Wu-Tang Clan, Blink-182 Weigh in on Streaming

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 11.24.14 in News

Weeks after Taylor Swift removed her music from Spotify, opinions continue to pour in about the proper role of online music streaming.

Wu-Tang Clan‘s RZA addresses Spotify and streaming in an interview airing today on Bloomberg Television (watch below). After describing his view that fans have grown “disconnected” from the music, the hip-hop legend portrayed the speaker-based version of Wu-Tang Clan’s new album A Better Tomorrow as a “win-win” for digital and physical formats alike.

“I know we got Spotify, you got downloadable music — but vinyl is making a big comeback because people want to hold it,” RZA says. “You want to hold it. And the speaker is the best of both worlds. There’s Bluetooth, you can hold it in your hand — you can use it as Spotify — it’s up to you.”

The speaker, which comes pre-loaded with the album, has sold out at online retailer Zumiez. The full LP arrives on December 2 via Warner Bros.

Meanwhile, Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves has also shared his views on streaming. (Read our Record Club interview, How Enema of the State Changed Tom Delonge’s Life).

“I tell people condoning streaming is like condoning the Chinese that are killing elephants for their tusks and carving ivory statues,” DeLonge told FasterLouder. “It’s cool to put on your shelf but if you really think about what you’re doing it sucks.

“Streaming music is doing the same thing to artists – might not be killing ’em but it’s killing the industry. It might be cool for you as somebody that likes music but you’re not really thinking about the effect it has. We’ve got to value our art, you know?”

Swift, after pulling her music from Spotify but keeping it on music-streaming platforms without a free tier, recently explained that “I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.” Spotify’s CEO responded that she was right but about music’s value but wrong about Spotify, saying, “We’re getting fans to pay for music again.”

The analogy to ivory is an unfortunate one, not least of all because revenues from streaming are, whatever the music-listening method’s other merits, actually helping to offset the drop in music sales. What’s more, Billboard is about to publish its first album chart counting streaming and digital track sales instead of only album sales.

But RZA and DeLonge are hardly alone in taking a stance on streaming in recent weeks. YouTube is being asked to pull almost 20,000 songs from its services, including music by Pharrell, John Lennon and the eagles. A Sony Music executive said the major label is reevaluating its stance on free music streaming in light of Swift’s power play. Others weighing in this month have included Billy Bragg and Dave Grohl.