Having millions of music options right at your fingertips, the ability to make hundreds of playlists to fit your mood or occasion with access to them online, offline or right from your phone sounds like a dream. People have found themselves asking, “Seriously? This exists?” Yup, it’s Spotify.
This reasonably recent to evolve live streaming music site has been growing in popularity since its availability in the states in 2008. With over a million users and growing, other live streaming music sites are starting to watch Spotify.
Originally, created in Sweden, founder Daniel Ek wanted to develop a program to combat the country’s worrisome piracy issues, and Spotify was born.
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From a consumer standpoint, Spotify has minimal negative features; a 16 million track selection, upgrade packages for $5 and $10 per month, and the artists get paid through royalties, so it’s not stealing? Right?
Some musicians would say otherwise. One Todd Gautreau from the band Crushed Stars spoke out against Spotify on the Crushed Star’s Facebook page. Gautreau said the program was not providing independent artists with enough of royalty to be considered fair. He went on to tell Spotify does not encourage its subscribers to buy any of the music.
This may seem unfair, but Spotify is out to make money as well. It’s rather apparent Spotify wouldn’t recommend its subscribers buy tracks because right now, Spotify is the only source for that subscriber to hear this song. If the road is purchased, Spotify will have less time from that subscriber using its program to listen to the purchased track.
The Crushed Stars do not allow their music on Spotify for the very reason Gautreau spoke out about on his band’s Facebook page. Instead, they have chosen to work with Pandora, one of Spotify’s biggest competitors. Gautreau explains he believes Pandora’s ability to suggest songs leads to more new song discovery, where Spotify is more on-demand music.
Gautreau went on to say he feels music streaming is just a legal form of piracy. The frustrated musician explains the royalties are so small; artists are receiving less than a penny per stream. This hardly adds up, to a small independent band, to anything more than if consumers were to download the track illegally.
Of course, it is better than nothing, right? Other musicians believe so. David Ponder of the band, Somebody’s Darling, is a Spotify user himself. Ponder agrees partly with Gautreau that he wished the fractions of pennies his group received from Spotify were a little more substantial, but Spotify has benefits that are unignorable.
Gautreau feels genuinely independent artists who depend on services like Spotify for payment and to gain recognition will flounder. He states that most of these bands can’t even pay their recording costs with the low rates that Spotify provides.
Unfortunately, for indie bands like the Crushed Stars, it seems the view of the consumer is more important than that of the musician. Unless more artists feel this way and begin to deny Spotify their tracks until something changes, Spotify will continue to grow in popularity.
The message Gautreau is trying to relay is simple if consumers want to hear more indie music, Spotify needs to pay them more. The underground artists aren’t getting the kind of compensation they need to continue to produce new tracks.
Music streaming services are the way our future population will listen and enjoy music. People know downloads are risky, and they don’t want to technically steal from their favorite artists, so sites like Spotify are the perfect solution.
The program is cheap, has high-quality songs, a wide variety of choices and excellent social media tie-ins. There’s no denying Spotify is a successful program and will continue to prosper into the coming years. Artists like Gautreau will have to either grin and bear it or keep fighting until someone finally hears them.
There’s no easy way to change a simplified system, but it has been done. There are millions of people in this world who feel the same frustration with Spotify and like programs Gautreau had expressed via his band’s Facebook page. It’s just a matter of getting them to speak up.