ST Holdings, which distributes electronic music (as in mp3, not as in Delia Derbyshire), has noticed that it's earning less money of late. In the third quarter of 2011, total revenue has fallen 14% and revenue from iTunes is down nearly a quarter.
Hypebot says the company says the drop came after it started supplying to streaming services, and as a reaction to the drop in income, has now stopped Spotify:
"As a distributor we have to do what is best for our labels," states the company. "The majority of which do not want their music on such services because of the poor revenues and the detrimental affect on sales. Add to that, the feeling that their music looses it’s specialness by it’s exploitation as a low value/free commodity."The tracks, from 234 of the 238 labels who ST work with, are also being taken from Rdio and Napster.
The reaction of one of their labels reaction was, “Let’s keep the music special, fuck Spotify”.You'll spot the use of the word "special", which is being used here to mean something other than special; something between "lucrative" and "exclusive".
There's something a little amusing about parts of the music industry suddenly coming to see iTunes as the high-value way of distributing music and streaming as a cost-cutting upstart. It remains to be seen if this short-term decision makes sense in the long-term: will iTunes always be offering such a good deal? Will there be an inexorable shift to streaming? Might people feel their "special" music shouldn't attract "special" prices? (At a guess: no, maybe, and yes.)