Neil Young vs. Spotify Is Why We Need More Choices
Web3 Piracy, Old Music Infanticide, Concert No-Shows
As we set about scouring the web for this week’s most important industry news, the thing that was unavoidable was Neil Young’s battle with Spotify over the “vaccine misinformation” spread on the Joe Rogan podcast. As of this publishing, Young’s music has been removed from the streaming giant, a decision that will cost the veteran artist and his label Warner/Reprise 60% of their streaming revenue.
It’s also likely to put a smaller squeeze on Higpnosis, which purchased 50% of Young’s publishing just a few weeks ago, although the sudden announcement of Neil Young Channel on SiriusXM could help compensate given that satellite radio pays higher publishing royalties than streaming.
Regardless, the actions of one baby boomer artist won’t affect the bottom line of the major labels and tech giants that control a vast majority of the world’s music listening habits. We applaud Young for taking a principled stand and drawing attention to the tension that exists. And we look forward to a future when a more diverse music ecosystem can help balance the scales of power.
Want to collaborate with The Cadence? Contact us.
Salient statements from this week’s music news.
A deep dive into the enormous growth of catalog and the stagnation it could portend for the parts of the industry (and artists) historically focused on the new.
Takeaway: The problem isn’t a lack of good new music. It’s an institutional failure to discover and nurture it.
Meanwhile, the gains that are being seen in new music are largely in the independent sector.
Takeaway: It's no secret that major labels are being outpaced by the independent sector. In 2020, indie labels and self-releasing artists saw their revenues grow by 27%, compared to overall market growth of 7%.
Artists could harness token-enabled communities to do more than traditional fandoms.
Takeaway: Imagine one fan is a marketer, another a graphic designer and a third is an attorney all participating in a DAO created by their favorite artist. Through a thoughtful and equitable governance system, these contributors could be rewarded for applying their skills to the DAO, all while helping their favorite artists.
The first test of the music industry’s patience with Web3 piracy has been spotted on the horizon.
Takeaway: Creators and rightsholders whose music brings about 6 million people to Audius every month currently aren’t compensated in any way, with Rumburg describing the platform as “promotional.” Audius says it plans to launch a monetization model this year.
The pandemic continues to hurt venues, even as tour announcements and ticket sales have largely bounced back.
Takeaway: Ticket sales primarily go to cover talent. Venues depend on foot traffic to sell food and drinks, not to mention merch and anything else available. A sold-out show can still lose money if not enough people turn up ready to spend cash.