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Sheeran defends Spotify payments

Award-winning Ed Sheeran has supported the levels of payments made to artists by streaming service Spotify and pointed the finger at record labels for poor returns.

His views contrast with some other acts, including his friend Taylor Swift, who have been critical of royalty figures which gives a fee for each play.

Swift famously withdrew her entire back catalogue from Spotify ahead of the release of her latest album 1989, which had the effect of driving sales rather than diluting them through plays on the subscription service.

Sheeran has found a global audience through the service and was Spotify's most played artist of the year, accessed 860 million times. In addition, his second album x was the firm's most played album globally in 2014.

He said: "I think Spotify are paying the right amount.

"We're just not seeing it, because the labels aren't making as much as they used to, so they want to keep a lot of the money that Spotify give them, and not pay it out to us. Which is the truth. It is the truth."

Sheeran said streaming had helped him to establish his career and allowing him to sell out tours.

The star, at number one in the singles chart with Thinking Out Loud, said there were no heated discussions with Swift, who has criticised Spotify payments which are said to amount to around £0.0045 per play.

Speaking after last night's BBC Music Awards, he said: "Fair play to her. She has something she believes in. She's saying she can sell a million in week one if she doesn't put her music on Spotify, and I'm saying I can play Wembley if I do.

"It's just different strokes for different folks," he added.

"U2 can put their whole album on iTunes and that works for them. Taylor can sell records regardless of Spotify," Sheeran continued.

"She has been around for eight or nine years. She comes from an era where you do sell records - it's only been in the past five years where it's really deteriorated. She has made her name so people buy her records and it doesn't feel too foreign.

"Whereas I came through in the streaming generation. All my fans started off being students at university file-sharing my music, so it's a different generation."

Other artists whose music is not available on Spotify include The Beatles and AC/DC.

"I'm playing three Wembley Stadium (shows) on album two. I'm playing sold-out arena gigs in South America, Korea, south-east Asia and Australia. I don't think I'd be able to do that without Spotify or if people hadn't streamed my music," he said.

"My music has been streamed 860 million times, which means that it's getting out to people. I get a percentage of my record sales but it's not a large percentage, (whereas) I get all my ticket sales, so I'd much rather tour. That's why I got into the business - I love playing gigs.

"Recording albums, to me, is a means to an end. I put out records so I can tour. For me, Spotify is not even a necessary evil. It helps me do what I want to do."


From Belfast Telegraph