Streaming music revolution stalls, music industry in for the kill

13 January 2010

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.

[Music Ally]

13 comments

  • Nobby
    You can buy it for four quid at amazon, real CD or download.
  • Gunn
    Anyone still buying CDs? still dont like their tactics much.
  • Mike R.
    Maybe I'm missing something here. So you've got Joe Bloggs sat listening to album on Spotify and then one day they can't listen to it no more. They decide that this is so terrribly inconvenient that they decide to nip to the nearest HMV and buy the CD version from there instead. Is that likely to happen? I can't imagine there are many consumers who would be "driven" to buy the physical copy as a result of this move.
  • Ben
    Spotify did the same thing with the Black Eyed Peas' album The E.N.D before Christmas. Same with Cheryl Cole as well. Not that I listen to that stuff...
  • LanceVance
    "Hoist the Jolly Roger, we set sail for the cd of La Roux". Is what a pirate said yesterday. No, honest he did!
  • Junkyard
    "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." Does he speak English too?
  • tom
    More likely the publicity caused by the removal pushed up sales not the action it's self.......
  • Spencer
    I would love to see the effect this industry nonsense has had on the number of illegal downloads of this. I wonder if that was a factor in their decision cos, lets be honest, if a record label does this, it makes torrents/limewire look an even more promising alternative. Sod faffing about, download the software and get the thing for free within minutes... I question if it's piracy that's killing music, I'd say profit is a more likely candidate...
  • dunfyboy
    The remixes on You Tube of Going In For The Kill are better than the original anyway, but if you must listen to the original, the record label are encouraging you to download a pirated copy.
  • Effron R.
    I think the easiest thing to do would be simply to assume everyone downloads illegally, charge a small fee tacked on to your monthly ISP bill and redistribute that money back to studios, record labels, etc...
  • Watch E.
    howdy, great writing.
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