The Black Keys, Coldplay Say No (For Now) to Spotify

Why are top acts keeping their new albums off streaming services?

The Black Keys perform in Paris.
David Wolff - Patrick/Getty Images
January 19, 2012

Spotify may be revolutionizing the way people hear music online, but some artists are worried that the streaming-music boom could cannibalize sales. The Black Keys and Coldplay held their new LPs back from Spotify (and competing services like Rhapsody), in the hope that fans will buy them. While Spotify won't reveal its royalty payouts, sources peg them around a fraction of a cent per stream. "How is that good for musicians?" says Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach. Adds drummer Patrick Carney, "We didn't want it to impact our record sales." Their strategy seems to be working: At 206,000 copies, El Camino's first-week sales are the duo's highest ever. More evidence in favor of holding back: Adele's 21, the top-selling album of 2011, is only available as a four-track sampler on Spotify.

Both Coldplay and the Keys are expected to make their albums available eventually, pointing to a new strategy for rolling out big records. "Why shouldn't we learn from the movie business?" says Scott Borchetta, CEO of Taylor Swift's label, Big Machine Records. "They have theatrical releases and cable releases. There are different tiers."

This story is from the January 19th, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone. 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »