The Black Keys: Sean Parker is a thief and an ‘a**hole’

The Black Keys Patrick Carney

The beef between Ohio-based rock stars The Black Keys and Spotify just got personal. Following news that The Black Keys would not stream their new album, El Camino, on the increasingly popular music streaming service, the band has taken some direct hits at one of Spotify’s most high-profile executives, Sean Parker.

When asked during an interview with WGRD radio in Grand Rapids, MI, whether the duo believed Parker, who founded Napster, when he said that Spotify could generate more revenue than iTunes for artists, drummer Patrick Carney told it like they see it.

“No,” said Carney. “Because, [Parker’s] an asshole. The guy has $2.5 billion he made from figuring out ways to steal royalties from artists, and that’s the bottom line. You can’t really trust anybody like that.”

“The idea of the streaming service — like Netflix for music — I’m totally not against that, it’s just that we won’t put all of our music on it until there are enough subscribers for it to make sense,” Carney continued. “There are only about a million-and-a-half Spotify subscribers, I think, but if there were like, 200 million…”

As interviewer Dave Kim explains, a song on Spotify must be played an estimated 66 times to equal the same amount of royalties received from a 99-cent iTunes download — about 12 cents.

“So that’s what they’re doing,” responded Carney. “Sixty six plays will get a 12-cent royalty. But then that goes to the label, and part of that is paid out to the artist from that. You can’t make money on that.

“Trust me, [Keys frontman] Dan [Auerbach] and I like to make money. If it was fair to the artist we would be involved in it. I honestly don’t want to see Sean Parker succeed in anything, really. I imagine that if Spotify does become something that people are willing to pay for, then I’m sure iTunes will just create their own service, and do it themselves. And they’re actually more fair to artists.”

The number 66 might actually be somewhat low. According to some music industry estimates, the number of times a song must be played on Spotify for the royalties to equal one 99-cent download is between 80 and 200. Regardless, any number assigned is just an estimate, since it changes depending on the specific deal each music label struck with Spotify. Because of The Black Keys’ massive popularity, it’s likely that they would get about as good a deal as anyone.

Another thing to take into consideration is the conversion rate, from streaming to download. If a person hears a song on Spotify, it increases the possibility that they will download the track, or even the whole album. In those cases, the argument that Spotify just isn’t worth it financially is rendered moot. Also, access to music on Spotify has also been shown to reduce piracy — a practice that gives neither the record label nor the artist anything whatsoever — according to the RIAA, at least.

Obviously, the math is extremely complicated — especially because those reporting the numbers (i.e. the RIAA) are not always honest about the facts and figures surrounding their business. Moreover, the digital music age is still in its infancy. Parker’s Napster was the first iteration, iTunes the second, Spotify and similar services the third. Whether the music labels like it or not, how music fans get their tracks will continue to evolve along with the rest of consumer technology. If The Black Keys want to sit on their front porch and scream at kids, that’s their choice. But they might one day find themselves old and alone.

[Image via kate.gardiner/Flickr]
Smart Home

How’s your Spanish, Alexa? Some Amazon Echo devices pick up a new language

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices are now available for customers in Mexico. Alexa has been customized for the Mexican market with local knowledge, a new voice, and support for the Spanish dialect spoken in Mexico.
Smart Home

How to stream music from Google Home to Bluetooth speakers or headphones

Want to stream music on Google Home, but listen to it through a different speaker or a pair of headphones? Here's how to play streaming music on Google Home through Bluetooth headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Mobile

New Tidal app will bring a wave of music to your Samsung smartwatch

Tidal fans now have another way to enjoy their music collection. The Tidal app is coming to Samsung wearables, including the Samsung Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, and more. Tidal will also be bringing its wearable app to other devices.
Music

Music to our ears: Spotify at long last arrives on the Apple Watch

Spotify subscribers are now able to jam out to their favorite tunes on their favorite workout accessory, as the Swedish streaming service has finally released its official Apple Watch app.
Digital Trends Live

Hip-hop artist Rakeem Miles talks musical upbringing, ‘Dante’s Toys’

Rakeem Miles may be best known for his musical endeavors, but he's looking to change that with his forthcoming animated show. On Monday's DT Daily, we discuss Miles' origins, what drives his passions, his favorite superhero, and more.
Home Theater

Looking for a podcast? Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project is just the ticket

Pandora has created a brand new service for podcast listeners. Powered by calls the Podcast Genome Project, the new podcast offering uses an advanced combination of algorithms and human curation to deliver the perfect podcasts for you.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Home Theater

A recent Twitter leak may show the upcoming AirPods 2 model

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Music

The best movie soundtracks of all time, from 'Star Wars' to 'E.T.'

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled popular music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.