In July of this year, Godrich and Yorke removed music made by their group Atoms From Peace from Spotify, in addition to the debut album by Godrich’s band Ultraista and Yorke’s ‘The Eraser’ project. Producer Godrich also criticised the service in a series of lengthy Tweets, describing it as “bad for new music” and describing the system as being run by the “same old industry bods trying to get a stranglehold”.
Speaking to the Guardian, however, Stewart spoke up in defence of Spotify and said it should be praised for trying to offer a solution for musicians. “Thom Yorke made a mistake there, him and Nigel Godrich,” he said. “They were misinformed. I think they just suddenly got a bee in their bonnet, because Spotify is one of the few companies that is transparent and actually pays properly – as a songwriter you should worship Spotify, because they’ve come along with a solution.”
Stewart – who had claimed in a 2012 interview with Stuff magazine that he would only earn $47 if one of his albums was streamed non-stop for three years, and also said that emerging artists would make more money “selling their albums out of the boot of a car” – added: “It’s a volume business. If they had 100 million subscribers, which is possible, the payment [for the Eurythmics catalogue] would be equal to the band’s income back at the peak of selling.”
Last month, it was reported that Ministry Of Sound were suing Spotify. They filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement because the streaming service has allegedly refused to delete users’ playlists that “copy” the tracklistings of its compilation albums.
Spotify has previously defended critics of its business model. Earlier this year, a spokesperson told NME: “During 2012 Spotify saw dramatically increased revenues while maintaining a free to paid conversion rate of well over 20 per cent – unheard of for a freemium business, and a clear demonstration of the success of the business model. In 2012 the business focused on driving user growth, international expansion and product development, resulting in soaring user numbers and increased market penetration. Our key priority throughout 2013 and beyond remains bringing our unrivalled music experience to even more people while continuing to build for long-term growth – both for our company and for the music industry as a whole.”