Paul McCartney is the latest artist to snub music-subscription services, and in a big way. GeekWire is reporting that the former Beatle has yanked all his tunes from streaming subscription services like Spotify, MOG, and Seattle's Rhapsody. This does not bode well for the prospect of the Beatles' catalog making the jump to such services.
As bands balk at streaming subscriptions, I keep coming back to something Rhapsody CEO Jon Irwin told me recently: "Rhapsody, and services like Rhapsody -- premium, on-demand, subscription music services that focus on building a paying subscriber base -- they don't cannibalize CD sales, they cannibalize piracy."
He's got a point.
Update/Addition: I was just digging around in my archives and found a conversation I had last year with Phillip Bailey, the director of digital and mobile sales at McCartney's label, Concord. We were talking about the label's plans to re-issue McCartney's music. "A big part of the re-launch of Paul's catalog is about his legacy, and what he wants to be remembered for," Bailey said at the time. "He has quite a bit of content as a solo artist that maybe never got the attention that it should have."
I was able to get Bailey -- a longtime Rhapsody subscriber -- to talk about the label's his thoughts on subscription services as well. Here's a sample:
What expectations do you have for the subscription model? How crucial to the future does Concord think it is?
Bailey: "I think it's absolutely crucial. Subscription services are, I think they're crucial for discovery
Later in the interview ....
Bailey: Ultimately in this day and age as a music company, our responsibility is to make our products available in every configuration we can that consumers are looking for. We have to adapt as times change. It's crucial for our survival, and it's crucial for the music fan and the consumer...