Joanna Newsom Says Spotify Is the ‘Banana of the Music Industry’
"It just gives off a fume. You can just smell that something’s wrong with it."
Update: Spotify has extended an olive branch out to Joanna Newsom following her “banana” comments, saying that the streaming service actually does pay its artists. “We’d love to talk with Joanna about how we’re making streaming work for artists and songwriters around the world,” Spotify’s global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Cause we’d love to work with her too.” Earlier in the day, Prince took to Twitter to address some of Newsom’s accusations, but did not mention her by name. Read the full statement below:
“We’d love to sit down with Joanna and try and clear up some of the misunderstandings about how Spotify works to support artists, songwriters, and the whole music industry. For example, someone has led her to believe ‘we don’t pay artists anything’ for advertising and subscriptions — in fact, we pay around 70 percent of all our revenue, from every single advertising and subscription dollar, in royalties. We’re proud that we’re the single biggest driver of growth in music right now, and we’d love to talk with Joanna about how we’re making streaming work for artists and songwriters around the world, cause we’d love to work with her too.
Joanna Newsom’s releasing a new album called Divers next week, but don’t count on seeing that album (or any of her others) on Spotify anytime soon. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Newsom expanded on her thoughts on the service — to which, it should be noted, her label Drag City also doesn’t offer any of its material.
“Spotify is the banana of the music industry,” she said to The Times. “It just gives off a fume. You can just smell that something’s wrong with it.”
She later referred to the streaming giant as “a villainous cabal of major labels,” taking issue mostly with the way they compensate artists. “The business is built from the ground up as a way to circumvent the idea of paying their artists.”
Newsom does however have some optimism — or at least realism — about the streaming industry as a whole. “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.” As such her music is included in Pandora stations and she’s at least curious about Tidal. Bananas, however, are still on her sh**list.