See Spotify Run

Spotify is a musical monster that revolutionizes the way we listen to music provides a convenient counter to piracy, yet still raises controversy among artists.

Last year, a report indicated that since 2009 there was a 25% decrease of piracy in Sweden, where Spotify got its debut. About a year after the report, Spotify came to the United States and began its path towards invading Facebook newsfeeds everywhere.

Notorious Silicon playboy and Justin Timberlake-lookalike Sean Parker has even bought into the Spotify, becoming an official board member. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Parker said “Solving the piracy problem can’t happen if you don’t build a service that’s more convenient than piracy. Spotify was the first product that I saw that competed with piracy.”

Now, I’m certainly one of the people who is responsible for filling my friend’s newsfeeds with my incessant playlist creation. I should also add that I have least inventive names for my playlists that probably weird some of those friends out. Further evidence:

But regardless of whether or not friends have unsubscribed from me on Facebook or even worse (gasp!) unfriended, I love the idea of sharing music just by listening to it. Now, I will always see myself as having the best taste in music, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t steal some inspiration based on what others are listening to. It’s the natural musical process.

Trouble in Paradise

Then there’s artist compensation.

Prior to arriving in the States, Spotify’s royalty totals were under much scrutiny. A Telegraph article debated how much artists actually received. Some sides reporting that millions of plays only generated hundreds of dollars for artists while Spotify representatives said they had paid out millions in regards to the music industry…royalties that go to labels first. The trickle down effect may be costing musicians some serious quiche cash.

This year, our friend Sean Parker began seeing some more problems with how Spotify reimburses artists. In an interview with WiredParker went as far as to say that “there’s blood in the water for labels.”

Cue the artist backlash.

When Megaupload met its end earlier this year, rapper Busta Rhymes went on the attack, claiming labels of doing deals with Spotify, saying “[They] continue to do what they do and blatantly show us how much they value the artist with doing deals of such disrespect and lack of value for our content.”

Busta wasn’t the only one. One of my favorite artists, Kno of CunninLynguists chimed in as well. To counter Spotify’s earnings, Kno opened up a pay-what-you-want option for the CunninLynguists newest album Oneirology.


Whose side do I take in all this?

Though artists don’t receive the proper amount of money, Spotify can be a great counter to piracy. Yes, I think Spotify needs to find a way to adjust its pay out method, but I can’t fully knock a business that can bring about great change. Furthermore, if I said I side with some artists, I would be a hypocrite, because, with my busted computer and iTunes randomly deleting songs from my library, it is my main music listening source. And a hypocrite I am not.

So, who ya got?


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