why we do what we do

August 29th, 2011

recently, someone asked me why black lab’s music got pulled off of spotify. the reason is that spotify and rhapsody pay almost nothing for the songs they stream. this is fine if you’re madonna — a whole lot of almost-nothing adds up to something. but for us, if all our music was accessed via a subscription model we would be out of the business of making music.

the thing is, what we want to do is make the best music we possibly can. we are completely focused on honoring the interest and commitment our fans show us by doing it the max, taking whatever talent we’ve got and going balls to the wall. we’re not interested in becoming rock stars, wasting our lives traveling, doing endless interviews, promotional appearances, meet & greets, etc. etc. etc. we are just hunkered down making the best shit we can.

yeah, we do the social media thing ’cause it’s fun to be in touch with you. but we’re not here to make a million fans. we’re here to make music. spotify helps get us in front of many more people, but it kills our ability to focus on making music because it kills our ability to earn a living wage from making music.

I love the idea of spotify, but until they figure out how to monetize it in a way that is not just great for their company, advertisers and listeners, but also for the artists, I’m afraid we’re going to have to bow out.

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August 29th, 2011 | Categories: paulblog | Tags: , , , | Leave A Comment » |

6 Responses to “why we do what we do”

  1. Tracy

    We understand. The fans, for the most part, are just such big fans that if we could get you guys to stream your music/videos directly into (and out of) or brains, we would. Direct connection. You do what you guys want to do, where you want to, how you want to and we will be here for it!!

    August 29th, 2011 at 1:01 pm
  2. Dan Patterson

    Funny, I was wondering the same thing last week (not finding your albums on spotify any more) and after reading your post I totally get it. You guys are great at what you do, I’ve been a fan every since Your Body Above Me came out and look forward to everything you guys put out. Keep up the great work!

    September 2nd, 2011 at 1:38 pm
  3. John Gray

    This presumes that spotify takes away sales, I dont think it does but it will increase exposure to those that dont know you. If your a fan you will buy to support just because…..
    Also the music suggestion “if you like this you might like” has got to bring in new people it brought me to other bands from you guys i.e Bulet proof messenger, hinder and Shinedown that I would otherwise have missed. I assume its vice versa for their fans.


    September 5th, 2011 at 8:07 am
  4. kwyxz

    I agree with the above post : I would have never known Black Lab (or at least would not know Black Lab yet) if it wasn’t for Spotify and the “Similar artists” feature.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, I believe Spotify pays extensive amounts of big bucks to record companies, but those do not fairly retribute artists.

    While I understand the band’s position, I still believe that using Spotify as a promotional tool (maybe by allowing a few songs on it) could be a benefit. Better earn cents than being illegally downloaded and get nothing, don’t you think ?

    September 17th, 2011 at 2:42 am
  5. Paul

    dunno kwyxz. I feel like music is being ongoingly devalued and, since there’s nothing we can do about that, the question becomes – is it better to sell it for cheap than not sell it at all? it’s a weird question. would I say to my plumber, hey man, I know you’re out of work, so why don’t you come work for me for $1/hour. it’s better than nothing, right?

    maybe it is better than nothing. certainly the promotional value is there, as both of you testify to. but I don’t work with a label, the money comes straight to me, and while I’m sure the labels are getting a better deal than we are, I bet they’re getting screwed too — basically, they’ve realized there’s nothing they can do about illegal downloading and just decided to take the $1/hour instead of nothing.

    what I like, kwyxz, is your idea of offering a few songs. that sounds like an excellent alternative. not sure if I can do that or if I can only offer whole albums, but maybe it would be worth it to have some albums up and hope they find the others.

    but at some point I’d rather than take nothing than spotify’s fuck-you money.

    September 22nd, 2011 at 1:44 pm
  6. What are you measuring?

    […] friend Paul from Black Lab (a great Indie rock band) recently wrote a post that sums up his arguments as to why the band’s music wouldn’t be available on Spotify. Once again – getting […]

    November 15th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

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