Universal digital chief sticks up for Spotify

By | Published on Tuesday 8 November 2011

Rob Wells

So, Universal Music’s digital chief Rob Wells has given an interesting interview with Topspin CEO Ian Rogers, which we recommend you go and watch. Though it is just under an hour long, so if you can’t be bothered, well, here’s the thing most people have honed in, his viewpoint on Spotify.

He says he likes the Swedish streaming music service – both the company itself and its subscription-based freemium-promoted business model – and that he doesn’t buy the argument some have been putting around of late that big artists may lose record sales by making their new albums available to Spotify users.

Says Rob: “I’m a fan of [Spotify’s] model. I’m not just a fan of that company – although they’re all great guys, they’ve got great tech, great engineering, and the Facebook integration is amazing – but I’m a fan of that model. Why? Because that’s clearly what consumers – some consumers – want. There’s a massive debate raging throughout the whole of the industry [at the moment] about does [having new music on Spotify] cannibalise [record sales income]. But what if it’s incremental revenue and not cannibalistic revenue? That’s additional money”.

With that in mind, what does he make of the likes of EMI-signed Coldplay choosing not to put their new album on Spotify? He continues: “I do find it quite irritating when bands decide they don’t want to [use Spotify]. As an industry we should be showing some sort of solidarity, because there is a wave of customers – the demographic on these services is between sixteen and 22-24 – and the disappointing thing about a band like Coldplay doing this, is that consumers who are on these services are not going to turn away and buy that album on iTunes. [So] they may miss out [on those customers]”.

You can see the full interview here: