The Black Keys black out Spotify, MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody

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The Black Keys’ latest album, ‘El Camino,’ is out everywhere -- except Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody.

The band’s decision, first reported by Digital Music News, comes after Coldplay and Mac Miller made similar calls earlier this year to withhold their newest releases from streaming music services that give subscribers online access to millions of albums on demand -- either for free during a trial period or for a monthly fee.


The move highlights a fear among bands and music labels that having a new album available for streaming would result in lower sales.

Spotify has refuted this notion, saying music sales in aggregate tend to increase in markets where it introduces its service. Other music services have argued that streaming music actually helps listeners discover new songs that lead to purchases that would not have occurred otherwise.

MOG, a music streaming company based in Berkeley, confirmed the absence of ‘El Camino’ on its service. ‘There are some artists, in this case the Black Keys, which ... restrict their content from streaming services,’ said MOG spokeswoman Marni Greenberg. ‘As always, we’re just adhering to the requests of the content provider.’


Spotify, which has about 10 million listeners worldwide, declined to comment on the Black Keys’ decision.

When Coldplay froze Spotify and other services from the October debut of ‘Mylo Xyloto,’ the head of Spotify’s U.S. operations, Ken Parks, issued the following statement to The Times:

We have strong support from the music industry, and of course respect the decision of any artist who chooses not to have their music on Spotify for whatever reason. We do however hope that they will change their minds, as we believe that the Spotify model is adding, and will continue to add, huge value to the music industry.


Coldplay is in an extreme minority of artists who did what they did. Right now we have already convinced millions of consumers to pay for music again, and they are generating real revenue for the music business. As we increase in scale, we will continue to re-educate millions of additional consumers as to the value of music, and we will thereby revitalize artists’ ability to make music and make money from it.

Artists can -- and do -- receive very substantial revenues from Spotify, and as Spotify grows, these revenue streams will naturally continue to grow. Spotify is now the second single largest source of digital music revenue for labels in Europe, and we’ve driven more than $150 million of revenue to ... artists, publishers and labels since our launch three years ago.

A few bands or labels, it seems, haven’t quite jumped on board. Part of the reason is that a song has to be played between 100 and 150 times on a streaming service in order to generate the same licensing revenue as a single download sale.


Album review: The Black Keys’ ‘El Camino’

Spotify: Making free music pay off

Google Music presses play on MP3 store


-- Alex Pham