Lily Allen: Spotify is not the enemy – Tidal may boost pirate sites

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The industry debate over ad-supported ‘free’ music (and Tidal’s place within it) continues to rage. Now we have some interesting comments on the subject from a prominent artist – Lily Allen.

But first, a catch-up: as part of their current streaming licence renegotiation, Universal, Sony and Warner are believed to be putting pressure on Spotify to reduce its free offering to fans.

Meanwhile, the majors are also understood to be arranging timed exclusive (‘windowed’) releases on paid-for Spotify alternatives – particularly Apple’s upcoming a la carte streaming service, expected to launch in June.

“Taylor Swift owns her recording rights. Most of us don’t. Yet.”

Lily Allen

Jay Z’s Tidal is another such a premium-only service, which is already benefitting from ‘windowed’ exclusives from artists including Rihanna and Beyonce.

But there is a strong counter argument to this tactic: harm the offering freemium services like Spotify, say some parties, and you’ll push a generation back towards YouTube or, worse, well-known torrent sites.

Lily Allen has now posted a series of tweets on the topic, expressing her concern that Tidal could result in “people swarming back to pirate sites in droves”.

Below you can read a collection of her thoughts on the matter, including her responses to followers who questioned her concerns (‘fan’ questions are underlined).

  • I love Jay Z so much, but TIDAL is soon expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services. He’s taken the biggest artists & made them exclusive to TIDAL (am i right in thinking this ?), people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves sending traffic to torrent sites.
  • Up and coming (not yet millionaires) artists are going to suffer as a result. Maybe I’m missing something, and really it’s amazing and will change everything for the better.

[Allen then suggests she wanted to learn more about the service before making up her mind. But the sight of 16 of the world’s richest artists taking equity in Tidal clearly riled her.]

  • WE COULD JUST STRIKE TILL THE LABELS GIVE US OUR FAIR SHARE OF STREAMING REVENUE,NOT TAKE ADVANCES, NOT DELIVER MUSIC, FOR THE FUTURE ARTIST… A REAL REVOLUTION YEAH……….. GUYS………… GUYS…………. USHER?………. MADGE……. DAFT PUNKS ?? GUYS ???? *WAVES AT YACHT*
  • I really don’t give a fuck about the music industry, well, I care about a few good eggs that work within it and am grateful to the people who have helped me develop as an artist. My concern is that Tidal may set emerging artists back.
  • Hosting exclusive consent from the biggest stars on the planet on a paying platform: while I agree with its intention, I fear it will send people back to pirate/torrent sites.

[The official Tidal account then confirms that 75% of its revenues would be paid back to artists – a slightly higher payout than Spotify’s 70%.]

  • Wow, so if you’re a co-owning artist you see a cut of the 25% profit, and let’s face it, probably a larger chunk of the 75% than most artists.
  • Let’s face it Jigga dropped 60 mill on a website, he probably has good long term intentions, he is a business man though.
  • He managed to find some people self important and delusional enough to spiel that ‘for the artist’ crap while clawing bk some capital.
  • Let him take care of his business damn, I hear you cry. Or ……….. “Let them eat Drake” , thank you thank you.
  • All the people yelling at me saying I’m just jealous cause I’m not as rich or relevant as the ‘Tidal16’ . I’ve been in this business 10 years. If I wanted to be relevant or as rich as the Tidal16, I wouldn’t still be working in music. Or I would have shut up and played the game long time ago.
  • Spotify pay out the but the artists aren’t getting the money, so where is it going I wonder ?? Spotify is not the enemy of the artist

“I’m not against tidal… Just don’t try and mask it as some charitable offering like you’re ‘giving something back’ when [you] could be sending more traffic to pirate sites.”

I normally agree with you but but I just don’t agree music should be free at artist’s detriment

  • I don’t think music should be free, at all. But I’m afraid that we have to adapt as the world and technology advances.
  • I care about the future of music, I care not for the current business structure.

Both [Spotify and Tidal] follow the same business model, it’s up to the labels to pay the artist. Why attack tidal?

  • BECAUSE THEY SOLD A WHOLE BUNCH OF ARTISTS CURRENTLY IN DEALS OUT, IN THE NAME OF ART.
  • SPOTIFY AREN’T CLAIMING TO BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN A STREAMING SERVICE, WHY SHOULD THEY, THEY’RE A STREAMING SERVICE.

At the end of the day, the labels get the money. So why is she against Tidal?

  • Again, I’m not against Tidal – anyone can start a business, just don’t try and mask it as some charitable offering like you’re “giving something back” ” taking a stand” “protecting the art”, when actually they could be sending more traffic to pirate sites.
  • [Tidal’s] hosting “exclusive content” from the biggest stars on the planet. If you can’t afford Tidal and you really wanna see Kanye’s new video, are you gonna wait a week till it goes everywhere or go get it now?

Don’t you think artist should have control of their content?

  • YES of course I do, but they spoke for Artists and MUSIC but only consulted rich ones with nothing to lose.

Why don’t you use your affiliates to find out more about [Tidal] and what they can offer you?

  • I have done, and I’m not remotely impressed. It’s not new, not right now anyway, and I’ve got two kids and a great big mortgage to think about, and I’ve spent enough time talking about it now. I’m going to have a bath.

[A follower argues it’s not up to Lily Allen where her music ends up. Another follower replies: ‘Yes it is. Taylor Swift did it w/ Spotify.’]

  • Taylor Swift owns her recording rights, most of us don’t. Yet.
  • [Allen also retweeted the following comment: ‘Are labels really necessary in 2015? Maybe we should just ditch them and self release’]

Spotify pays 70% of its revenues to rights holders. Renegotiate your contract instead of having a tantrum.

  • I’m fine with my rate thanks.

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