Windowing

Spotify exec Ken Parks with Forbes about windowing, when recording artists hold their releases from Spotify.

My initial take is that it’s a very bad idea.

Because it puts my service at a disadvantage.

From a user standpoint, it’s a pretty hostile proposition.

Coldplay can choose to not make their record available on Spotify and it’s considered hostile. Man, we’re fucking spoiled.

The notion that you would want to withhold records from people who are paying 120 pounds or euros or dollars a year is just really mind-boggling.

120 pounds or euros to who?

There’s certainly no data whatsoever to suggest that this increases unit sales.

Maybe that data doesn’t exist because a formal study hasn’t been done.

…our indicators point out that if you want to increase sales, you ought to be increasing access to your music.

What indicators are those? Also, define “sales.” Are we talking streams? iTunes downloads? CD purchases?

The very same bands who are withholding from streaming services are often available for free to users on YouTube, which doesn’t monetize nearly as well as Spotify.

Why settle for thousandths of a penny per stream when you can get hundredths of a penny per stream?

If you think that promoting your record via streaming is a good thing for sales on YouTube, there is no reason as all to withhold it on Spotify.

I can think of one, and it’s pretty similar to what lots of authors do by releasing Creative Commons-licensed works as a free-to-download PDF. They claimed that doing so increased sales of the book version. How? My guess, because nobody wants to read an entire fucking book on their laptop.

It’s ridiculous to think that an 18-year-old kid who is denied access to listening on Spotify is going to run to iTunes and buy it. That’s not the way it works. They’re going to go to the torrent sites.

Depends. Again, not to sound like a dick, but a lot of 18-year olds don’t know how torrents work, and a lot of those people are Adele and Taylor Swift fans.

We think it’s very possible she would’ve sold more. Again, there’s no data to support the proposition that windowing on Spotify resulted in increased sales.

There’s no data to support increased sales from windowing nor is their data to support that Adele would have sold more if she had her album on Spotify. That’s why it’s “very possible”, but nobody knows.

Spotify has great integration with the biggest social network in the world.

We’re aware. Unfortunately it’s now mandatory. Is that what you meant when you were talking about user hostile propositions?

If you are not plugged into that, you are really missing out on what artists have always known, which is that word-of-mouth and buzz really sells records and concert tickets.

All my high school friends listen to is Dave Matthews Band and Phish and those bands need all the help they can get.

On Spotify, someone will see a track a friend shared on Facebook, they’ll click on it, and then instantly be listening to that record on Spotify.

Does anybody actually click that stuff? Serious question.

Another serious question, how many of these people actively share something? I don’t mean they listened to something and it showed up in their Timeline. I mean they took time to write a paragraph or two about what they liked about it and make a case for why I should take 40 minutes to listen to it.

Because I never see that shit. If I did I might click those buttons.


I like Spotify, but I don’t have a paid account. I’d rather spend $120 a year on things that I’ll be able to keep. Access trumps ownership, but access AND ownership is much better.

Sasha Frere-Jones on Adele

From the opening paragraph of “Show Runners: The Women of Pop.”

Adele’s impeccably sung collection of unperturbing soul, “21,” released in February, will almost certainly be the year’s biggest-selling album. Her career is likely to be long, because she is selling to the demographic that decides American elections: middle-aged moms who don’t know how to pirate music and will drive to Starbucks when they need to buy it.

Women Buy Music. Men Don’t.

Billboard writes about Adele’s digital sales:

In terms of unit sales, “21” was a digital monster. It sold 217,000 digital albums last week, over six times as many as the next best digital album last week (Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More”) and over 14 times as many as the third digital album (Bieber’s “My World 2.0”). It wasn’t far behind the 224,000 digital albums sold in the first week of release by Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” And keep in mind that album sold far more total units — 496,000 — in its first week.

Take a look at the RIAA’s Gold and Platinum lists. In the past few years the artists with the most sales are people like Taylor Swift, Michael Bublé, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, and Sara Bareilles. Mixed in are Kings of Leon, Mumford and Sons1…a bunch soundtracks, R&B, some compilations, country music, and other artists who broke on American Idol and Glee.

Women2 still buy music. Men don’t.

Nothing against Adele. I listened to 21 yesterday. It’s one of those albums you know you’re going to see on end of year lists.


  1. I can’t explain this one, but based on anecdotal evidence I think women like that bluegrass style more than men. My sister heard this album way before I did. 

  2. At the risk of sounding like a jerk it looks to me like the RIAA certifications from the last few years are dominated by artists with a fanbase that doesn’t understand how P2P and streaming music works: teens, housewives, country music listeners, and old people.