• Bridget Buckley

The Tangled Web: Takes on Spotify and Free Music from Bono to The Apache Relay


Taylor Swift pulled her entire music catalogue from Spotify today (November 3) and once again the world has exploded just like it did in September when U2 gave their album to everyone for free. Spotify responded with a clever yet almost pathetic response, (including a playlist that spells out another plea) basically begging her to come back.

As the music business seems to be turning upside down with all of the changes, let’s take a look at some responses about the topic in the past few months.

1. Spotify : “PS – Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there’s more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It’s a love story, baby, just say, Yes.”

2. Nick Mason (Pink Floyd):

“Music has been horribly devalued by being given away.”

3. Patrick Carney (Black Keys):

“U2 “devalued their music completely…sends a huge mixed message to bands … that are just struggling to get by. I think that they were thinking it’s super generous of them to do something like that.”

“My whole thing about music is: if somebody’s making money then the artist should be getting a fair cut of it. The owner of Spotify is worth something

like 3 billion dollars…he’s richer than Paul McCartney and he’s 30 and he’s never written a song.”

4. Bono :

“Oops. Sorry about that.”

5. Iggy Pop:

“Part of the process when you buy something from an artist, it’s kind of an anointing, you are giving people love. It’s your choice to give or withhold. You felt like they were robbed of that chance and they have a point.”

6. Larry Mullen Jr (U2):

“I couldn’t give a rat’s ass. I really couldn’t….With the Apple thing, I had questions about it, but it was kind of a no-brainer: They want to buy your album, and they want to give it to people for free.”

7. Adam Clayton (U2):

“From our point of view, we got our record out to as many people as possible. What I am saying is, look, that power is there. And blaming us for pointing it out seem to be a case of shooting the messenger.”

8. Patrick McGuire (former member of Colorado indie band Flashbulb Fires):

“Yeah, we got our check for five dollars (from Spotify).”

10. Michael Ford Jr (Nashville band The Apache Relay ):

“If some kid goes and listens to our record and really connects with it and loves it and comes to our show….and is excited and they wanna buy a t shirt or hang out…tells their friend about it…that’s a win now in the music industry.”

11. Taylor Swift:

“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”

12. Dan Wineman ( iOS developer tweet):

“Evolution of music sales: 1. Pay a lot 2. Pay a little 3. Pay anything 4. OK fine, just pay once a month 5. Fuck you, now you own a U2 album.”

13. Mike Harris (The Apache Relay):

“Ben Sollee told me one time that ‘ libraries and bookstores have existed in perfect harmony for hundreds or years’…so why can’t Spotify and record stores?”


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