Music Business / Music Industry / Music Sales / Spotify

Spotify: Friend or Foe?


Since the beginning of its time, Spotify has always been a controversial streaming service. Ek and his team have told the music industry that his streaming service would make up for dwindling sales and help off center the effects of piracy. The truth is, Ek’s business model and background are questionable. Ek was once the CEO of uTorrent, the company that helped support and aide pirates in their piracy quest. It seems as though Spotify is Ek’s legal way to steal and under value artists and musicians. Spotify and other streaming services have devalued music and left users at the freemium membership. I truly believe these services are trying to be the life support of the music industry. They first came in to the picture with their freemium memberships, which they told everyone including other music industry professionals that users would graduate to the premium service. When we know in their minds that they don’t give a shit if anyone steps up their membership. Their goal is to devalue music and make their services accessible from anywhere and everywhere. We are able to access WIFI just about everywhere, which has allowed Spotify to have the upper hand. If you don’t believe me, this week alone Spotify partnered with Uber. Uber users who have a Spotify account can access their Spotify playing list.

Spotify’s next step is to devalue music to the point where consumers are no longer buying music due to the over saturation of free on demand streaming. For example, iTunes had so much power and made the calls for the music industry. Now iTunes sales have dropped down 15% to 20% this year alone. Don’t get me wrong, iTunes is still a powerful outlet for music, but the only outlet left standing will be the free music streaming service, Spotify. This will leave little revenue for the artists and a lot of revenue for Spotify. Spotify kills the competition, almost the same way that Walmart has taken over one market at a time.

Daniel Ek wants to be perceived as a hero to the music industry. However, in his quest to save the music industry, he’s actually killing the music industry, as we know it. The only way to change this from happening is to reshape streaming services and limit the access that users have, while giving new release a time frame to sell through conventional outlets. This week, Blake Morgan, founder of ECR Music Group, had a meeting with Spotify. Morgan said the main thing he took away from the meeting was that Spotify would never increase the artist per stream rate. In the past weeks artists and musicians have been taking a stand towards Spotify.

Most notable was Taylor Swift; she took a stand by taking down her catalog and not allowing her new title release, 1989. Taylor Swift realizes that streaming services are shrinking and devaluing music. Swift said, “People can still listen to my music if they get it on iTunes, I’m always up for trying something. And I tried it and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things. They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales. With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums. And that places a perception of value on what I’ve created. On Spotify, they don’t have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.”

I said it before and I’ll say it again, the music industry needs another distribution model that sells music in a creative and unique way, one that sparks the interest of the consumer and the artist alike. Without this I feel that the music industry will continue to spiral downward and become codependent on companies, like Spotify. After all, the vehicle is only good if you have gas.