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Spotify to announce Led Zeppelin exclusive

By | Published on Wednesday 11 December 2013


Spotify will today announce an exclusive deal with Led Zeppelin to provide the band’s catalogue on the streaming service, according to The New York Times. To date Led Zep have not allowed their music to be available on any streaming platforms, only making their music available digitally at all (officially speaking) since 2007.

The band’s reps have reportedly been in negotiations with various streaming services, including Rdio and Rhapsody, since January this year, with rumours that an imminent launch on Spotify circulating since the summer.

In addition to this, and as previously reported, Spotify is expected to announce a new free streaming option on its mobile app. Previously, outside America (where Spotify’s radio function has been available for free through mobile devices for some time), only top-tier paying customers have had access to Spotify’s mobile app.

The new free version will feature limited functionality, but presumably – as more users access music via their phones and other portable devices, and with competition from new services courtesy of YouTube and Beats Music arriving in the new year – Spotify feels it needs to engage freemium users via mobile in some way too.

Elsewhere in Spotify news, the quest to divide up all musicians into ‘pro-Spotify’ and ‘anti-Spotify’ continues. Though unfortunately for all of us, The National and Peter Gabriel haven’t firmly come out on either side, which frankly makes a mockery of the whole system.

Speaking to The Independent, The National’s guitarist Aaron Dessner said: “I use Spotify and it’s great to have all the catalogue of great 20th and 21st Century music at your fingertips. [Though] we have one of the most-streamed songs on Spotify [and] it’s not going to make up a lot of revenue right now. Someday that could change”.

He continued: “I still believe in making albums and creating a product with great artwork. I don’t think Spotify should be a replacement for that experience. [But] if it encourages people to like our music and go to our shows that’s a good thing”.

Though, honing in more onto the Spotify business model, he went on: “They need to get the economics right for artists or there’s no point in legal streaming. It has to work for artists with a smaller catalogue who are struggling. A jazz album that someone streams once or twice isn’t going to make any revenue. Hopefully Spotify will shift to a more artist cognitive model like iTunes has done”.

Of course if that unpopular jazz album can’t make any money, then perhaps it shouldn’t have been made at all. Aw, come on, don’t look at me like that, I was joking. All jazz should be banned.

Peter Gabriel is perhaps one of the more interesting artists to be asked his view on Spotify, he having been a co-founder and investor in We7 – originally an ad-supported free download service, but latterly a streaming platform in various forms, more recently acquired and repackaged by Tesco as Blinkbox Music.

Like Dessner, Gabriel is seemingly a Spotify user, but in an interview with Rolling Stone he has expressed concern about the business side (though those concerns are not, he seemed to say, behind the occasional disappearance of Gabriel’s own catalogue from the Spotify system, something he couldn’t explain).

Said Pete: “I have a problem with Spotify. It’s a great service and I love being able to get anything anytime. But they made a deliberate decision to get in bed with the record companies. They gave them equity positions, which means they can make payments to them without paying the artists. I have a fundamental ethical problem with that. I wish they were just a little more respectful to the artists”.

On the royalties signed artists receive, he went on: “They are making all these deals, but the payments are so minuscule and way out of line with what the record companies are making. 20, 30, even 50 years of hard-won compensations and rights are being lost. It’s not critical to successful artists because we can make money from live shows, but younger artists are going to have to start taking other jobs”.

Calling for more transparency on those equity deals between Spotify (and other services) and the labels – arguably a necessary evil to convince the majors to sign up to any service prior to launch, but now certainly something of millstone around Spotify’s neck – Gabriel added: “Bono and I met with Daniel Ek. He was as nice enough guy and I understand they have to keep their stockholders happy … I feel very strong that, at the very least, we deserve transparency. What deals have been made with every record company? Show us your accounts”.

Clearly Spotify’s recent attempt to provide more transparency, with its new Spotify Artists website, is not going to quell calls for more information on how it makes payments and who stands to win big if and when the digital firm floats.