Spotify -- great for music fans, not so great for penniless musicians. That's the see-sawing argument between the music streaming service and the likes of Radiohead producer/Atoms For Peace member Nigel Godrich, who was well and truly hoodwinked today by a phony Spotify page that seemed to suggest the company had drastically revised its artist payment model.
"Spotify For Artists" totally nails the look and feel of Spotify's own homepage, and confused matters further by going live during the same week that Spotify's own legit Spotify Artists page (designed to promote the benefits of being on Spotify to musicians) was introduced.
But look closely and there's a few things off. For starters, it's populated with pictures of bands and artists so far totally anti-Spotify (including Atoms For Peace and David Byrne), and seems almost apologetic of the way Spotify's signed up artists have been monetarily compensated thus far.
“We’ve really changed our ways," reads the fake homepage. "Now SpotifyforArtists makes sure the creators you love see the love. Directly. We’re paying them more. So you can keep supporting your community just by listening. And they can afford to keep making the music you love to listen to.”
“For a while now we’ve been encouraging everyone to listen to music without ever actually owning it. Now you have the option to buy an album and the artist gets 95% of the proceeds. Just like that. And you can keep it, listen to it anytime, anywhere. Even pass it to your children. Think of it as an investment in your future and the future of music.”
So convincing is the page that Godrich tweeted that he was "gobsmacked" by it, calling the Spotify turnaround "possibly one of the weirdest things" he had ever seen. It took music blog Musically to point out the fake before Godrich calmed down.
"“phew!!!! Thank fucking god for that……!!!! I mean… Ok props to whoever put the spotifyforartists site up :) Dang. Got me going… Let it be known… It is a spoof site and thank god. Even I thought it was beneath them!! But it raises a good idea.. Which is that they could sell music instead. Bye!!!” Well, sort of calmed down.
Of course, such a discussion is a valid one, what with conflicting reports over Spotify's artist payouts. But the spoof site does make a few gaffs of its own -- Spotify did indeed once directly sell MP3s, initially through 7Digital and then through its own download channels, before taking the service offline in January of this year. The problem is, without shaking up the existing all-you-can-eat-for-a-tenner subscription model, pricier individual downloads are never going to be a compelling option. [Musically]