“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.”