The ridiculously prolific garage-rock king Ty Segall recently released a new self-titled album, but that album, like much of his vast discography, isn't available on streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music. Part of that is because he's signed to Drag City -- a label which steadfastly refuses to stream any of its catalog -- and part of that is because Segall just doesn't want his music to be streamed.
"With Spotify and all those streaming services you don't get paid anything," Segall explained in a new interview with Esquire. "You have to be like Madonna or something to actually make a real royalty from that. You make better royalties off YouTube than Spotify. Apple Music is the same.
"The truth of the matter is I don't have problem with any of those things; if they paid better, I would do them," he continued. "But they don't, they totally rip off artists. So I don't want to be a part of it. But YouTube and all that stuff, free music -- totally cool, go for it. I'd rather have the music [be] free than get ripped off by Spotify, personally. It's just funny to me; I've heard people say, 'I don't have the money to buy your album, man. Why isn't it on Spotify?' And I want to just be like, 'Here's the album for free, dude. I don't know.'"
In other words, he agrees with his Drag City labelmate Joanna Newsom's assessment that Spotify is "evil" and "garbage," although he stopped just short of calling it the "banana of the music industry."
Still, Segall's approach runs counter to the prevailing music industry trends, which have seen streaming become the dominant revenue source for labels across the business as more subscribers flock to existing services and new competitors -- such as Pandora Premium, which launched yesterday (March 13) -- join the space.
And, to put it lightly, not everyone in the business is happy about YouTube's role, even if they're on the superstar level Segall references; last week, former U2 manager Paul McGuinness called YouTube "greedy" and that "all artists are being mistreated."
A version of this article first appeared on Stereogum.