All That Remains vocalist Phil Labonte is the latest metal musician to jump in with an opinion about the ongoing issues with Spotify. Labonte doesn't address The Joe Rogan Experience controversy, but does touch on the fact that Spotify's pay rates are so low that bands like Failure have left the platform.
Labonte said in an interview with The Porcupine that he's "not a fan of Spotify personally," and addressed the comments made by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in 2020 about artists needing to put out more material (which drew a ton of ire at the time). As a refresher, here's the quote.
"It's quite interesting that while the overall pie is growing, and more and more people can partake in that pie, we tend to focus on a very limited set of artists," he said, referring to the reporting of views on streaming royalties.
"Even today on our marketplace, there's literally millions and millions of artists. What tends to be reported are the people that are unhappy, but we very rarely see anyone who's talking about… In the entire existence [of Spotify] I don't think I've ever seen a single artist saying 'I'm happy with all the money I'm getting from streaming. Stating that publicly. In private they have done that many times, but in public they have no incentive to do it. But unequivocally, from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself."
"There is a narrative fallacy here, combined with the fact that, obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can't record music once every three to four years and think that's going to be enough. The artists today that are making it realize that it's about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans."
Labonte said that he'll soon be in a good position where he can release more music at a quicker pace, but notes that a lot of artists aren't in that same position. He also states that it's basically insane to "glibly act as if $0.0007 cents for every spin is fair," and says Ek isn't someone he'd be interested in knowing.
"It's, like, you can be the person that came up with a creative, destructive force, and that's fine, and that's part of a free market and stuff, but when you're a dick about it, you're still a dick. If you're just, like, 'Well, you guys have gotta adapt to the market,' it's, like, look, there are a lot of artists that are in contracts that can't just put out music every couple of days. Thankfully, I'm almost out of my contract — I've got one more record, and we're recouped — so I'm in a uniquely good position; not 'uniquely,' but an exceedingly rare good position. Most artists aren't.
"So when he is so dismissive of the effect his creation has on the music industry and then to glibly act as if $0.0007 cents for every spin is fair, I don't think that's… At the very least, it's not someone that I wanna hang out with or someone that I wanna speak positively of. Maybe it's not illegal, maybe it's not immoral, but I'm kind of just, 'Well, you're kind of a pile, and I wouldn't wanna be your friend.'"