, said the streaming service is a “garbage system” and a “villainous cabal of major labels” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times pegged to the release of her new album, Divers, which arrives later this month.
Speaking with the Times, Newsom accuses record labels of stacking the deck against artists in response to declining revenue from the digital music revolution of the late ’90s and early 2000s.
“Someone came up with a great idea that if they start a streaming company…they can make their money from advertising and subscription, and they don’t have to pay their artists anything for that,” she says. “So it’s set up in a way that they can just rob their artists, and most of their artists have no way to fight it because they’re contractually obligated to stay with the label for x amount of time and you can’t really opt out.”
Newsom’s comments hint at the lack of transparency about how labels share streaming revenue with their artists. That’s something John Seabrook touched on in his recent book The Song Machine: Inside The Hit Factory, which was adapted from his pieces about pop music for The New Yorker.
“Month by month, Spotify pays the major labels lump sums for the entire market share of their catalogues,” he wrote last year. “While Spotify gives detailed data to the labels, the labels ultimately decide how to share that information with their artists…artists and songwriters basically have to trust that labels and publishers will deal with them honestly, which history suggests is a sucker’s bet.”
In a statement, Spotify’s global head of communications and public policy, Jonathan Prince, responded to Newsom’s comments:
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Joanna Newsom Harp
Joanna Newsom says streaming services haven’t been paying artists their fair share and major labels are the ones racking in the big dough.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Have One on Me talent expressed her reasoning for keeping her music away from the bulk of streaming services (Pandora’s the exception) and shared her distaste for Spotify.
“Spotify is like a villainous cabal of major labels,”; said Newsom. “The business is built from the ground up as a way to circumvent the idea of paying their artists. The major labels were not particularly happy with the fact that as the royalty money dwindled more and more, their portion of the percentage split agreed upon in their licensing agreement got smaller and smaller. So someone came up with a great idea that if they start a streaming company, they can make those percentages even smaller. Infinitesimal, because they can make their money from advertising and subscription, and they don’t have to pay their artists anything for that. So it’s set up in a way that they can just rob their artists, and most of their artists have no way to fight it because they’re contractually obligated to stay with the label for x amount of time and you can’t really opt out. It’s a garbage system.”;
Newsom notes that she understands the appeal streaming services have for music fans and she’d be completely onboard if artists were appropriately compensated for their work. She pointed to Tidal as somewhat of an improvement on the current formula.
“I mean, for all of its what seem to be many flaws that the Tidal system – I shouldn’t say “many flaws”; because I haven’t researched Tidal enough. But I know it was kind of roundly made fun of because of the way in which it was unveiled to the world, but from what I gather they were trying to address the issues that make Spotify so very evil, I don’t know if they successfully did it. I should look into it,”; said Newsom. “I understand why Spotify is great. I wish there was a way to provide the service they provide and have nobody lose, nobody be victimized by that.”;
Spotify has responded to Newsom’s issues with their service with a statement defending their practices and encouraging the Pitchfork darling to meet with them.
Is Joanna Newsom On Spotify
“We’d love to sit down with Joanna and try and clear up some of the misunderstandings about how Spotify works to support artists, songwriters, and the whole music industry,”; reads a response from Spotify’s global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince. “For example, someone has led her to believe “we don’t pay artists anything’ for advertising and subscriptions – in fact, we pay around 70 percent of all our revenue, from every single advertising and subscription dollar, in royalties. We’re proud that we’re the single biggest driver of growth in music right now, and we’d love to talk with Joanna about how we’re making streaming work for artists and songwriters around the world, cause we’d love to work with her too.”;
Joanna Newsom's Brother Pete Newsom
In additional Joanna Newsom news, her new album Divers is set to hit stores on October 23.