Jonathan Dickins — British singer-songwriter, Adele’s, manager — has recently spoken out in defense of controversial music streaming services. Following Taylor Swift’s decision to remove her entire collection of music from Spotify, Dickins spoke in favor of the music application. On the final day of the Web Summit tech conference, which took place this past Thursday in Dublin, Ireland, Dickins said, “Streaming is the future, whether people like it or not. Within five years it will be ubiquitous.”
“I don’t believe one size necessarily fits all with streaming,” he clarified. Dickins went on to explain that he feels that services like Spotify may need to change their approach if they hope to maintain good relationships with music artists, and avoid scenarios like Swift’s. In fact, Adele herself didn’t allow 21 to be available through Spotify until months after its debut.
He continued, “To get around the situation with someone like Taylor Swift — and Spotify won’t do it — is that maybe there is a window between making something available on the premium service earlier than its made available on the free service.” The manager also highlighted that he feels as though artists and their record labels are not always consistent when it comes to the perception of certain streaming services. He uses Youtube as a specific example, which he describes as “the biggest streaming service around, without a doubt.”
Dickins went on to say, “What’s interesting is that people take things down off Spotify, yet if I search now for Taylor Swift on YouTube, within the space of 30 seconds I can have the whole Taylor Swift [collection] streamed. Some of it is ad-supported, so there is revenue, and some of it’s not.” Elaborating on the disconnect from one streaming service to another, he explained, “On the one hand, the labels are trumping YouTube as a marketing tool and 10 million views is [considered to be] a marketing stroke of genius,” he continued. “On the other hand, they’re looking at 10 million streams on Spotify and going: ‘That’s X amount of lost sales.’ So I think there is a lopsided effect.”
Before wrapping up with the panel, Dickins addressed the concept of keeping the artists he represents from being “over saturated” in the music industry, because he feels that this “cheapens” the artist’s brand. He uses Adele as an example, highlighting “the power of saying no”: “One of the biggest things that I do is actually say no…‘No. I don’t want to do an Adele perfume. No. We’re not doing a [Adele] nail polish.’ Or it can be: ‘No. you’re not doing a deluxe album and putting it out at £4.99.’” He concludes, “Whatever it is, the power of being able to say no, fight for your rights and be the gate keeper to these opportunities is key.”