A source close to American/Canadian post-metal band SUMAC has shined a light on why the band’s new album, May You Be Held, is not available on streaming platform Spotify.
Released through Thrill Jockey Records on October 2, May You Be Held popped up on Spotify that day, but was quickly removed and has not been re-added. Single “The Iron Chair” is still available to stream.
Thrill Jockey director of publicity Mike Boyd took to social media this past weekend to explain the situation, writing:
“Apologies for the confusion y’all. The iron chair was up as a single before the decision was made to not have the album on Spotify. The album BEING on Spotify was a glitch, which I had to fix. After the pretty repugnant statements Spotify‘s CEO made earlier this year, the band asked that the album not be available on that platform.”
Boyd is referring to a comment Spotify CEO Daniel Ek made during an interview with Music Ally back in August where he said artists who don’t release music constantly aren’t doing enough to do well on the platform. Said Ek,
“…Obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.”
“The artists today that are making it realize that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”
The remarks caught the ire of a number of bands at the time, eliciting comments from the likes of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach and ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy.
SUMAC has had their issues with Spotify in the past. Most notably, their 2016 album What One Becomes was broken up into different sections by their label because, as bassist Brian Cook put it, “the system favors short songs over long songs” and they did what they had to so they could get maximum pay for it.
There have been many artists both mainstream and independent that have kept their music off of Spotify and other streaming services in the past due to the way they pay artists, including Taylor Swift, Pink Floyd, Garth Brooks, The Black Keys, Beck, Aimee Mann and others. As of 2020, artists are paid roughly $0.0032 per stream.
SUMAC is guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer), drummer Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and Cook (Russian Circles, These Arms Are Snakes).
‘May You Be Held’ is available for purchase physically and digitally through Bandcamp, and can be streamed on services other than Spotify.