Streaming music revolution stalls, music industry in for the kill
The world of free streaming music suffered unexpected buffering yesterday, and it was all the fault of electro-popster La Roux. Despite having a name reminiscent of French breakfast pastry, La Roux's debut album, with advertising-friendly anthems such as In For The Kill and more moody electronica besides, isn't a bad shout - if you like to imagine you're trapped in the 1980s like Terrance Stamp's Zod in the Phantom Zone.
The album was released last Summer and has been available on Spotify since, but yesterday was made unavailable to users with a basic subscription. According to Music Ally premium subscribers can still stream the album, although plenty of people with Spotify Premium for their mobiles also seem to be having trouble.
Now it's very likely that you don't give a sod about La Roux and her battery-operated pop shenanigans, and it's only one artist after all. But that's why it's unusual - other Polydor artists such as Take That are still available on the basic subscription. A spokesperson for Spotify confirmed to Music Ally that the rights holders had the album pulled, despite agreeing to its use several months ago.
The album has also been blocked from UK streaming service We7, who who commented:
“Take down requests happen from time to time and quite often the albums are reinstated as fast as they were taken down. Most of these things are trying to understand the new ecosystem that digital brings and the metric impact on CD Sales, downloads, streams, subscription, live events, piracy etc. For many this world is still in its infancy so searching for understanding is critical and that is why we work positively with the labels and artist managers to help understand the impact.”
We've had a quick gander at recent CD sales and it can be no coincidence that the album has re-entered the Top 20 in the past few days, the first time since July. Coupled with the views of We7, it seems likely that Polydor are making hay while the sun shines - they're attempting to drive up sales of the physical album by restricting online access. Essentially, while the music industry is making all the right noises about supporting digital music and partnering streaming services like We7 and Spotify, they're quite prepared to pull the plug if they spot an opportunity to drive revenue and screw the consumer - La Roux's is unlikely to be the only album on the up to be taken down.