Joanna Newsom Says Spotify Is Evil, Garbage

Joanna Newsom’s new album, Divers, comes out next week, and the typically elusive singer has been the subject of many a profile over the past few days. She talked about stalkers in Rolling Stone, and weighed in on the ever-contentious streaming music debate as part of a piece for The Los Angeles Times.

Newsom’s part of the Drag City family, a label that has made their stance against streaming music well-known, and she shares a similar opinion, calling Spotify the “banana of the music industry,” saying that “it just gives off a fume. You can smell that something’s wrong with it.” (What’s with the banana shade, Joanna? Too much playground teasing?) She elaborates:

My problem with Spotify is that, obviously the music industry is changing, and I accept that. And the way in which we’ve monetized the creation and consumption of music in the past is also changing. And I accept that too. I don’t love it, but I accept it. But in a way, that phenomenon is sort of a large, zoomed-out way of looking at everything at once. There’s a lot of moving parts. There’s a lot of things that are shifting. It’s cultural. There’s not really a villain.

[…] Spotify is like a villainous cabal of major labels. The business is built from the ground up as a way to circumvent the idea of paying their artists. The major labels were not particularly happy with the fact that as the royalty money dwindled more and more, their portion of the percentage split agreed upon in their licensing agreement got smaller and smaller.

So someone came up with a great idea that if they start a streaming company, they can make those percentages even smaller. Infinitesimal, because they can make their money from advertising and subscription, and they don’t have to pay their artists anything for that. So it’s set up in a way that they can just rob their artists, and most of their artists have no way to fight it because they’re contractually obligated to stay with the label for x amount of time and you can’t really opt out. It’s a garbage system.

Newsom also adds that she doesn’t have an opinion on TIDAL because “[she] hasn’t researched [it] enough.” Same, Joanna, same. Read the full conversation here.