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Foals’ Yannis Philippakis wades into Spotify debate

By | Published on Wednesday 30 October 2013


Following on from the likes of Nigel Godrich, Thom Yorke and David Byrne, Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis has now come out against Spotify. So that’s fun. We must remember to post him his “Spotify is evil” badge.

Speaking to Channel 4 News ahead of tonight’s Mercury Prize ceremony (where his band are nominated), Philippakis said: “I’d rather somebody stole the record on vinyl than bought it or streamed it on Spotify. Because I think you should listen to music on vinyl, and I think basically anything’s better than that”.

Now, I know he appears to be saying there that he’d much rather people stole his record than bought it, but I think that’s just because he doesn’t realise how Spotify works. And not knowing how something works is always a brilliant position to start from when criticising it. Well done, Yannis.

He continued: “It’s like going to a restaurant when the chef and all the waiting staff have worked their asses off, and you leave coppers as a tip, and you don’t even pay the bill. That’s basically what Spotify’s like, I think”.

Once you’ve got your head around that metaphor, Music Ally has gone ahead and done the maths on the “coppers” that Spotify has paid out on Foal’s Mercury-nominated third album ‘Holy Fire’ so far. Of course, exactly what Spotify pays out via any one deal, beyond its assertion that 70% of its revenues go back to the music industry over all, is a closely guarded secret. But based on reported figures, MA reckons Philippakis and co’s label, Warner Music, will have received somewhere between £69,355 and £207,572 from Spotify play.

That will then be added to monies received from download sales, physical record sales (luckily for Yannis, record shops have to pay for stock even if it is subsequently stolen) and syncs, and then be split between the label and the band, based on their contract. Who can then add it to their share of any publishing income, paid by Spotify or anyone else, plus gig, merch and other monies. So, it’s probably more like if you ate a seven course meal, noting that, while some courses weren’t as big as others, all were an important part of the whole experience.

Is that confusing enough for you? Well anyway, at least we now know once and for all that stealing vinyl is the only way to hear music properly. I’m off down the shops.