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Black Keys Block Out Spotify From Latest Album

December 9, 2011

You won't find the Black Keys' latest album on any free streaming websites. At least not legally...

We saw it in October, when British rockers Coldplay decided that their latest record, Mylo Xyloto, would not be available on popular music streaming services. Rather, the band took a more traditional route by releasing their album on iTunes and in record stores exclusively.

Now, blues rock heavyweights The Black Keys are thumbing their own noses at Spotify and other streaming services as well.

Their seventh studio album, El Camino, was released last week on iTunes and Amazon Mp3, but licensing rights were promptly refused to streaming websites such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio and MOG. It’s as if the Keys are trying a ‘digital window’ strategy at selling their music, before time gives way to the hordes of free streaming sites.

Smart or dumb?

Well, Spotify does pay the labels licensing fees for the music, which is later proportioned to the artists. It’s not much, as say it was in 2000, but artists make their bread and butter on the concert circuit and in commercial licensing these days. It was the Black Keys who explained this in an interview with NPR earlier this year.

While some will be thankful to see an artist of their magnitude stand up against the free streaming craze, the concept does seem as inevitable as free music did in 2004, once the Napster craze had withstood an onslaught of legal retaliation.

For more on the debate of free streaming and artistic licensing, you can read these articles:

The Eagles Bite Grooveshark with Copyright

iTunes Defeating Spotify

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