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Spotify pays out $500m in royalties – sounds sweet

Should artists be paid for their work? If so, how much? Should it be, at any stage, OK for people with little/no money to enjoy the artist’s work without paying? Should IP be policed harder or is sharing the fault of middle-man companies that want to charge too much. These questions have been key to the music rights battles that have raged, globally, for a number of years. But detent is being reached in many quarters. KitGuru stops downloading long enough to report.

Metallica’s war with Napster is probably more famous then 90% of the band’s actual recordings. While many artists sat back and encouraged the music sharing revolution founded by Sean Parker called Napster, Metallica had the distinct sense that it was being ripped off – and fought tooth and nail to protect its rights. Parker’s latest incarnation is as a board member of Spotify – the ‘make your own radio station on the fly’ music service. Yesterday, Parker and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich shared the stage for Spotify’s rather interesting announcement on royalties.

Spotify founder and CEO, Daniel Ek, stood on stage and announced that not only has his company now paid $500M in royalties to recording artists, it is also seeing a phenomenal increase in popularity – which means that next year’s announcement will be even healthier for the music business that once so hated sharing and sharers.

To show how much the past has been buried, Ulrich and Parker engaged in a minute long kiss on stage. Er. Hold on. No. That’s not right. Ah, OK, we have it. Sorry. They actually agreed to bury the hatchet, agreed that they’d both acted inappropriately in the past and that – as a show of good faith – Metallica would now load its entire back catalogue (trailing back almost 30 years) onto Spotify.

That kind of endorsement will almost certainly encourage other bands/labels to follow suit.

Lars gives his sweaty kit a good licking while the gorgeous Sean Parker looks on

KitGuru says: The key figure here is that Spotify managed to add 1 million paying subscribers in the USA in just 1 year. Consumers, as a whole, don’t want to engage in criminal activity – they’re just looking for a deal that makes sense. Spotify is providing that. What impact will this have on Amazon/iTunes ?

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