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Joanna Newsom says Spotify is the “villainous cabal of major labels”

on October 16, 2015, 1:29pm

Next week brings the release of Joanna Newsom’s first album in five years — though, don’t expect to find it on Spotify. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Newsom revealed her utter contempt for the streaming game, calling Spotify “villainous” and “garbage.”

Newsom acknowledged that the music industry is changing, as is the way artists monetize their music. However, she believes Spotify’s 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.”

She continued, “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 does admit that Spotify is a “genius idea” for listeners, adding, “If it wasn’t such a cynical and musician-hating system, I would be all for it. If there was some way they could divide the money they make from advertising and the money they make from subscriptions and actually give it to artists, I would have a completely different opinion about it.”

Despite her anti-Spotify stand, Newsom’s music can be found on Pandora (“My label and I have a particular licensing split,” she explained). Asked about TIDAL, she admitted she had yet to look into it, “but from what I gather they were trying to address the issues that make Spotify so very evil.”

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