Spotify, Rhapsody Execs Attack “Wrongheaded” Staggered Releases By Coldplay, Others

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The practice of staggered releases or "windowing" new releases on streaming music services has been a hot topic ever since Coldplay, The Black Keys, Adele and a small but select group of artists chose to withhold their music. Two recent interviews with key executives at Spotify and Rhapsody are certain to fuel the flames.

"My initial take is that it's a very bad idea. From a user standpoint, it's a pretty hostile proposition. There's no data to suggest that it does [negatively affect] sales" Spotify's chief content officer Ken Parks told Fast Company. "To the contrary, our indicators point out that if you want to increase sales, you ought to be increasing access to your music… It's kind of wrongheaded to think you're creating scarcity by withholding. When you withhold a record on Spotify, it is available on torrent sites, on Grooveshark, as well as on YouTube likely.

"I think [the 'windowing' theory] is wrong because Rhapsody provides incremental revenue," according to Rhapsody CEO Jon Irwin. "There are people who are going to continue to want to own and purchase music…There are going to be people who want access and who would never pay… And there are people who, if it's not available on streaming, they're going to steal it. They're going to pirate it. They're not going to go out and buy it."


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  1. Actually I ordered the Coldplay record on Amazon because it wasn’t available on Rhapsody (I’m a Rhapsody subscriber) I’ll only go out and buy a record for a release that is a must have. The blame is on Rhapsody & other streaming music services.. not the artist.. Pay them market value for there content.. I bet if you offered Coldplay a million dollar advance they’d take it.

  2. “It’s kind of wrongheaded to think you’re creating scarcity by withholding”
    This is absolutely wrong when you’re talking about high-profile mass-appeal artists.
    Because fact is, people purchase these acts’ music for the ‘water cooler’ conversations, not because they’re crazy fanatical superfans…
    What I mean is – I’ll spend $7.99 on iTunes for an Adele or Coldplay record if it’s not on Spotify – just so I can have a conversation about it – it’s gonna come up – just like movies do in the first week.
    Now, if it’s available on Spotify, I’ll listen to it for free, pass my judgement on the material, and move on. No need to buy.

  3. Actually, acts like Rihanna and Drake sell more records and attract more streams. Their stuff is available everywhere. I like Coldplay, but they shouldn’t get special treatment. I mean, how is this Rhapsody’s fault, when most big acts are putting their stuff up? And what of the lesser known indie acts who window? Are you suggesting that the streaming services pay out a million here or a million there as a sort of bribe for every artist who threatens them? I’m just so frustrated with the whole thing. And I still buy music, but geez, I would prefer to listen to the whole album a few times through first.

  4. These acts and labels are not staggering releases because of a “wrongheaded” belief in “scarcity” tactics. It is the reality for their bottom line.

  5. what nonsense. if spotify wasn’t paying a disgracefully cheap rate to the artists it would be less of an issue, that’s for sure. if i were coldplay i wouldn’t let spotify touch my release until i felt like the bulk of the sales had been made. no way.

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