Joanna Newsom Calls Spotify a ‘Musician-Hating Machine’
Joanna Newsom’s catalog -- which will soon include the upcoming Divers -- is notably absent from Spotify’s library, and in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, she opened up as to why that's the case: It’s a “villainous cabal,” a “garbage system” and a “musician-hating machine.”
As the music industry evolves and artists watch their royalties shrink, Newsom appears to believe Spotify is one of the single-most guilty parties involved:
Spotify is like a villainous cabal of major labels. The business is built from the ground up as a way to circumvent the idea of paying their artists. The major labels were not particularly happy with the fact that as the royalty money dwindled more and more, their portion of the percentage split agreed upon in their licensing agreement got smaller and smaller.
Newsom noted that artists often get trapped in undesirable contracts with their labels that exacerbate the situation:
So someone came up with a great idea that if they start a streaming company, they can make those percentages even smaller. Infinitesimal, because they can make their money from advertising and subscription, and they don’t have to pay their artists anything for that. So it’s set up in a way that they can just rob their artists, and most of their artists have no way to fight it because they’re contractually obligated to stay with the label for x amount of time and you can’t really opt out. It’s a garbage system.
Newsom admitted that Spotify is a “genius idea” and if it redistributed its revenue in a way that better compensated artists, she’d change her tune. “If it wasn’t such a cynical and musician-hating system, I would be all for it,” she commented.
Newsom’s music does appear on Pandora due to a particular agreement with her label. As for Jay Z’s Tidal, Newsom said she has to do more research but believes it was designed to rectify “the issues that make Spotify so very evil.”