UMG’s Wells: MySpace Music Not Dead Yet, Spotify’s Artist Equity Uncertain

Universal Music Group’s ever-honest international digital SVP Rob Wells gave a video interview to TheMusicVoid. The highlights…

Artist equity returns?: “In the event that a startup can’t afford to pay us an advance, then we will take equity in that company. Any advance is fully recoupable against earnings and therefore fully paid through to artists, ergo the same will be true of any equity investment…

“There may be some businesses that Universal chooses to invest its own money in to … as part of an investment portfolio – those situations are rare but not impossible. In the same way that Universal may make money by selling a building – are those revenues earned liable to royalty payments through to artists? Open question.” The big four labels are thought to own stakes in Spotify.

The Spotify effect: “What I do know about Spotify is that 80 percent of the user base of the free service have come in from file-sharing services.” “It’s killer.”

MySpace (NYSE: NWS) Music: jury out: “MySpace, internationally, is haemmorhaging traffic to other services. MySpace Music … technology is quite dated now, but they have a very good executive team in place. It’s not a stiff just yet, but we’ll see.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) Comes With Music: Going great guns in developing markets, but poor operator take-up and “poor marketing message” in key countries.

Rdio: Wells is testing the forthcoming unlimited-music service from Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom: it’s “pretty neat”.