Grizzly Bear were on the Twitter at the weekend, more-in-sorrow-than-angering at Spotify. The band's problem with Spotify isn't the usual kvetch of the tiny portion of a cent generated by each listen, but rather that nobody knows how well you're doing there:
Not saying spotify doesn't spread the word, but at least radio and venues look at YouTube counts. With spotify, it's nothing— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) August 31, 2012
Darren Hemmings over at Music Ally confirms that the locked-up Spotify data helps nobody:
I can’t speak for the USA, but certainly here in the UK its long been an open secret that Radio 1 – the kingmaker of stations as regards most campaigns aspiring to big sales – looked at YouTube plays almost exclusively as an indicator of buzz. In recent times, that has changed slightly and the open secret now is that R1 looks at Next Big Sound’s publicly available data to measure how a band is faring in terms of plays, fan growth etc. That’s deeply flawed (for too many reasons to go into now), but at least better than just looking at YouTube.It's a fair argument that if part of the reason to offset disappointment at the 'low' royalty rate is that you're getting exposure, you should at least be able to have an idea of what that's worth.
Spotify does have this data, and for people like myself it is certainly an important metric for my clients. The data is also now fed to the OCC, where a streaming chart is finally available to reflect mass trends. However at those early stages where you have a new single and you want to prove to radio (or promoters) that it is getting a load of plays, they do not feature.
I say they didn't complain about the money. Of course they did:
Spotify might be good for exposure but after about 10k plays we get approx 10 dollars— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) August 31, 2012
The cool part aboutTwitter is being able to clarify where we stand! Obviously the most important thing is that people enjoy music, not €£¥$— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) August 31, 2012