Let’s Get Real with Jeff Paulick is a sporadic column on Metal Insider featuring the thoughts and opinions from Lazarus A.D.singer/bassist Jeff Paulick. He’ll be sharing his views on everything from the music industry to life on the road (and everything in between).
So it’s been forever (forever, foreva eva, for eva eva?) since my last blog and I apologize for that, I’ve been extremely busy with work (no not the musical kind, the kind that pays the bills unfortunately) but I’m here with you today, so, lets start debating some interesting music business topics shall we?
This past week a press release went out about Spotify revenue and the impact on indie labels. I’m sure you all read it, otherwise you wouldn’t even be glancing at this petty blog, but apparently these indie labels are starting to see some good numbers coming their way, which is awesome. I’m never gonna know how badly the indies are getting screwed compared to majors (because majors have a share in the total net profit), and the only way I will ever know is if I actually start working for a label….doesn’t really seem like the best idea right now, Roadrunner UK anyone? That shit sucks so fucking bad. The biggest metal label in the world started closing down offices. Let me emphasize biggest and started. Because this is only the beginning. The domino effect will take effect, and it’s gonna get ugly fast. But back to what I really care about, which isn’t the lack of dividends the indies receive from a streaming service like Spotify. My concern has to deal with something that the founder of Spotify Daniel Ek said in this press release:
“Do you really want to hold back your album from people who are finally paying for music again? If you think that by doing so you’re getting them to buy your album on a CD, or as an album download, again, there’s absolutely no evidence to back that theory up. Your album’s getting shared en masse over BitTorrent, over YouTube. It’s there, right now — but you decide that it’s the paying, loyal music fans that should lose out. It makes no sense.”
Well here’s my fucking evidence. Since I have joined Spotify, I have not illegally downloaded a single album and or bought a record from a store. I simply have had no need to do so. I have everything I need in my $10 a month service(well maybe implement an equalizer into the mobile app). To say I am a happy consumer is a gross understatement. I feel like I’m 15 again, discovering so much new music at a rate I can’t even comprehend. Finding new genres, new albums, new LIFE for my starving musical pallet. I mean, bands I would NEVER purchase in store, or even care to delve into after hearing a 30 second snippet on a myspace page. But because I have discographies at my disposal, it has allowed me to actually get into these bands the way I got into bands like In Flames, Iced Earth, Children of Bodom, insert obscure early 2000’s metal band here (#tr0lls—I understand that none of these bands started in the early 2000’s, but that’s when I discovered them).
And now comes my real gripe with the whole rant. I’m sticking to my guns on this whole downloading thing. I used to download fucking everything. When I was a kid, I bought a SHIT ton of CDs, but the ones I couldn’t find, I downloaded. I don’t want to do that anymore. A perfect example is the new Animals as Leaders. It’s been out for a grip, and I own the debut. I have yet to hear the new one. And the reason I haven’t is because Prosthetic holds out on Spotify. Now I know I could get this record illegally. I could get it burned from a friend, fan, etc. Shit, I could probably just email Prosthetic and get a copy for free. But that would defy the principle. I WANT these labels to bend. I want them to be forced to utilize this amazing service. Kudos to Earache, they just seem to get it (IE: they put my band on a compilation when every label denied us before we were signed). But shame on the rest. I know the label I am signed to holds out, BUT, they do have a handful of records on there. And I really don’t know why, and there are other labels that hold out that have certain songs/records on there as well. Metal Blade holds out yet has Allegaeon’s Fragments of Form and Function and Lazarus A.D.’s Black Rivers Flow. And Roadrunner who doesn’t hold out has every Trivium record except Shogun. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE SENSE OF THIS. (As I write this I am jamming August Burns Red’s Leveler, an album I discovered on Spotify last year, and would never have heard because of that whole christian scene stigma, but hey guess what, this record is fucking awesome).
In the end, it’s gonna be a massive battle until one side asserts a dominance that can’t be combated. And I’m not saying Spotify or its founders deserve the Nobel Peace Prize or anything. But I do know you can only defy the laws of nature for so long. We have been an ever evolving species since our inception, and the ones fighting the current are going to be lost at sea. I am more excited about music at this very moment than I have ever been in my entire life. I’m sick of these old mentality and money hungry asshats prohibiting paying customers, real deal fans, of experiencing new music on a legal medium like Spotify. You aren’t the cool kids anymore, get with it.
I’d like to thank Sam Adam’s Summer Sampler and Tanqueray for fueling this blog. Metal up your ass.