If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of windowing, rest assured, it is similar in exactly zero ways to planking. Well, according to Spotify executive Ken Parks, the two practices are similar in one way: being “a very bad idea.” Windowing is the practice of artist requesting that their albums be available for streaming only if they’re behind a paywall, meaning that anyone not paying either for the record via an online music store or via the paid service of a streaming music platform like Spotify is only able to get samples. In the case of Spotify, artists that choose to window their albums don’t get space at Spotify at all, such as in the high-profile situation with Adele’s explosive 21.
In an interview with Fast Company, Parks spoke in no uncertain terms about his opinion of windowing, calling it not only “a very bad idea,” but also “mind-boggling,” “wrongheaded,” and even “hostile” toward fans. “There’s no data to suggest that [Spotify] does [negatively affect] sales,” Parks said. He also claimed (accurately) that, “it’s ridiculous to think that an 18-year-old kid who is denied access to listening on Spotify is going to run to iTunes and buy it.”
There has been a recent cooling of relations between artists and streaming services like Spotify, owing mostly to arguments regarding royalties earned by artists as a result of digital licensing. In response, Spotify has only been more agressive in promoting their platform in their product; it was only earlier this month that CEO Daniel Ek said that there was no evidence to support claims that Spotify was hurting artists. With as many users as Spotify has paying for their service, they may have a right to be cocky. In some ways, their stance mirrors Apple’s stance when iTunes began to gain critical mass and faced a similar backlash. If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see how artists respond to Spotify digging in their heels and doubling down on their business model. [DMN]