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'Spotify are the new pirates': Swedish artist

'Spotify are the new pirates': Swedish artist

Published: 13 Aug 2009 11:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Aug 2009 11:52 GMT+02:00

Swedish musician Magnus Uggla has withdrawn his music from streaming music service Spotify claiming his "songs are being given away".

"I'd rather be raped by The Pirate Bay than shafted by Hasse Breitholtz and Sony Music," Uggla, who is one of Sweden's most prolific artists, wrote on his blog on Wednesday.

Magnus Uggla emphasizes that he likes the idea of Spotify, calling it "an incredible internet service". But he goes on to question the business model that allows users access to "everything" free of charge (and ad-financed) or for a monthly fee of only 99 kronor ($14).

"How can this be possible? Once again if something seems too good to be true, then it always is," Uggla writes, claiming that he earned as much from Spotify in the first half of 2009 than the average street busker would earn in a day.

Uggla directs his ire at Sony Music CEO Hasse Breitholtz whom he says has persuaded him of the importance of being a part of Spotify and who "waxes lyrical" over its potential to revolutionize revenue sharing within the music industry.

"I believe in Spotify's model but agree with Magnus Uggla that revenues need to be raised across the board," Breitholtz told The Local on Thursday.

"If artists had in the beginning received higher payments then there would be no Spotify and instead only illegal alternatives. A little money is better than no money," he said.

In response to news that Sony Music had paid 30,000 kronor to acquire six percent of Spotify, a company that despite its youth is already valued at close to two billion, Uggla has now decided to withdraw his catalogue of music.

"Sony Music, which is one of those that have sued the pants off The Pirate Bay, are now acting in exactly the same way as The Pirate Bay - only they are trying to hush it up," Uggla explains.

Hasse Breitholtz says that the share purchase should be seen more as a means to influence Spotify's development than as a capital investment.

"It is a way for us to ensure that it is kept legal, to have some control. It is is not as if we could sell the shares for 6 percent of the 1.8 billion kronor that I read somewhere that Spotify is estimated to be worth," Breitholtz said.

Magnus Uggla is not the first artist to resist the overtures of the Sweden-based Spotify. US artist Bob Dylan is also numbered among the doubters who have kept their body of work away from the service.

"I plan to remove all my music from Spotify while waiting for an honourable internet service," Magnus Uggla concluded in his blog post.

Hasse Breitholtz is concerned that if more artists were to follow Uggla's lead then the industry would once again be in upheaval.

"There would be turmoil. We would be back at The Pirate Bay. I hope that Spotify paves the way for a range of alternative services, but it needs to be given a chance to get established."

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:35 August 13, 2009 by sweco1
Looks like Magnus Uggla got it right.

The real scammers of the music world are Sony and the rest of the biggies!

So who is really runner Sony these days.

It is not the Japanese!

They just want your MONEY for nothing.
13:48 August 13, 2009 by eZee.se
The real pirates have always been the labels, screwing over the artists for decades.

Google 'hollywood accounting', or the stories from well known artists like Courtney Cox, the way the labels screwed artists over when they introduced the CD, screwing artists over by unjust loyalties for digital downloads.

For more examples, the RIAA has sued over 18,000 people on average of $5,000 (some have been sued multiple times), but no artist has seen a sliver of these millions.

The recording industry collects a fee for all blank media (CDs, DVDs etc) in Canada as these MIGHT be used for piracy, at just a few cents per CD... but over millions of CDs and years of these fees have accumulated to tens of millions of dollars (or more...) but not ONE artist has seen a dime of this money.

Who's the real pirate now? the 16 year old pimply geek who downloads a song off the internet or the labels screwing their artists for decades?
13:59 August 13, 2009 by bob3000
@eZee

wildly off-the-mark again - well done.

google>wiki, and the result says.....

A blank media levy was introduced in Canada in 1997, by the addition of Part VIII, "Private Copying", to the Canadian Copyright Act. The power to set rates and to set the distribution allocation is vested in the Copyright Board of Canada. The Copyright Board has handed the task of collecting and distributing the funds to the Canadian Private Copying Collective, which is a non-profit private organization.

The private copying levy is distributed as per the Copyright Board's allocation as: 66% to eligible authors and publishers,18.9% to eligible performers and 15.1% to eligible record companies.

84.9% author+performers combined.
14:36 August 13, 2009 by Nuname
Oh no!

Does this mean I won't be able to listen to Uggla on loop all day like I do now?
15:52 August 13, 2009 by bob3000
@eZee

From the Canadian Private Copying Collective's website and their report financial reports upto 2007 - it would seem they have managed to pay the eligible almost 74% of the funds

(CA$ 153,634,00 paid on 206,794,00 for redistribution)

- although this is not 100% - it does seem to be a lot more than, what did you say; " but not ONE artist has seen a dime of this money"

CA$ 153,634,000 seems to be a lot more than a dime.

Maybe you have the direct link to the financial statements, which you based your comment on?
16:56 August 13, 2009 by eZee.se
My apologies, I seem to have erred on the Canadian levy point as I was quoting an older article from Wired.

BUT... please continue reading and researching via google and you will see the current levy systems (around the world) is ripe with favoritism towards big artists and the labels...as well as towards abuse/fraud (eg: torrentfreak.com/copyright-group-prosecuted-for-failing-to-pay-artists-090722/ ).

I see you have no argument against my other points in my first post...

God bless and have a nice day!
18:48 August 13, 2009 by byke
Sounds like a blessing in disguise ..... I hate that T.WAT
23:01 August 13, 2009 by sebseb
What Uggla will not tell is that maybe the Spotify's clientele don¨t care about his music, so just a few listen at Ugglas music, hence the revenue are very low.

I believe Spotify's clientèle are the ones who HATE listening at traditionally commercial radio and have to endure boring music where the same songs are played 10 times a day. So, seriously, I don't see why a Spotify user would be listening at Uggla.

Uggla is a hasbeen anyway!
01:13 August 14, 2009 by bob3000
@eZee

From earlier posts, you know I don't disagree about the way artists get themselves into bad contracts and how the major record companies has distorted the whole music industry.

We are all to blame, we bought the CD players, we bought the CD's at inflated prices. We should have given them the cold shoulder.

Boycotting would have been a clearer message, same goes for the present situation.

Read the article, looks like there was fraud by the employees - forged documents. Stock brokers have done the same, maintenance workers in a Nuclear plant filed false records. Lots of system abuse going on.

I think spotify is pretty good, it is succeeding where lots of others have failed - I use it a lot - free music on tap - like a radio station, but my playlist - great - can't say I listen to Uggla, so no loss.
03:26 August 14, 2009 by kenny8076
this guy must be running low on funds, all musicians ever cry about is money, how about putting all that focus on an entire ALBUM and not just a single and people will start purchasing albums again, probably not for the boat payments they charge now though, when i was 13 i could go into the electronics store and buy a cd for $8.99, im 25 now and you cant go in any bestbuy store in the states and buy a new release cd for less than $18.99. and the album WONT have as many tracks on it nor the quality as back in the day. i will keep "sharing" music untill they market a better product worth the gas to the store and my time!!!!
04:43 August 14, 2009 by bob3000
@byke

Who rattled your cage?

At least eZee is willing to have a bit of a ding dong and spar a bit.

Often the discussion is the better part of the miss-targeted dross articles on here.

-his opinions are fairly consistent and make sense - which can't be said for a lot of the others.

I see from elsewhere - you don't seem shy about mincing your words either.
14:22 August 14, 2009 by byke
@ boob3000

I dislike Magnus Ugla as a supposed "artist".

No one rattled my cage, just more so a case of a certain poster didn't read what I said.
00:04 August 16, 2009 by Dick Swinger
Music is a gift.
08:15 August 18, 2009 by ooh456
I was surprised to hear that Sony is linked to Spotify. I thought they got everything wrong these days. It's the first good news I heard about Sony in about 5 years.
10:02 August 19, 2009 by Nika-NM
This comment from Uggla doesn't come across as plausible whatsoever. No wonder his record sales have been dawdling cos he's long past his sell-by date maybe a decade ago or even more, so no use passing the buck. it's hateful.
10:52 August 19, 2009 by onlymini
It's not Spotify's fault, he just gotta make better music? I guess the money isn't THAT bad as he describes, otherwise he would give us a number.
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