Last week, Spotify came under a lot of fire as Radiohead's Thom Yorke removed both his 2006 solo debut The Eraser and side project Atoms for Peace's full length debut Amok from the online music streaming service as a result of the lack of fair royalty payments. Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich backed up this decision with on Twitter, "Anyway. Here's one. We're off of spotify.. Can't do that no more man.. Small meaningless rebellion… Someone gotta say something. It's bad for new music..." Not being the first to do this, Four Tet, who removed nearly all of his music from the service a few months ago, also weighed in on the affair.

So, how does a company spin such bad press? By essentially publishing a report on piracy in the hopes that maybe it would show the benefit of Spotify. The findings showed that festivals appear to increase the demand for an artist's music, which many satiate through online piracy. The study, taken at the Dutch Stoppelhaene Festival in 2012, declares that, "Our analysis uncovered some examples of torrents spiking immediately after festival performances."

They also discovered that artists who don't immediately make tracks or albums available for streaming to coincide with the official release are more likely to find their music pirated. One Direction's Take Me Home was released on Spotify at the same time as its actual release, leading to what Spotify calls |instant gratification" and sales at a ratio of 3.79 copies per BitTorrent download. Rihanna's Unapologetic, however, was not instantly released on Spotify and did much worse, selling only 1.36 copies per BitTorrent download.

It seems like a very big attempt by Spotify to save face here and, as Consequence of Sound says, "The counter to Spotify’s argument, of course, is that most artists probably stand to make more money playing a music festival than they would from a Spotify royalty check." But the study itself still makes for interesting reading, particularly surrounding the "instant gratification".

Update: Spotify have sent us the following regarding the report:

Will Page, Spotify's Director of Economics, said: "Adventures in the Netherlands saw some unusual evidence of torrents spiking immediately after festival performances in the Netherlands, when studying the case of two specific mid-size bands. This Dutch activity was all the more surprising given that it is in direct contrast with the trends we see in the Nordics and other markets, where we regularly see dramatic spikes in streams on Spotify following festival and gig performances."



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