AIM Stands Up For Indies Against Apple, So Where Were They On Spotify?

Alison Wenham of the UK Association of Independent Music helpfully pointed out the problems with the 3-month free trial for apple music.

“The main sticking point is Apple’s decision to allow a royalty free, 3-month trial period to all new subscribers. This means that no royalties will be paid through to rights holders during that 3-month period.

This is a major problem for any label that relies on new releases rather than deep catalogue as the potential for this free trial to cannabalize not only download sales, which remain a very important revenue stream, but also streaming income from other services, is enormous.”

She makes an excellent point.   The free period would pay no royalties and has the potential (like all free streaming services) to cannibalize sales and subscription streaming revenue.  So this brings up an excellent point.  Where has AIM been when it comes to Spotify? Cause it does exactly the same thing?


Real Spotify revenue data from a moderately sized independent label 2014. Broken down by free, premium and trial tiers.


As we have demonstrated over and over again here on this blog Spotify free tier in the US pays about 1/7th per spin compared to the premium tier.   AND since Spotify requires that your entire catalogue be available on both the free and premium tier, this simply allows the free tier to cannibalize not just sales but also spins on the higher paying premium tier.   That is, Spotify does exactly what Wenham accuses Apple of doing.

While we certainly appreciate AIM and Wenham rallying and defending the indie community against Apples predatory pricing,  it also illustrates the hypocrisy of  advocates for indie music industry when it comes to Spotify.   AIM’s licensing partner MERLIN has been a strident defender of all things Spotify.  This blog was singled out early on by MERLIN for mildly criticizing Spotify.  We suspect this is because Indie labels got stock in Spotify and they are willing to look the other way.  Either that or MERLIN is corrupt.  And I do mean corrupt in a legal way. Like there exists some sort of quid pro quo to defend and favor Spotify in the digital streaming space.  Let us not forget that MERLIN  cooked up a likely illegal and anti-competitive deal with Pandora in which indie labels trade lower rates for more spins.  This certainly meets the letter of the law for Payola in the US.

We’d like to see AIM apply the same logic to Spotify free tier, because it’s increasing looking like they are giving Spotify a pass.   Given that we now have multiple anti-competitive investigations into Apple  in the EU, DOJ and New York and Connecticut AG offices, this is starting to  look like “lawfare” between Spotify and Apple with the indie community as partisans.  Apple partisans are already whispering that the EU action is “backdoor protectionism.”  This is a terrible mistake for indies and artists.  We might never get a fair shake from these institutions again.  And there is gonna come a time when we need these government institutions to defend our economic interests.

DMN Says It’s Unlikely Spotify Pays More to Rights Holders Than Apple Does

In the dust up surrounding the Apple Music Launch and the leaked agreement that lead to speculation that Apple was paying indies less than the often heard 70% to rights holders an interesting thing happened.

Industry executives and commenters at Digital Music News reported that Spotify was also paying indies less than 70% and closer to the 58%, or less than Apple.

Update to June 15th, and Apple is not only stating that they are paying 70%, but a more aggressive 71.5% to 73% of revenues depending on territory.

But what makes this that much more interesting is that Spotify has now been outed as NOT paying the commonly accepted 70% of revenues and also has NOT responded to the claims being made at Digital Music News…

So how much is Spotify actually paying? So much for openness and transparency…


Major Online Businesses are Unregulated Monopolies : Jon Taplin USC Lecture Chapter 4 [Video]

The USC Lecture Serialized Into Chapters for easier viewing. Chapter 4, Major Online Businesses are Unregulated Monopolies.

Read The Blog Post Here:

Watch the Full Lecture Here:

Techno-determinism and Internet Fundamentalism : Jon Taplin USC Lecture Chapter 3 [Video]

The USC Lecture Serialized Into Chapters for easier viewing. Chapter 3, Techno-determinism and Internet Fundamentalism.

Read The Blog Post Here:

Watch the Full Lecture Here:

#irespectmusic Invades the Boardroom: @sivers Calls Out How Pandora Hides Its War on Songwriters from Shareholders


I Believe Castle and Sivers are largely right on Pandora. But there is an alternative hypothesis to consider. The very public nature of Pandora’s fight against Songwriters and Performers was designed to keep their stock price high while insiders sold millions in stock. By some measure the stock compensation to executives has reached 1//2 a billion dollars. Quite rich for a company that continues to lose money. Now that court rulings are going against them -Pandora lost to BMI and the Turtles case looks very bad for them- they are silent on these issues. Why? To keep their stock prices high. I continue to maintain that Pandora is no longer simply an issue for songwriters and performers. I believe the SEC should investigate on behalf of shareholders.

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A common criticism of both public and private companies that waste the stockholder’s money is “where was the board?”  The company’s board of directors are charged by stockholders with providing the first line of oversight over a runaway executive team that act against the company’s interest.

If the board fails in its role, one of the ways that individual stockholders can call executives and board members to account is by attending an annual meeting.  Most of the attending stockholders have already voted by proxy (often by proxies given to vote in line with recommendations of the company’s board of directors–who are usually a slate approved by the company’s senior management.  Unfortunately for the attending stockholders, given the proxy system, voting at an annual meeting is quite the kabuki dance as…

View original 997 more words

Hell Has Not Frozen Over: The Absurdity of the Spotify Antitrust Investigations into Apple Music


Must Read from Music Tech Policy…

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

You’ve probably heard that Apple and the major labels are being “investigated” over Apple Music by the Department of Justice, the European Commission as well as State attorneys general for New York and Connecticut.  Understand that the way most of these investigations get started is that someone complained, most likely subscription service monopolist Spotify and Internet monopolist Google in this case.  That would be the same Google that has a Spotify board seat.  (Remember, Kara Swisher reported in Re/code that Omid Kordestani, chief business officer of Google, joined the Spotify board, and a former YouTube product head Shishir Mehrotra left Google to become a special adviser to CEO Daniel Ek and the company’s management.)

So why might Spotify and Google complain to antitrust authorities?  For one reason, Google knows every single one of them and Google’s General Counsel Kent Walker has them all on speed dial (that would be the Kent Walker…

View original 1,090 more words

8pm Monday June 22nd NYC : Jon Taplin “Sleeping Through a Revolution”

Sleeping Through a Revolution; The Moral Framework of the Technology Revolution

When: Monday, June 22, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.
Where: The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY

This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited.  


The National Arts Club is located at 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY.

Please note jackets are required after 5pm in the bar area for gentlemen, while ladies are required to wear clothing of equivalent formality.

Artists Rights Postcards from COPYLIKE.ORG

For those who may have missed these, always worth repeating.

Music is Free!

We Do This For The Love

Pay Creators Like You Pay Everyone Else

It’s Not Stealing, Are You Sure?

Evil Corporations, We Don’t Like Them!

If You Like Open Source and Creative Commons

Defend Copyright.
It’s All We Have Left.

“YouTube for YouTube” @midem: @davidclowery and @theblakemorgan Review “YouTube For Artists” Part 2


Blake Morgan answers the same questions about YouTube for Artists as David Lowery in Part 2

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

In a crescendo of antagonism starting with the Sony Pictures hack that leaked confidential documents demonstrating that the film studios have had it with Google, Google’s lawsuit against a state attorney general seeking to stop his investigation of Google’s bad behavior and the leak by somebody of the Spotify agreement with Sony Music, the New York Post reports that YouTube (Google’s wholly-owned subsidiary) is going to the MIDEM conference this week for the purpose of attacking the record company/artist relationship.

I find this to be particularly bizarre given that Google has also formed a massive coalition fighting against artist rights in league with familiar faces like Pandora, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Digital Media Association (DiMA), the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and a host of others.  After doing that, YouTube’s attack on labels at MIDEM is triangulation of the first water particularly…

View original 1,900 more words