A Swedish indie label focusing on avant-garde, classical, jazz and Nordic music is making headlines around the world – but not for its music. Instead, Blue Music Group is getting attention for whipping its catalogue off Spotify. “Having the catalog available at Spotify’s pitiful rates – and we’re talking about fractions of cents per streamed song – kills all chances to produce new fruitful music,” said label founder Mika Pohjola. “Blue Music Group is keen to pay its artists fairly, we have one of the highest royalty rates in the industry. We rely on people buying our downloads from Apple iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp. These vendors, especially Bandcamp, gives a straight-forward deal on downloads, and they understand musicians need to get paid.” This isn’t so much about fairness or straightforwardness – Spotify and iTunes both pay out 70% of revenues after all – but it’s a more important argument about whether small labels in genres like jazz and classical feel they can make money from the mainstream streaming services.

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