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Phonte on Spotify: No substitute for buying music

August 9, 2011

I got my Spotify invite a few weeks ago, and I’m hooked. Spotify is the music service that started in Britain that has recently opened up shop in America. Like Rhapsody, Spotify allows you to stream virtually any major label record and many indie releases too. Unlike Rhapsody, Spotify is free. You can upgrade to a subscription option and play higher quality streams with no ads and the ability to take music on your mobile, but in the end, there’s not a red cent to be paid.

Great news for listeners, right? But what of the artists? Well, you could assume the structures, laws, and organizations already existing in the music industry will ensure some money is trickled through, and also ensure it won’t be much. Phonte, of Little Brother and Foreign Exchange fame, took to Twitter to unload his thoughts on the service with the perspective of fans and his food pantry earlier today:


@phontigallo: A few members of my twitfam asked me about it, so I will offer my humble thoughts on Spotify from an artist’s perspective.

@phontigallo: First, I think Spotify is a great service that allows you to have the world of music at your fingertips. That in itself is a great thing.

@phontigallo: But Spotify (and the like) is no substitute for buying music. As said in the musician’s Bible, (gucci) Mane can’t live by streams alone.

@phontigallo: If you want to ensure that your favorite artist can continue making music, you gotta break bread. There’s really no two ways about it.

@phontigallo: The streaming rate on Spotify is miniscule; like, literally a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a penny per stream.

@phontigallo: @Iamraydiance Yes, we get paid through Rhapsody. Not much at all, but they do pay.

@phontigallo: So with that in mind, it would take roughly 200+ streams of a song to equal the payout from one .99 download on iTunes.

@phontigallo: Understand, me and @FEofficial are a very download friendly/free music enthusiast company, but we also understand the ramifications of it.

@phontigallo: We keep our music on Spotify (and other streaming services) because we want to meet each consumer/potential fan wherever they are.

@phontigallo: And also because we understand that people who want to exclusively stream music will do it whether they use Spotify or youtube.

@phontigallo: Again, it’s all about giving people access to your music so they can hear it and experience it however they feel most comfortable.

@phontigallo: But if you really love someone’s music and it finds a way into your daily life, you gotta pay for it to help ensure said artist’s survival.

@phontigallo: Streaming is a great service, but the few dollars streaming alone is not enough to sustain a career. No way to sugarcoat it.

@phontigallo: So what does all this mean for me and other artists? My advice is to focus on the message, not on the medium.

@phontigallo: In other words, all we can do as artists is make the best music we can make and let people consume it however they will.

@phontigallo: Technology will always shift and mutate daily. A great song is timeless. Focus on making great songs. That’s all you can control.

@phontigallo: Just make the best music you can make and leave everything else in the hands of God…..and your lawyers. #jokinbutnotreally

@phontigallo: I hope I provided some clarity. I’m a downloading fool, but when something hits me in the heart, I come outta pocket. Hope you do the same.

@phontigallo: Of course. Fuck I look like paying two millionaires during a global economic meltdown? RT @sbtravie did you download Watch The Throne?


There’s more to see on Phonte’s Twitter stream, with a mini Q&A session and more smart ass one-liners.

posted: August 9th, 2011, 3:41pm



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