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Details Emerge As Indie Label Leaves Spotify

September 21, 2011  |  11:32am
Details Emerge As Indie Label Leaves Spotify

As LA Weekly reported earlier this week, Prosthetic Records—a metal indie label based out of L.A., which is home to artists like Lamb of God and All That Remains—has started to pull its music off Spotify. The blog post says that this makes Prosthetic the third L.A. label to pull its music from the web service.

We caught up with Prosthetic Records co-owner E.J. Johantgen, who shed some light on the label’s reasoning for leaving the ultra-popular music service.

“I didn’t expect it to be much, and I knew that it was little, but the way it was being presented was that it would save the music business,” Johantgen told Paste. “And then you get your statement, and there’s no way in hell it’s gonna save the music business. Not to mention an artist is going to see a fraction of a fraction of a penny, and it’s like, ‘What’s the point?’”

Prosthetic’s involvement with Spotify started when the service was based in Europe. Johantgen said it wasn’t until Spotify started gaining popularity in Europe when he became concerned with returns from the service, which he said sometimes amounted to “fractions of cents.” He said that a request was filed in July to remove songs from the U.S. service, but an undeterminable number of Prosthetic releases are still available on Spotify and are in the process of being removed.

“Ultimately, at the end of the day, how can that business model stay?” Johantgen said. “And I can only speak to myself. Maybe the majors are making more per play or per whatever hundred plays than I am.”

But not every label feels that way about the service. Last month Earache Records’ Al Dawson commented on the service in a statement to Metal Insider.

“I think it is no coincidence that when Spotify launched here in the USA, we also had our best ever month of sales on iTunes,” Dawson said. “Spotify is just one of the many new ways that fans can find and listen to new music by our recording artists and should be seen as that and nothing more.”

This comes days after a band released their earnings from the service. Uniform Motion released a blog post detailing their earnings from the service, which was followed up promptly by a statement from Spotify.

Uniform Motion stated in their blog that they make about €.003 per song play on the service, but a statement from Spotify said that earnings were not based per stream:

“Spotify does not sell streams, but access to music. Users pay for this access either via a subscription fee or with their ear time via the ad-supported service (just like commercial radio) — they do not pay per stream. In other words, Spotify is not a unit based business and it does not make sense to look at revenues from Spotify from a per stream or other music unit-based point of view. Instead, one must look at the overall revenues that Spotify is generating, and how these revenues grow over time.”

Andrew Richards of Uniform Motion told Paste that the band came up with the numbers through their aggregation service, which showed the amount of money they were making and a number of streams they had. The post was made in an attempt to show fans the difference between buying an album and streaming it on Spotify.

“Our intention was not to pinpoint Spotify and pick a fight with them,” Richards said. “We were just telling our fanbase what the reality is. So if one of our fans thinks they’re going to listen to the album everyday for two years, they’re going to financially support us as much as someone who buys a 12” vinyl.” Richards later added “They’re not lying when they say that the amount per stream changes all the time.”

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