Black Keys: Why We Won't Stream 'El Camino'

Rockers say streaming services are unfair to musicians

December 13, 2011 8:35 AM ET
The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney backstage at Day 2 of the 22nd Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Concert.
Lester Cohen/WireImage

When the Black Keys' latest album, El Camino, hit stores last week, it was conspicuously absent from major streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and MOG. As it turns out, this was a deliberate move by the band, who have opted to withhold the record from such services for financial reasons.

Streaming services "are becoming more popular, but it still isn’t at a point where you’re able to replace royalties from record sales with the royalties from streams," drummer Patrick Carney told VH1. "For a band that makes a living selling music, it's not at a point where it’s feasible for us."

Carney told VH1 that he is fine with services such as Pandora, which are built to encourage listeners to sample new music on a song-by-song basis, but is skeptical of Spotify, which he says is "set up to be a little more fair for the labels than for the artists." By some industry calculations, a song must be streamed on such a service 100 times or more to generate the same profit that the artist would gain from the sale of one download.

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