David Draiman Defends Spotify: 'It Has Given Us a Platform to Combat Piracy on a Real Level'

"You can't fight the future or the advancement of technology," Disturbed frontman says in response to Thom Yorke's Spotify protest.

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Recent Atoms for Peace protest against Spotify had the music world well stirred up, raising once again a series of questions and discussions on the subject of music streaming.

Among the crowd that disagrees with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich is Disturbed frontman David Draiman, who had posted his official response to the protest via Twitlonger.

As the singer points out, "the days of the hard copy product have been over for quite some time. All artists these days are dealing with a frustrating situation when it comes to generating revenue and awareness of our respective projects, whether they be new ones, or established.

"Make no mistake that the reason for the current state of reduced revenues for new artists is piracy, and NOT Spotify."

Draiman then focused on the royalties issue, saying, "All artists who actually write their own songs have publishing royalties. Those royalties, unless your songs become hits, are minute, compared to the profit generated from Mp3 sales or hard record (CD/vinyl) sales.

"We've known that and dealt with that all of our careers. Would any songwriter out there be looking to divest themselves from the publishing infrastructure and risk loosing the potential revenue that can come from the spins a hit song generates? Of course not.

"Spotify is simply an alternate form of potential revenue stream much in the same way publishing royalties can be. It was never meant to be a replacement for the old retail infrastructure, it was meant to make piracy obsolete by providing an amazing online service, at a reasonable cost to the user/music fan. You cut off Spotify, and you are cutting off your nose to spite your face."

The frontman continued, saying, "If you really want to take issue with someone, take issue with the license holders of your songs and the rate you've contractually negotiated with them, not Spotify. Unlike streaming entities like Pandora for example, Spotify has never attempted to try to further limit license holders royalties in favor of a larger profit margin. "The level of awareness generated by Spotify for new artists, having the engine searching your existing playlists and tastes, with the right Spotify applications such as Spotify radio, can bring your music to the ears of millions of new potential fans that just random placement on some bittorent site would never do."

Draiman then stressed that fighting changes and the natural flow of things has no point, as it can only harm the artist.

"You can't fight the future or the advancement of technology, it is pointless. There are those who have tried to cling to an antiquated retail infrastructure, that have quickly become extinct before they ever even had a chance to thrive. Do not try to coerce a new generation of fledgling artists into a stance which would be incredibly counter-productive for them, and their development of their respective brands/music.

"In closing, Spotify has given us a platform to finally combat piracy on a real level, created an entirely new and separate revenue stream, and brings us closer to the potential fans out there that are truly thirsting for what we have created in an efficient and economic manner.

"Would you rather the world simply steal your music?"

Atoms for Peace protested against Spotify by removing their record "Amok" from the service.

"It's bad for new music," Godrich said. "The reason is that new artists get paid f--k all with this model. It's an equation that just doesn't work."

The artists who have publicly disagreed with Yorke and co. also include Machine Head mainman Robb Flynn, who stated via official Facebook page that he doesn't "want to be like Thom Yorke thinking Spotify is a scary thing."

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hes been quite vocal lately... Good on him for standing up to these issues tho. All balanced and well thought out too! Take note Nugent/Mustaine etc
    I guess there is some point in it. Spotify has good sides and bad sides, but overall i think its better than piracy. Dont use spotify tho.
    MT in Austin
    Piracy is NOT the only reason for the current state of the music industry. Various contributing factors exist: ---Time Warner,Sony,Bertelsmann Music Group, EMI and Universal all colluded to keep CD prices artificially high in the 90s. This made a perfect environment for Napster and the like to explode in the late 90s/early 00s. ---The corporatization of radio in the US reduced variation in music played - reducing demand. ---The lack of variety in music available through "traditional" distribution channels. ---The ability to buy "singles" through online stores rather than entire albums. When consumers are forced to pay too much for a product that is pretty much the same as any other, they stop buying or get more choosey about their purchases.
    I think the loss of music videos has really hurt music more than most realize. Now people have to hear about new music from the radio, and we all know any given radio station plays the same 20 singles on rotation all day long.
    He should just start a column. "David Draiman weighs in on...."
    Although I do disagree with his Rolling Stone statement, it was a well written and presented a good argument. I would read his column regularly.
    I wouldn't say that days of physical formats are dead, they're just not at the forefront anymore. Many people - myself included - still enjoy buying things that they can actually hold in their hands.
    Just give bands a way for simple donation (like the one for Wikipedia) and you will see how the fans will react. The new digitized future gives very easy and cheep way to share what you have created. This does not mean that any one who like it will not appreciate the afford.
    David Draiman might have been speaking out a lot lately about a variety of issues, but he's one guy I'd actually listen to because his thoughts have some semblance of logic and rationale behind them. I'd rather listen to him than a bunch of idiots/trolls who don't think about what they type when they see a potentially hot-button issue. Good for you Draiman. As far as Spotify is concerned, yeah a lot of people USE it who don't pay for it, but that's what advertising space sells for. And why they have to listen to the ads. I think it does combat piracy to some extent; I don't download nearly as much anymore as I used to ever since I paid for Spotify. Now with iTunes Radio gearing up to rival and possibly overshadow Spotify, I think it'll make a potential dent in piracy activity. Though having said that, let's not forget... http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publication... "Perhaps surprisingly, our results present no evidence of digital music sales displacement. While we find important cross country differences in the effects of downloading on music purchases, our findings suggest a rather small complementarity between these two music consumption channels. It seems that the majority of the music that is consumed illegally by the individuals in our sample would not have been purchased if illegal downloading websites were not available to them. The complementarity effect of online streaming is found to be somewhat larger, suggesting a stimulating effect of this activity on the sales of digital music."
    Why would anyone listen to his music wilfully anyway? If they want to punish pirates they should constantly subject them to the music of Disturbed...
    "To give you an example, 4,685 Spotify plays of my last solo album equated to 19.22 (that's 0.004p per album stream). The equivalent to me selling two albums at a show. I think it's fair to say that at least two of those almost 5,000 listeners would have bought the album from me if they knew the financial disparity from streaming." According to Thom Yorke, the latest example...
    ^ fully agree. What irks me is that to get the major labels on-board with their huge back catalogs spotify gave them a significant equity stake in the company. The upshot being the major labels would have made more than $19.22 off your 4,685 plays. Bit of a mindf**k really. My band's music is all self-released, and payed for out of our own pockets. I don't like the idea of major labels making a profit off our hard work, and i like it even less that they would make more money out of us being on spotify (per listen) then we would.
    He understands Spotify's logic in theory, while that doesn't really fly most of the time. Since the subject has been hot lately and I've already posted my opinion on the issue, I'm going to CtrlC + CtrlV one of my comments: I've always thought of Spotify as a turn-around for piracy. It's hardly the heaven people make it. While it is easier to get your band into the spotlights with it than in other music platforms, since it has become popular as hell, the amount of money Spotify gives to artists to have their music on it is actually laughable. Not only this is bad for new bands that are not as successful as Thom Yorke, but it is in no way a guarantee that these bands will be paid everytime someone listens to their music through Spotify. In fact, a lot people who use it (not all, ffs) don't even bother buying anything, since they have this "excuse" to hide behind. It's pretty cheap to Sign Up for Spotify and there's also ways to beat around the bush with it in countries that don't even get its services yet - therefore, many people use it for free. All in all, it was actually a good idea to try to stop bands from being hurt by piracy, but it's packed full of flaws. And oh boy, this guy has been speaking quite a lot lately...
    Who at UG has the huge boner for this guy. This is the third article this week about him and his opinions. Who gives a ****k! Blow the guy and get it over with, geezus!
    It's about some of the bigger subjects at the moment, plus he made some good points
    Since money's a lot tighter these days, i figured people resort to piracy because they can't afford it anymore. They most likely wouldn't have bought an album anyways, or subscribe to a music service.