Soon after Spotify began sweeping the U.S. last July, a number of independent labels began to pull their content from the service, citing comically small per-stream payouts for artists and condemning the service as not beneficial for independents.
Century Media, the metal-leaning EMI affiliate, was one such label, pulling their catalog August 9 and stating that the Spotify model "in its present shape and form is not the way forward."
That appeared to have changed at the end of February when new albums from Century artists Devastated and Caliban were added to the Spotify roster, only to be pulled again within a week. But the change of heart that appeared to have taken place was actually just a mistake on parent EMI's part, with the label releasing a statement saying they had "made a big mistake."
"We accidentally delivered a number of albums by Century artists to Spotify. Which is where you saw them," said the statement, originally delivered to metal blog Metal Sucks. "As soon as we realized our mistake, we immediately notified Spotify, and the titles were removed from the system. We're obviously embarassed that this happened, and we've taken steps to make sure it can't happen again. And we're very sorry to Century and its artists for the trouble we've caused."
In August, Century Media released a statement explaining their opposition to Spotify, saying "the income streams to the artists are affected massively and therefore that accelerates the downward spiral, which eventually will lead to artists not being able to record music the way it should be recorded. Ultimately, in some cases, it will completely kill a lot of smaller bands that are already struggling to make ends meet."
The question at the time was how else, in a declining sales market, an artist could make money; however, SoundScan's 2011 year-end charts marked the first positive sales growth since 2004, in a sign that perhaps not everyone is rushing to embrace streaming over ownership.
This isn't the only time a major label has caused a bit of an uproar due to a streaming service mistake; in January, Universal accidentally uploaded Van Halen's new single "Tattoo" to Spotify despite promising iTunes a one-week exclusive on the track, before pulling it down for the duration of the week.