Entertainment & Arts

Spotify boycotts 'alienate fans'

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin
Coldplay's manager said he was worried that Spotify was competing with download stores

Singers and bands who withhold their albums from music streaming services, such as Spotify, are in danger of alienating their fans, an executive from record label Universal has said.

Acts including Adele and Coldplay kept their latest albums off Spotify, which is seen by some as damaging sales.

But Francis Keeling, vice president of digital at Universal Music, said such acts risk "alienating their fanbases".

Universal is the world's most successful record label.

Adele's track Rolling In The Deep was the most-played single of 2011 on Spotify UK, but the star has withheld the complete album, 21 - released by the XL label - from the service.

Coldplay's manager Dave Holmes recently told Bloomberg Businessweek that the band's Mylo Xyloto, released on EMI, would be on Spotify eventually.

But he said: "I am very concerned. Spotify competes with download stores."

The Black Keys and Tom Waits are among the other high-profile acts who have kept their latest releases off streaming services.

Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach told Billboard magazine that the royalties from streaming services were "so minuscule it's laughable".

"It's a cool thing to have if you're in a new band and you want to be heard," he said. "But if you are a bigger band that's already known and you rely on record sales for a living, then it's really no place to be."

Universal has said its research proved that Spotify did not cannibalise sales, and Mr Keeling said the label negotiated with artists on a case-by-case basis.

"Over time, we're trying to convince our artists that streaming services are the right thing to do and these services should be supported," he said, according to PaidContent.

Mr Keeling was speaking at the label's Investors' Open Day in London, where Spotify announced that it now had three million paying subscribers, with approximately 12 million more using its free service.

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