Category Archives: Record Labels

The Spotify Money Flow

This is how the Spotify money flows.

Spotify is a business that offers streaming music to its users. Spotify gets its money mostly from advertisers and premium subscribers.

Like any other company, Spotify has costs such as staff wages, rent and rates for the offices, and server costs for all the computers that deliver the music. Spotify also needs to pay the record labels and publishers that provide the music in the first place. The record labels then give some of this payment to the artists who created the music and to the writers who wrote the songs. PRS for Music also collects some money for the songwriters, composers and music publishers. The key thing to remember is that as Spotify earns more money, the amount it pays back to the artists also increases.

So in the beginning, here’s what the Spotify money flow looked like:

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On-U Sound in the (Spotify) Area!

Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound Records specialise in electronic dub-reggae music. They’ve been releasing their dubbed out electo-fusion for several decades now: in fact 2010 is On-U’s 30th anniversary. A core collective of producer Adrian Sherwood, Doug Wimbish (bass), Keith Leblanc (percussion), and Skip McDonald (guitar) have frequently worked together on albums from acts like Tackhead, Dub Syndicate, African Head Charge, Mark Stewart and Gary Clail.

I’ve been a fan of the On-U sound ever since a friend played me a Tackhead album back when I was a student. But many of my favourite On-U records are yet to make it onto Spotify: missing are Tackhead’s brilliant “Tackhead Tape Time”, Gary Clail’s politically charged debut “End Of The Century Party” and Dub Syndicate’s spaced-out “Stoned Immaculate.” However Adrian Sherwood’s recent Crash Slash and Mix albums are both available, as are a few other On-U-related gems. Here’s a selection.
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Spotify: An Independent Artist’s View

Northern Kind are Sarah Heeley and Matt Culpin, an English synthpop band who’ve worked with synth-stars such as Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode, Recoil), Kajagoogoo, and Simon Heyworth (Simple Minds, Mike Oldfield). Northern Kind’s 2nd album WIRED was my favourite release of 2009 and it has been available on Spotify for a few months now. I asked Matt about his experiences of Spotify from an artist’s point of view: how he went about adding his music, what sort of returns he’d seen, and his general opinions on the current state of the music industry. Read on for this exclusive interview!

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Territorial Restrictions: Spotify’s Exclusive Music for None

territory-restrictionsMost regular Spotify users will have seen a message like this before: “This Album Is Currently Not Available in United Kingdom” (or whichever country you live in). It’s an annoying by-product of the music industry’s licensing practices and the source of constant joy/disappointment for those that follow the “what’s new on Spotify” announcements and services. But now users can see what’s going on: a feature of Spotify’s new metadata API is that it lets you see these territorial restrictions for each album. This shows where you have to live to listen to an album. But it also reveals that some albums are only available in countries where Spotify itself isn’t available: in other words, there seems to be a growing archive of unplayable music in Spotify!

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Psytrance and Psybient on Spotify

Finally, we have trance on Spotify! I’ve been looking out for these genres to appear on Spotify for ages, so I was particularly pleased to see yesterday’s Spotify update including some of my favourite progressive and psychedelic trance (psytrance) acts, as well as a healthy dose of psybient and some progressive trance too. Here’s a summary grouped by record label:

Twisted Records
Simon Posford’s UK-based label specialise in psychedelic trance and psybient. If you’ve never heard psychedelic downtempo band Shpongle then you’re in for a treat: try their second album Tales Of The Inexpressible and your head will feel like a frisbee 😉 Twisted artists on Spotify now include Shpongle, Hallucinogen, Koxbox, Ott, and Prometheus.

  • Other Twisted artists to look out for: Younger Brother

Tribal Vision Records
Tribal Vision are a Czech label who publish legendary Swedish progressive project Vibrasphere. I highly recommend this band, they’ve been making some incredible electronic music for the past few years now. In particular, check out their Exploring the Tributaries album.

  • Other Tribal Vision artists to look out for: Tegma

Iboga Records
Denmark’s Iboga Records is mostly known for its minimal psytrance acts, but more recently a couple of Europe’s biggest progressive trance acts come via Iboga. Spotify now has albums from both Ace Ventura and Liquid Soul.

  • Other Iboga artists to look out for: Antix, FREq, Perfect Stranger, Sun Control Species, Flowjob, Beat Bizarre, Gaudium

Spin Twist Records
Based in Germany, Spotify now has a compilation album as well as the excellent debut “A Place to Be Real” from Spin Twist artist Day.Din.

  • Other Spin Twist artists to look out for: Neelix

HOMmega Productions & H2O records
Psytrance grew up in Israel, so it’s fitting Spotify now includes Israeli labels HOMmega and H2O. There’s one album from each of Astrix (2004’s “Artcore“) and Quadra (2008’s “Voice of Reason” album).

  • Other HOMmega artists to look out for: PsySex, X-Noise
  • Other H2O artists to look out for: Alien Project, Space Cat

Ultimae Records
French home to Sweden’s Solar Fields and Carbon Based Lifeforms. You might have heard Solar Fields on the Mirror’s Edge videogame: now Spotify has the complete discography of both artists, as well as albums from Aes Dana and Cell.

  • Other Ultimae artists to look out for: Chi A.D.

Astral Projection
Self-published, “Dancing Galaxy” the 3rd album from Istraeli psytrance act Astral Projection is now on Spotify.

Platipus Records
The British label that first got me into the trance genre back in the mid 90s, the regular compilation CDs fom Simon Berry’s Platipus Records became a must-by for me. It’s fitting then that Spotify now feaures their two-disc compilation “Platipus Beginner’s Guide” featuring tracks from Union Jack, Terra Ferma, and Quietman, all mixed by the legendary Art of Trance. I’m especially pleased to see this release includes the sublime Summit Temple from Quietman: my favourite ambient track of all time.

As always, keep an eye on the Spotinews blog for up-to-the-minute details on what’s new on Spotify.

I’ve started a thread on the isratrance forum about this, and created a best-of playlist called “Afront’s In a Trance” 😉

Labels on Spotify: Out of Line

Out of Line is a German record label who specialize in EBM, Industrial, and Synthpop. Their line-up includes Combichrist, Blutengel, And One, UK synthpop femmes Client, and Mexican aggrotechers Hocico. Browsing through their list of new and recent releases, I’ve noticed much of this is now on Spotify. Here’s a brief run-down of new Out of Line releases (with direct Spotify URIs):

Aggrotech / EBM

Synthpop / Futurepop


In a Genre All of Their Own