- 23 Jul 20
Ultan Conlon, Patrick M. Barrett, Sive and Emma Langford are among those joining the debate
There's been a massive reaction from other Irish artists to Luka Bloom's announcement that he won't be placing his new album, Bittersweet Crimson, on Spotify and other streaming services in an attempt to maximise physical and download sales.
"When you experience the music of a band/singer you love by streaming, you only support the people who created the streaming service," the veteran folk man reflects. "The person who created the music receives virtually nothing of the money you have chosen to invest in their music."
Read his full statement at https://www.hotpress.com/music/luka-bloom-announces-that-his-new-album-wont-be-available-on-spotify-other-streaming-services-22823165
"I released an album on April 17 and was pleasantly surprised with the physical sales on both CD and vinyl," Ultan Conlon tells Hot Press. "Really made me wonder if it was the only place it was available how much more would I have sold. There’s nothing quite like someone buying your music in a physical package."
Adds Hedge Schools and Arrivalists man Patrick M. Barrett: "I took the last Hedge Schools record Magnificent Birds down off it last week Stuart. The other two albums will come down off it too once the term of them runs out. Paying a server to put them up onto Spotify costs money. And that's money you just don't see a return from.
"I've received more income from releasing new Arrivalists work on Bandcamp in the last 12 weeks than I'd see for five years of Spotify streams. To an independent artist like me that means upgrading a PC, a new microphone and a continuance of work. Spotify is like a chocolate teapot."
Patrick referred us to K.T. Tunstall's recent BBC interview in which she states that: "It pays artists and songwriters very badly." Scroll down for it and the Spotify response.
"This is something we are giving serious consideration to," say electrpop duo Eden. "It’s a double edged sword though as we have so many listeners across the world who find us through those platforms."
"At last a musician makes a stand against Spotify et al," says music activist Donal Scannell who made RTÉ's recent David Gray documentary. "Massive respect to Luka Bloom and I hope he's the first of many. Spotify are only interested in selling a lifestyle product that gives them the biggest margin. Don't be suckered into their awful deals. Music's too important."
Indie merchants One Morning In August say: "We'll be releasing our debut album on all platforms but only actively promoting it on Bandcamp. As a new band it's handy to have a lot of pages to land on if people Google our name but only Bandcamp shows a return."
"For household names like Luka, I can understand this move," Limerick singer-songwriter Emma Langford reflects. "I definitely don't think I'd have the platform to be able to take my discography off Spotify and have the same reach - until Irish radio pull their socks up and support Irish artists more, streaming plays a vital role.
"It's a necessary evil - in my experience it's worth having some if not all my music on Spotify - we need to see it for what it is, a business card. I've discovered and enjoyed tons of independent artists through Spotify - anyone whose music I love, I'll go ahead and buy their CDs."
Echoing those sentiments, Sive says: "I think only musicians with a big following who are guaranteed to go and seek out their music if it's not on Spotify can afford to do this."
Synth artist Circuit3 offers this interesting take: "I didn’t put my first album on Spotify until the vinyl and CD had sold out. As an experiment I put my second album on Spotify and while it has done well and is almost sold-out the rate of sales is much slower. The answer I think is to put singles or EP selection on Spotify."
"Fair play to Luka Bloom," enthuses Zamo Riffman. "Maybe that’s the way forward for original artists to start getting paid for their work again."
His fellow singer-songwriter Eugene Donegan agrees: "Well done Luka, musicians can’t produce music if they’re not getting paid for it especially now with the live scene decimated. We need to find a new streaming service for independent acts with a greater pay out to the music creators."
Offering a music lover's perspective is Ron Davies: "As a fan, I spend more on music because of Spotify. I find more/smaller acts, go to their gigs, wear the swag, and buy the CDs. Spotify's revenue sharing ain't good, but if fans didn't treat this as a substitute for supporting their favourite bands, this wouldn't be a problem."
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) June 25, 2020