“I’m about to pull my catalog from these vultures, enough’s enough”: Is Deadmau5 about to delete Spotify?

Spotify logo and Deadmau5 performing
(Image credit: Getty Images/Jason Koerner/MARTIN BUREAU)

Deadmau5 has issued a rallying call to artists, and is threatening to pull his entire catalogue from the streaming giant he is now calling “those damn vultures”.

He comes a few weeks after the Spotify founder caused a backlash when he mused on Twitter/X: “Today, with the cost of creating content being close to zero, people can share an incredible amount of content. This has sparked my curiosity about the concept of long shelf life versus short shelf life.”

“While much of what we see and hear quickly becomes obsolete, there are timeless ideas or even pieces of music that can remain relevant for decades or even centuries.”

deadmau5 - Hyperlandia (Original Mix) - YouTube deadmau5 - Hyperlandia (Original Mix) - YouTube
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As any musician will tell you, ‘creating content’ doesn’t come cheap. Either in time, or in money. Ek’s comments angered a number of artists, Deadmau5 included. 

The EDM producer took to his Instagram account to reply to Ek personally: “Incorrect. The cost of creating content was 25+ years of my life and much of those proceeds going to your company you complete f*cking idiot.”

When one fan replied that he hated Spotify too, Deadmau5 went further, posting: “I’m about to pull my catalog from these f**king vultures, enough’s enough.”

His catalogue – for what’s it’s worth – is an extensive one. Deadmau5, aka Canadian producer Joel Zimmerman, first rose to prominence in the mid-Noughties. He’s released nine albums under his Deadmau5 banner and was one of the producers at the forefront of the EDM movement that swept North America in the latter part of that decade. He’s probably as well known for his stage gear – a giant illuminating mouse head – as for his music.

deadmau5 - Raise Your Weapon - YouTube deadmau5 - Raise Your Weapon - YouTube
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It remains to be seen whether Deadmau5 follows through on his promise. The few Spotify refuseniks that there are tend to be heritage artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell who at this stage in their careers have little to lose from boycotting the platform. 

Both those artists announced they were pulling their music from the site in the wake of the Joe Rogan podcast furore early in 2022. But the only artist under the age of 50 to follow them was nu-soul singer Indie.Arie who, announcing her boycott, said “Paying musicians a fraction of a penny? And HIM $100M? This shows the type of company they are and the company that they keep.”

Could Deadmau5, in Ian Dury’s words, be the catalyst that sparks the revolution? What will it take for his fellow artists to rise up in solidarity with him against their oppressor? Musicians of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your... er, pennies.

Will Simpson
News and features writer

Will Simpson is a freelance music expert whose work has appeared in Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Guitarist and Total Guitar magazine. He is the author of 'Freedom Through Football: Inside Britain's Most Intrepid Sports Club' and his second book 'An American Cricket Odyssey' is due out in 2025