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Metal label Century Media reverses anti-Spotify stance

July 30, 2012|By Todd Martens
  • Lacauna Coil's Cristina Scabbia in Los Angeles.
Lacauna Coil's Cristina Scabbia in Los Angeles. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

Within about one month of Spotify launching in the U.S. last year, metal label Century Media, which has its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles, pulled its catalog from the service. In a critical post on its site, Century Media Records' North American president, Don Robertson, said the streaming-music service offered by Spotify simply didn't provide a sustainable model for the music industry. 

Today, Century Media annouced it has reversed this stance. 

“We respect that music fans wanted to have instant access to our catalog via Spotify,” Robertson stated in a press release issued jointly by Century Media and Spotify. “But we also have to consider the rights of our artists. After practicing some due diligence, we’re moving ahead, confident that both the artist and the fan are being fairly served by this developing platform.”

Century Media acts include Lacuna Coil, Spineshank and Grave, among others. In addition to Century Media, brands affected include InsideOut Music, Superball Music and People Like You Records. All current and catalog music under label control is available for streaming.

Record labels have questioned whether or not ad-supported streaming services are a good model for their business, as, generally speaking, streaming services generate more incremental revenue than album sales. Any financial details that may have influenced Century's decision were not revealed, as Robertson simply stated in the release that "continued discussions" with Spotify and "fan sentiment" led to the change of heart.

Last spring, Roberstson pulled the music from Century and its affiliated labels off Spotify with the following statement: "Although we whole-heartedly recognize Spotify as a new and exciting avenue for fans to gain access to music, in its current form, it does not allow for the artists on the Century Media roster and its affiliated labels to derive the profit needed to sustain their respective careers ... and it would appear to hurt both new music and catalog sales equally."

Sweden's Spotify has been available in the U.S. for a little more than a year. In 12 months, users streamed 13 billion songs in the U.S., a number that includes free streams and those who pay a monthly fee for Spotify's premium service. Spotify doesn't break out the number of paid users per territory, but the company boasts about 3 million subscribers worldwide out of a total 10 million users. The free service comes with advertising, while a premium, ad-free service runs $10 a month and enables users to listen on mobile devices.

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