Ninja Tune's Peter Quicke: "Spotify is our Biggest Revenue Source"

[PIAS]'s The Independent Echo blog regularly posts wonderful and informative interviews with various record label managers. The latest features Ninja Tune's Peter Quicke who has been managing that label for 25 years. It's always interesting to hear the perspective of a label that once made its bacon through vinyl and CD sales, now that we are well on our way into the streaming age. Says Quicke:

Spotify is our biggest revenue source. Would it be better if streaming never existed and we carried on selling vinyl and CD? I don’t know. In a way, the reverence for the artifact is tied up with the emotions of the music. Streaming is gradually breaking that down – people’s relationship with music is possibly becoming more incidental and less involved and emotional. But on the other hand, it makes it possible for people to listen to music all the time.

{Spotify feels} like an honest broker paying a fair royalty. But the other thing they’re doing is making the long-tail thinner and probably making the pool of music that gets listened to thinner. That’s not a good thing. It’s the tyranny of choice. People don’t know what to listen to so they listen to the Spotify playlists. From our point of view it’s fine [with a large catalogue], although we’re always learning what works and what you have to be careful of. Whether culturally it’s good long-term is an interesting debate.

It probably is harder now {to start a successful label}. But when I started doing this, for years I worked all day and all night, and it was fucking hard. Nobody wanted to review our records. There were a few fans, but nobody cared. We sold 2,000 or 3,000 at best. It’s hard whenever you start a record label. In a way it’s easier now because you don’t have to spend loads of time fretting over manufacturing. Starting a label at any time in history is just shit-tonnes of work for years.


Be sure to read the full interview HERE.