In August 2011, metal label Century Media pulled its catalogue from streaming music service Spotify, saying “Spotify in its present shape and form isn’t the way forward”. Nearly a year later, its music is back on the service.
“We respect that music fans wanted to have instant access to our catalog via Spotify,” says the label’s president of North America Don Robertson in a statement.
“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.”
The label may still have reservations about streaming payouts: its blog post says the company “will continue to evaluate Spotify as a music discovery tool and welcome the fan’s opportunity to preview a release in its entirety before deciding to buy a copy”.
Even so, the label cites “fan sentiment and continued discussions with Spotify” as the reasons for its return. Good news for Spotify 11 months after Century Media pulled its catalogue.
A reminder of its public statements then: “Spotify in its present shape and form isn’t the way forward. The income streams to the artists are affected massively and therefore that accelerates the downward spiral, which eventually will lead to artists not being able to record music the way it should be recorded. Ultimately, in some cases, it will completely kill a lot of smaller bands that are already struggling to make ends meet.”
Even then, the label made it clear that it would continue putting up samplers of its artists, if not their full albums. Century Media’s openness and honesty with its fans throughout – both when pulling its catalogue and returning it to Spotify – is a bright spot in the wider debate around streaming royalties.