david draiman spotify

Spotify has been a hot topic in the last year. The popular music streaming service gives listeners access to an impressive and extensive collection of records. Chances are, if there’s an album you want to hear, it might just be entirely streamable on Spotify for free. The royalties for the free service are made up for with advertisements, but many bands and labels have been unsatisfied with the meager payout.

Recently, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke spoke out against the service and pulled his new project Atoms for Peace. Spotify’s “Ambassador of Rock Music” and Disturbed frontman David Draiman took to Disturbed’s Facebook page to issue an open letter to Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, wherein he momentarily turned off his typically omnipresent capslock to drop some serious knowledge.



In response to the recent hubub over Nigel Godrich and Thom Yorke pulling their new Atoms for Peace record from Spotify, I have the following to say.


The days of the hard copy product have been over for quite some time. All artists these days are dealing with a frustrating situation when it comes to generating revenue and awareness of our respective projects, wether they be new ones, or established. 
Make no mistake that the reason for the current state of reduced revenues for new artists is piracy, and NOT Spotify.

All artists who actually write their own songs have publishing royalties. Those royalties, unless your songs become hits, are minute, compared to the profit generated from mp3 sales or hard record (cd/vinyl) sales. We’ve known that and dealt with that all of our careers. Would any songwriter out there be looking to divest themselves from the publishing infrastructure and risk loosing the potential revenue that can come from the spins a hit song generates? Of course not. Spotify is simply an alternate form of potential revenue stream much in the same way publishing royalties can be. It was never meant to be a replacement for the old retail infrastructure, it was meant to make Piracy obsolete by providing an amazing online service, at a reasonable cost to the user/music fan. You cut off Spotify, and you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. 

If you really want to take issue with someone, take issue with the license holders of your songs and the rate you’ve contractually negotiated with them, not Spotify. Unlike streaming entities like Pandora for example, Spotify has never attempted to try to further limit license holders royalties in favor of a larger profit margin. 
The level of awareness generated by Spotify for new artists, having the engine searching your existing playlists and tastes, with the right Spotify applications such as Spotify radio, can bring your music to the ears of millions of new potential fans that just random placement on some bittorent site would never do.

You can’t fight the future or the advancement of technology, it is pointless. There are those who have tried to cling to an antiquated retail infrastructure, that have quickly become extinct before they ever even had a chance to thrive. Do not try to coerce a new generation of fledgling artists into a stance which would be incredibly counter-productive for them, and their development of their respective brands/music.

In closing, Spotify has given us a platform to finally combat piracy on a real level, created an entirely new and separate revenue stream, and brings us closer to the potential fans out there that are truly thirsting for what we have created in an efficient and economic manner. 

Would you rather the world simply steal your music?


David Draiman

Intoxication Records
Ambassador of Rock at Spotify

It’s easy to give David Draiman a hard time, but he hit the nail on the head this time. He’s got the facts on his side; legally available alternatives curb piracy. Torrentfreak breaks it down:

“When you have a good legitimate offer, the people will use it,” says Olav Torvund, former law professor at the University of Oslo.

“There is no excuse for illegal copying, but when you get an offer that does not cost too much and is easy to use, it is less interesting to download illegally.”

The dramatic reduction in audio piracy suggests that the music industry has responded most effectively and that theory is backed up by stats in the report.

Of those questioned for the survey, 47% (representing around 1.7 million people) said they use a streaming music service such as Spotify. Even more impressively, just over half (corresponding to 920,000 people and 25% of Norwegian Internet users) said that they pay for the premium option.

It’s starting to become common knowledge in the entertainment industry that when you make your content accessible in user-friendly and affordable ways, then piracy decreases. Digital video game service Steam showed this when they extended their services to Eastern Europe, where piracy is rampant. With Steam’s affordable discounts and ease of availability, more people were actually buying games. Previously, games were either overpriced or not made available entirely, which resulted in more piracy, which then resulted in higher prices and less availability. It was a vicious cycle until Steam came along and broke the status quo.

For music, services like Spotify do the same. Like it or not, even if fans are going to buy a record at all, they likely want to be able to stream it first. I for one would rather load up Spotify or another official stream than go through the trouble of finding and downloading an album. You have to ask yourself; would you rather get the meager money Spotify offers or nothing at all? It’s common sense, and David Draiman’s on the right side of it this time.

Now here’s hoping he’ll keep his capslock turned off for good.

– JR



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