This is a post about Spotify, about the things I said, others said, and my responses in kind yesterday on Twitter and Facebook.
I spent a good deal of time yesterday thinking about and discussing aspects of the flaws and strengths of streaming services. I asked, via Twitter, where to go to…
Some points granted, and some missed. Granted, this system needs to be tweaked, and people need to pay for albums. Missed, the system is the best start of any other music systems that are out there currently. Grizzly Bear also came out this year pretty hard against Spotify, though I think Lower Dens did a better job vocalizing their concerns.
As 2 questions-
#1 When songs are played on the radio, do artists make money per play? For people who enjoy music like Lower Dens, radio is mostly rubbish. You won’t find anything worth keeping. To that end, Spotify fills a massive void for music discovery. It is a hone-able radio substitution, and I’d argue it is better than radio could have ever been in its functionality. So, if artists got paid per radio play, then the system IS indeed a sham. If they do not, then the system is BETTER. As Thom Yorke stated this year, people share and stream music because radio is worthless. People are not going to buy music if they haven’t heard it first. Why would they? The sideaffect with file sharing is that people rarely buy an album afterwards. For music streaming, I imagine the percentage of purchasers is much higher.
Does music dissemination, regardless of its vehicle, not strongly improve your concert attendance? Lead to more interviews? This surely would not recoup profits lost completely, but through ticket and merch sales and the ability for you to open for a band like Grizzly Bears after 1 album release, I would imagine this thought should at least be on your radar.
Regardless, when radio came out, and people could listen for free, people decried it as the end of the musician’s career. When recordable cassette tapes came out and people could record the radio, the same argument came up. With music piracy, the argument lives on. People need to buy their music- that’s obvious. But the Spotify system is the first that combines the portability of music with a system that pays per listen. Should it be tweaked? It seems so, but it should not be disregarded.