Music streaming service Spotify is good at two things: delivering the music of thousands of artists to the general public, and pissing people off.
While I, like any consumer trained to expect creative work free of charge, like and use Spotify, many music industry professionals have been mounting a vocal offensive against the streaming service. Spotify has, apparently, claimed that because it streams rather than "reproduces" songs, the mechanical license associated with published works of music (and its associated fees) do not apply to them, and Spotify does not have to pay artists for that particular lisence.
Artists have realized that Spotify potentially owes them a bunch of money for not paying the mechanical license. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars. Earlier this week, Digital Music News published a list of 500 artists who think they are owed more than Spotify's $43 million settlement
on the matter of mechanical licenses. Below, we've compiled a list of artists who have public grieved Spotify's many faults over the past few years.
1. The Black Keys
The rock band was obviously conflicted about putting their music on Spotify, but decided last year that they'd "rather have people hear their music than not."
2. Neil Young
Neil Young has added, removed, and added his music to Spotify, all in the last two years, claiming that the streaming quality was unacceptable. In a 2015 statement on his Facebook page, he wrote:
Thom Yorke hates streaming. He told Mexican entertainment news website Sopitas.com in 2015
that "..we, as artists, need to fight against things like Spotify. In a certain way, I believe that what's happening with the mainstream is the last gasp of a dying industry." That said, plenty of Radiohead is available on Spotify.
Beck seems to agree with Young that his beef with streaming is sound quality. The musician said in an interview with Argentinain news outlet Pagina12
that, "...I think the saddest thing about streaming… is the issue of sound quality." But he also mentions: "...what Spotify pays me is not even enough to pay the musicians playing with me or the people working on the records."
5. Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear acknowledged in a 2012 tweet that Spotify is a sweet deal for listeners, but not so much for artists.
6. Taylor Swift
Swift famously pulled her music from Spotify a few years ago. Now it's back on the site, presumably in anticipation of her upcoming album. Swift said in an interview with Yahoo in 2014
"I'm not willing to contribute my life's work to an experiment that I don't feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don't agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free."