In late 2011, heavy metal and hardcore label group Century Media pulled all its labels from Spotify in order to “protect the interests of their artists". Labels include Century Media and associated labels InsideOutMusic, Superballmusic, Ain't No Grave Records, Hollywood Waste and People Like You. Having initially cited “survival” as the primary reason for the pullout, Spotify's promotional value and fan sentiment have resulted in the label reversing its initial decision.
“It is time that fans and consumers realize that for artists it is essential to sell music to keep their heads above water," Century said last year. "There needs to be awareness... that how you will consume your music has direct consequences for the artists, who we are all trying to support."
Fast forward nearly a year later, and Century Media label execs are said to be impressed by the resulting debate, especially the messages and comments by the thousands of fans who weighed in on the issue.
“We respect that music fans wanted to have instant access to our catalog via Spotify,” said President of North America Don Robertson. “But we also have to consider the rights of our artists. After practicing some due diligence, we’re moving ahead confident that both the artist and the fan are being fairly served by this developing platform.”
Naturally, Spotify execs are happy with Century’s decision:
"Spotify's global growth provides a powerful platform for artists to connect directly with our hugely passionate audience,” said Spotify’s Head of Content Steve Savoca. “The return of Century Media's fantastic catalog is cranking metal music to our ears."
Century Media's decision to come back to Spotify may serve as evidence that subscription services aren't as detrimental to label revenues as many believe. As outspoken as Century was nearly a year ago, they probably had enough time to assess just how much of an impact Spotify has on the promotion and sales of their artists' music.
While several others are still holding out from Spotify (Metallica, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and a few others), Century's reversal could be the beginning of an acceptance of the inevitable - that streaming music is here to stay and may soon become the preferred method of music consumption.