27 Jun, 2024

Deadmau5 Threatens to Pull Music from Spotify Amidst Content Cost Controversy

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Deadmau5 Threatens to Pull Music from Spotify Amidst Content Cost Controversy

In the latest saga of "Tech Titans Say the Darndest Things," Deadmau5, the legendary electronic music maestro, has clashed with Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, over some controversial comments that have the music world buzzing louder than a broken synthesizer.

Late May saw Ek, the co-founder of Spotify, musing aloud about the supposedly rock-bottom costs of creating content in the digital age. "Today, with the cost of creating content being close to zero, people can share an incredible amount of content," he proclaimed, adding some philosophical seasoning about the longevity of music in our rapidly evolving culture. This didn’t sit well with many, who felt his words were as tone-deaf as a karaoke night gone wrong.

Enter Deadmau5, aka Joel Zimmerman, the man behind the mouse mask. Known for his no-holds-barred attitude as much as his beats, Zimmerman took to Instagram to deliver a blistering retort: "Incorrect. The cost of creating content was 25+ years of my life and much of those proceeds going to your company, you complete f***ing idiot."

Fans quickly rallied behind Deadmau5, with one stating they "hate" Spotify. Zimmerman, never one to mince words, hinted at pulling his entire catalog from the platform, calling the company "vultures." 

Ek, perhaps realizing he’d poked the bear (or rather, the mau5), backpedaled with an apology. He clarified that his intent wasn’t to downplay the struggles of musicians or reduce their art to mere "content." Instead, he wanted to explore how to ensure the truly groundbreaking works don’t get lost in the digital noise. But the damage was done, and the backlash was in full swing.

Even Spotify’s rival, Tidal, joined the fray, tweeting, "Come on, Daniel. Art is priceless and its ‘cost’ is much more than just money, it’s heart and effort." Tidal’s zinger, along with widespread criticism, underscores a growing frustration with how streaming services value, or devalue, artistic labor.

The timing of Ek’s comments couldn’t have been worse. Spotify recently boasted record profits of over €1 billion, even as they laid off staff and hiked subscription prices. To add insult to injury, the platform demonetized all songs with fewer than 1,000 streams, a move seen as a gut punch to emerging artists struggling to gain a foothold in the industry.

Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images and Noam Galai/Getty Images

Source: TopHit

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