- 31 Jul 20
"Daniel Ek's vision of the future includes turning musicians into factory bots churning out frozen hamburger music for no one but the algorithm," adds Zola Jesus
While generally keeping a bit of a low profile these days, REM man Mike Mills was straight on to Twitter yesterday following comments made by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek about musicians needing to be more productive.
"Some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape," Ek reflected, "where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.
"What is required from successful musicians," he continued, "is a deeper, more consistent, and prolonged commitment than in the past. The artists today that are making it realise that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”
Having mulled that over for a few minutes, Mills responded: "Music=product, and must be churned out regularly, says billionaire Daniel Ek. Go fuck yourself."
Mills isn't the only musicians whose feathers have been ruffled by Ek's pronouncements.
David Crosby is only marginally more polite with his "You are an obnoxious greedy little shit Daniel Ek" tweet.
"Yeah, because your company only pays $0.00331 per stream and then that gets split between the artist(s), management, business manager, lawyer and label," Chet Porter proffers.
Geoff Barrow's first response was: "So basically he’s saying, 'Give us your music all the time as soon as you can even if it’s shite , we will decide if it fits our criteria and promote only what we see as worthy for playlist selection whilst still paying almost nothing to the artist.'"
Having thought about it for a while the Portishead man added: "After reading this again it’s actually worse... He is actually blaming musicians themselves for not being able to survive of Spotify royalties? This is also at a time when artist can’t tour because of Covid. What a asshole Daniel Ek is. He’s got no fuckin' idea."
Opines Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake: "This only works if you view music purely as a commodity, which is how Daniel Ek views it. Some artists are more prolific than others. Sometimes it's difficult to find the inspiration to write something that you're happy with."
"Daniel Ek has no idea what he’s talking about," Joan Osborne reflects. "He has never created any music in his life and has zero right to tell any working musician what they can and can’t do. STFU, asshat."
Welcoming Mills' comments, former Dublin indie merchants Revelino, who are planning a series of re-releases, message: |"Hard to imagine how we could love REM even mor but here we go. Get in Mike Mills. Any more big guns gonna join in on behalf of most musicians? Defo getting out Murmur now before I go into town to buy Fontaines D.C.'s new record on coloured vinyl."
Zola Jesus' take is: "It is extremely clear that Spotify billionaire Daniel Ek has never made music, or art of any kind for that matter. He refuses to understand there's a difference between commodities and art. The potential for cultural growth will suffer because of it.
"We are living in an age that encourages artists to make weaker work at a faster rate," she continues."That level of pressure and de-prioritization of quality is the antithesis to great work, and in such case, we will have a surplus of shitty music. Is that really what we want? Or need? Daniel Ek's vision of the future includes turning musicians into factory bots churning out frozen hamburger music for no one but the algorithm."
"What an utter pillock," adds Hattie Cook, a Brighton-based indie singer. "He obviously has no idea how long it actually takes to create an album and have people hear it when you don’t have a team of 100 people to help you write/record/produce/market/manufacture/distribute it."
We've tried to balance the argument out by finding a musician who publicly agrees with Daniel Ek's comments but, try as we might, we can't currently find one.
Music=product, and must be churned out regularly, says billionaire Daniel Ek.
Go fuck yourself. https://t.co/zJjl3NWjLl
— Mike Mills 🌿 (@m_millsey) July 31, 2020