ALL THAT REMAINS Frontman Calls SPOTIFY CEO 'A D**k', Says Streaming Giant Doesn't Pay Artists Well

February 5, 2022

ALL THAT REMAINS frontman Phil Labonte is the latest musician to take issue with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's suggestion that artists need to be more prolific in the streaming age.

For years, Spotify has been criticized for offering paltry payouts to musicians and songwriters, with some claiming that the service gives major-label artists an unfair advantage via playlist placement and other promotional avenues.

In an interview published in July 2020, Ek told Music Ally: "Even today on our marketplace, there's literally millions and millions of artists. What tends to be reported are the people that are unhappy, but we very rarely see anyone who's talking about… In the entire existence [of Spotify], I don't think I've ever seen a single artist saying, 'I'm happy with all the money I'm getting from streaming,' stating that publicly. In private, they have done that many times, but in public, they have no incentive to do it. But unequivocally, from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself.

"There is a narrative fallacy here, combined with the fact that, obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can't record music once every three to four years and think that's going to be enough," he continued.

"The artists today that are making it realize that it's about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.

"I feel, really, that the ones that aren't doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released," he added.

A number of notable artists have since fired back at Ek over his suggestion that artists need to churn out more content if they want to the same money they used to, with many in the music community — including TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider, former SKID ROW frontman Sebastian Bach, ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy and STRYPER's Michael Sweet — saying that's just not how the creative process works.

Labonte offered his take on Ek's comments during a recent appearance on "The Porcupine" podcast. Saying that he is "not a fan of Spotify personally," Phil explained that the streaming giant doesn't pay artists "well" for hosting their music on the platform. "And [Ek] made some snide remark about… He's, like, 'Musicians need to understand, it's not a thing where you put out a record every two years' and blah blah blah," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "It's, like, you can be the person that came up with a creative, destructive force, and that's fine, and that's part of a free market and stuff, but when you're a dick about it, you're still a dick. If you're just, like, 'Well, you guys have gotta adapt to the market,' it's, like, look, there are a lot of artists that are in contracts that can't just put out music every couple of days. Thankfully, I'm almost out of my contract — I've got one more record, and we're recouped — so I'm in a uniquely good position; not 'uniquely,' but an exceedingly rare good position. Most artists aren't. So when he is so dismissive of the effect his creation has on the music industry and then to glibly act as if 0.0007 cents for every spin is fair, I don't think that's… At the very least, it's not someone that I wanna hang out with or someone that I wanna speak positively of. Maybe it's not illegal, maybe it's not immoral, but I'm kind of just, 'Well, you're kind of a pile, and I wouldn't wanna be your friend.'"

Earlier this month, Spotify reported a 24% increase in revenue in the quarter to $2.7 billion as total monthly active users jumped 18% to 406 million. The company reported a net loss of $39 million.

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