The song was launched on Spotify last Friday, with Pink Floyd’s official Twitter account guaranteeing that the rest of the catalogue might be unlocked once it passed 1m streams.
Pink Floyd is the newest major artist to be a part of Spotify, as it attempts to convince more music fans to pay up to ￡9.99 a month for its streaming program, instead of buy songs and albums as particular person downloads from digital stores like Apple’s iTunes.
“It’s a wonderful day for fans of prog rock, however it’s also a wonderful day for younger fans who have yet to be truly turned on to the magic of Pink Floyd,” said Ken Parks, Spotify’s main content officer. “That’s lots of what this is about: bringing a new generation of fans to one of the largest and most iconic bands across the world.”
Spotify has in excess of 24 million active users, with 6 million of them paying for its program and the rest applying its advertising-supported free option.
The company signed an exclusive deal for Metallica’s back catalog in December 2012, and convinced Paul McCartney to return his archives to Spotify in November 2012, once they had been removed from all streaming providers in 2010.
Spotify doesn’t have exclusive streaming rights for Pink Floyd. The band’s catalog has been available on rival streaming programs like Rhapsody, Rdio and Deezer for years albeit just for paying subscribers.
Pink Floyd’s change of tune displays a wider debate in the industry about the merits of streaming providers like Spotify, and regardless of whether they could help reverse the decade-long decline in recorded music sales.
Spotify’s per-stream payouts for songs performed by its users are low. At the acknowledged industry average of simply under 0.4p per stream, 1m Spotify downloads pays out about ￡3,800 small beer for a band just like Pink Floyd, whose career album sales are measured in the hundreds of millions.
The distinction with Spotify and its competitors is that they pay out for every play, which means the royalties increase.
Spotify says it will pay over ￡318m to music rights holders in 2013, but has met criticism from some artists more than the size of its payouts.
Pink Floyd’s digital music plan has started controversy in the past. In 2010 the band won a high court battle towards their label EMI over whether their albums might be sold as individual song downloads on Apple’s iTunes Store.
3 years on, the Pink Floyd catalogue could still be cherry-picked on iTunes, and today albums such as The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall can be found on Spotify to be sliced up and diced into playlists however fans like.
Spotify will currently turn its attention to some other streaming refuseniks, like the Beatles, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.