The backlash by certain parts of the artist community against Spotify seems to be growing each year. This is not just because of the low payouts to artists who don’t get millions of streams everyday, but also the valuation of music and Daniel Ek’s recent €100 million investment into Helsing, a European defense AI company, which has raised €102.5 million in total as part of its Series A financing. That anger has manifested in statements, challenges online and taking music away from the platform. Munich producer Skee Mask has gone one step further (and isn’t the first), to take all of his music off of the platform.
In a statement, he shared his reasoning, noting that streaming is a great way to make music more accessible. However, he says that this is “about how much / less the creators behind the music receive in terms of value, respect or space.” He also understands that the other streaming companies operate in the same way.
But the second main point is about that defense investment. “They don’t seem to use their €100 million of income to further destroy something that (almost) every musician is fighting for: uniting people.”
That may be a little unfair just to Spotify since Amazon has loads of defense and ICE contracts, while Apple and Google both have been military contractors over their time. The direct investment, instead of a paid contact, into a company by the CEO is somewhat different and has caused plenty of outrage. Spotify is also just an audio company, whereas the others are large, multi-national companies across various industries.
Skee Mask will come back “as soon as this company starts (somehow) becoming honest & respectful towards music makers.”
His label Ilan Tape has done the same with over 15 years of quality dance music taken off of the platform.
This likely won’t register at Spotify HQ, but it is a start and shows that artists and labels can remove their music. If this sparks an unlikely exodus, that may force a change at Spotify, but probably not.