Indulge me for a minute as I talk about Spotify. It is a service that I use on a somewhat regular basis. I build playlists on it all the time, and often keep track of some of my favorite songs in that fashion. As an early adopter of it as well, my account exists in the era before you were forced to connect it to Facebook. To Spotify’s dismay, I’m also a free user, meaning that every few songs I sit through some commercials to help them pay the bills. The goal is to get you to sign up for Premium, which is ad-free. As somebody who has grown up listening to the radio and still does when driving, commercials don’t really bother me too much. But I also don’t think I use Spotify enough to justify actually paying for the ad-free experience. Premium users are where the real money is though, and presumably the more people paying for it, the more the service can afford to pay out to artists. Right now it’s fractions of pennies on the dollar. That ratio has gotten a number of artists all hot under the collar, including Thom Yorke and David Byrne, who claim that having their music streaming on Spotify might as well be working against them. If the new site Spotify Artists is to be believed however, the lack of payouts for the artists may have nothing to do with the way the service operates and everything to do with the deals that record labels cut with it. Per their stats, 70% of all money earned from the audio streams goes directly back to “music industry rights holders,” which means record labels and publishers. From there, the labels and publishers decide how much of that 70% makes it into the hands of the artists. This would seem to suggest that the artists who are angry with Spotify for unfairly capitalizing on their creative works might want to have a chat with their labels, who might really be the ones making out like bandits. Of course even then the Spotify royalty system might be a little skewed to pay out as little as possible anyways. So even if the label is giving their artists a substantial percentage of their cut, maybe the amounts coming out of Spotify simply aren’t very good. If that’s the case though, not only do artists suffer, but theoretically Spotify does too. Maybe I’m confused on that though. Set me straight, or share your opinion on the Spotify model in the comments. For now, let’s get to today’s Pick Your Poison, which is 100% Spotify free. Don’t miss tracks from Back Back Forward Punch, COLOR WAR, Freak You, Kodak to Graph, Shy Boys, Tacocat, Their / They’re / There, and Wildarms. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Doldrums, Hauschka, Marika Hackman (covering Joanna Newsom), Mode Moderne and The War on Drugs. Giorgio Moroder’s remix of Haim’s “Forever” is spectacular too.

Back Back Forward Punch – Emergency Bow Tie

Chromeo – Sexy Socialite (Salva Remix)


Freak You – There You Are (ft. Bright Light Bright Light)

Horixon ft. Robert Owens – Lifeline (Is Tropical Remix)

Kiddy Smile – Get Myself Alone (Donovans Remix)

Kodak to Graph – Glaciaa

Pale Eyes – Grey (Ani DiFranco cover)

Shy Boys – Is This Who You Are

Tacocat – Bridge to Hawaii

Take Berlin – Sebastian

Their / They’re / There – New Blood

Wildarms – U Don’t Understand

WOOF – Still Snorkeling (ft. Kyle the Fantasy)


Doldrums – Dive Deep Pt. 1

Haim – Forever (Giorgio Moroder Remix)

Hauschka – Elizabeth Bay

Marika Hackman – ’81 (Joanna Newsom cover)

Mode Moderne – Strangle the Shadows

The War on Drugs – Red Eyes