Coldplay latest act to freeze out streaming services (scoop)

One of the world's best-selling music acts joins a growing list of artists who are not offering their music through streaming services such as Spotify and Rhapsody. Is streaming revenue too little?

Coldplay, one of the world's biggest music acts, has declined to offer songs from the band's new album "Mylo Xyloto," to streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody, multiple sources told CNET.

Coldplay will not be distributing through MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody or Spotify, sources say. YouTube/Coldplay

EMI, the band's record label, acknowledged that Coldplay, known for such songs as "Yellow" and "Clocks," will not distribute through streaming services for "Mylo Xyloto," but did not detail the reasons for the decision. "We always work with our artists and management on a case by case basis to deliver the best outcome for each release," EMI said in a statement.

"Mylo Xyloto," however, has been streamed online. Coldplay, which has sold more than 50 million records since debuting in 1996, offered a new track from the album each day last week through iTunes. Coldplay representatives were not immediately available for comment.

EMI, the smallest of the four largest record companies, is a little embarrassed by the band's decision, according to the sources who spoke with CNET. All four of the major labels have thrown their support behind streaming services and it is one of the ways the industry has seen a modest amount of success at convincing fans to again pay for music after a decade-long era of rampant music piracy.

Losing a band with the marquee value of Coldplay is a blow to the streaming sector but it is only the most recent act to follow a no-streaming strategy amid concerns over payouts.

The management team of singer-actor Tom Waits has informed services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, and MOG, that it will not be distributing his new album, "Bad As Me," through them, according to industry sources. The album "21," from British songstress Adele, is one of the best selling of the year but the music can't be found on Spotify.

While Spotify offers millions of tracks, there are other bands as well missing from its catalog. What's going on?

"We have strong support from the music industry," Spotify said in a statement. "We of course respect the decision of any artist who chooses not to have their music on Spotify for whatever reason. We do however hope that they will change their minds as we believe that the Spotify model is adding, and will continue to add, huge value to the music industry. Right now we have already convinced millions of consumers to pay for music again, and that they are generating real revenue for the music business."

Jaimee Steele, a spokeswoman for Rhapsody, said that artists must remember this is a new segment and that it will take time to produce the kind of sales volume as say iTunes and music downloads. But she also cautioned that streaming is where the public is going. And for artists, streaming is likely to be more profitable over the longer term.

Album cover for '21' from singer Adele. Sony Music Entertainment

"Artists are getting paid every time one of their tracks is being played," Steele said. "A download is sold and the revenue is distributed, but the artist doesn't see any more money from future plays of that song. With streaming, if someone plays a song a million times, the artist will earn money from that. Music acts could potentially make more money.

Coldplay's handlers are telling some of the services they won't stream because they believe "Mylo Xyloto" should be heard as one cohesive work, according to one industry insider with knowledge of the discussions. They don't want the album to be broken up into singles.

If that's true, how often have we heard this before? Acts such as AC/DC , Kid Rock, and Pink Floyd have all eschewed digital sales at one point and claimed that their music should be heard in its entirety.

That's fine, but forcing people to buy music that they may not want is taking us back to the days of the CD, when fans people required to plunk down $15 for one or two good songs. It was anti-consumer then and it is anti-consumer now.

 

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