Investigators Assemble!

  1. The Gathering

I have 5 links that I want to investigate: “The Spotify Problem Solved (In 3 Steps)” (Startup Musician), “Streaming is the Future, Spotify is Not, Let’s Talk Solutions” (Trichordist) “How To Make Money from Spotify by Streaming Silence” (The Guardian) and two articles that haven’t been nuggetted; “Nearly Half of us are Piraters” (Marketplace Tech) and “Spotify Really Does Reduce Music Piracy, but at a Cost” (Engadget) I’ve found a couple tags that I think are most universal of all my links and will branch out into how I think they are best represented. The first is ‘Solutions’ in which the idea of Spotify is great but the business standpoint for it is flawed. There are clearly steps that can be taken to reduce piracy, increase profit (because they are actually losing money), and benefit musicians who are being (my second major point) ‘Devalued.’ When I mean musicians are being devalued, I mean that they make a living off of making music that others either choose to get through other means like pirated music or free streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. Spotify is a devaluing factor primarily because of the royalty payments; which is similar to a flat rate, per stream, system. Musicians are making less than what their music is worth. My third major point actually stems from one of out dreamers, “Engelbarts Law,” which dictates that the ability to improve resides entirely with the human mind. Music is great, it’s becoming more diverse and culturally intuitive than ever before. Spotify on the other hand is still in a ‘Darwinistic’ stage that is under the impression that business will thrive off the few big artists… Wrong! My 4th major point is that ‘Free Is Not, and Will Never Be Free.” There are FREELOADERS in this country, around 30 million of them, using Spotify’s free service daily. Ultimately, these users are crippling the royalty payments given back to the artists and water down the value of premium users. There are other factors that these FREELOADERS are tied into that I can explain more later. My 5th major point a “Minimum Payment” in which Spotify could standardize their royalty payments so that it isn’t as debilitating to the music industry.

2) The Planning

#Solutions

The articles that tie into this point are from the Trichordist and Startup Musician. Both articles provided strong assertions on what should be done in the War Against Spotify. Both articles supported Transactional Windowing (Music newer than 6 months will be paid by the length of the transaction… ie: consumer pays $2.00 for the new Lady Gaga album, gets 2 months access to the song before the album is released on other mediums… aka: exclusivity) and getting rid of FREELOADERS (Stockholm Syndrome; essentially a psychological event, similar to captors and hostages, in which hostages express empathy and sympathy towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending the captors… Itunes is the most successful music business and doesn’t need a free user access). These ideas tie into my other tags, but I think that’s the point, that all these major points are to file in together at some point, connecting ideas (or nuggets).

#Engelbarts Law

The articles that tie into this point are from The Guardian and Marketplace Tech. Marketplace acts more as a supportive, evidence factor to the Guardian that thoroughly supports the idea that Spotify is handling their business in a childish manner and it is hurting musicians; but musicians aren’t taking this one sitting down. Music is becoming a more culturally diverse medium, piraters (1% of Americans; 6 million people) are still at large and using old and new ways to pirate music, Spotify on the other hand is still in the dark ages of business. By ‘dark age’ I mean that the business thinks they can take advantage of musicians and get away with it; it is not this day (this day we fight). Ultimately this ties in to the devaluing of musicians as well as a possible solution to the issue.

#Devalued

Most of my articles will tie into this major point (Engadget, The Trichordist, and Startup Musician), although Engadget works more as the other side of the argument. The Trichordist and Startup Musician thoroughly support the idea that because Spotify isn’t paying enough out to their respective artists, they are devaluing the music that the artists let them stream. Engadget refutes saying that Spotify not paying the artists as much isn’t a devaluation of their music, but rather it is a substantial gain. Engadget says there’s clear evidence that the business is paying artists for music that would have otherwise been sold as a pirated medium, but at the cost of a loss of revenue from the people that would have straight up bought the music directly from the artist. I think it’s important that not only my side of the story is investigated, but also the refuting side. In the end, it is up to the reader to agree or disagree.

#Free Is, and Will Never Be Free

I’ve connected the Guardian and Startup Musician to this point. Both heavily support the idea that FREELOADERS are lowering the value of paying users on Spotify. They evidence this by saying that there is not a big enough difference between the free users and paying users, so essentially they want to solve this problem by making the gap bigger; free users will get a little less but the paying users will get extensively more out of their money than that of a free user (almost making the free users jealous of the paying users). Why is this important? Artists get their royalty payment based on two flat rates, free and paid, the value of (around) 17 free streams is equal to 1 paid stream. The artists are making extensively less than what their music is originally worth. This may not effect the bigger artists like Lady Gaga and Drake, but the medium to smaller artists are primarily affected (No BS Brass, Youngblood, Snarky Puppy). It almost works a little bit like the wealth gap in America today; the top few artists hold all the money while the other 99% share the lesser of it. In this case it is false! Spotify would actually make more money out of its smaller artists than its larger ones (more on that later). Case in point; ‘free’ users are negatively effecting the artists as well as the overall profit of Spotify.

Side Note: People are willing to pay $6 for a cup of coffee that is a one-time use, is cheap to make, and is ready in a few minutes (unless you’re in the morning rush). People are afraid to pay $1 for a song that lasts a lifetime, takes years to practice, and weeks (even months) to prepare and record. #BuyTheAlbum

#Minimum Payment

I’ve related the Trichordist and the Guardian to this last point. The Guardian acts more as a supportive article to the Trichordist which ultimately asserts that in the business world, music is overvalued and needs to be given less economic attention. Society on the other hand places a lot of value in music, but doesn’t feel the need to pay for that value. It’s almost like hiring an independent contractor; say a plumber. You can pay $100 for a professional plumber (doesn’t have to come back for second or third tries), or you can pay $10 to find a plunger and do it yourself (probably a crappy job)… Not necessarily the best analogy, but point made. The Guardian supports minimum payment through a means of non-violent protest from Vulfpeck (streaming silence over night to increase revenue). I feel these articles tie in to the the solutions as well as the devaluing points I make.

3) The Advising

Doug Engelbart (as stated previously) says that the ability to develop comes only within the human mind. Engelbart would agree that Spotify hasn’t developed enough as a business, but has become more of a different medium of pirating (just with small pocket change royalties). Music and pirates have both developed over time, creating culturally diverse music while having new mediums of pirating. Spotify has stuck to its old Darwin-like ways and refuses to conform to the business stature.

Ted Nelson says that “technology is intended to be a creative process with the users in mind.” The technology he would refer to is Spotify, a creative process with the users at the head. Nelson would most likely disagree with my claim, asserting that Spotify is not primarily for the artist’s benefit, but rather for the user (FREELOADER or not). Although Nelson would disagree with me, I believe it’s important to gather both sides of the story, differing perspectives.

Vannevar Bush predicted that “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.” This encyclopedia he would refer to is Spotify and the associative trails; he might refer that to the musical link that Spotify provides for users (perhaps even the computer algorithm associated with connecting users to different musics). I feel that Bush would also disagree with me, that Spotify is for the enjoyment of the users rather than the benefit of the musician.

4) The Missioning

In my personal War Against Spotify there are a few main points I want to talk about. The first is that Spotify is one of the leaders in crippling the music business. The second is how artists and those in the music business are reacting to the money raker. The last, and perhaps most important point has to do with solutions to the issue at hand. These solutions would break into three categories: Transactional Exclusive Streaming, Stockholm Syndrome (Get rid of the FREELOADERS), and Minimum Payment.

2 comments on “Investigators Assemble!

  • wow very interesting topic! I think when people download free music they are not thinking about the fact that they are lowering the value of the company, they just want there music. I think this is a great topic to bring to light because many people really have no clue or don’t see it in that way

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