@cushac: Bootleg Podcasts Are a New Frontier for Unlicensed Music on Spotify

[Editor Charlie sez:  Welcome back to the Super Bowl of Whack A Mole.  This is a huge issue and shows again how little the services pay attention to infringing content because of the fake “DMCA license”.]

Spotify and other major platforms like Apple don’t publicly disclose their processes for ranking podcasts, but industry experts believe the calculation involves a combination of factors like play count, number of subscribers, and listener ratings. The regular appearance of apparently pirated material on the music podcasts ranking raises the possibility that a song like “In My Feelings (Spanish Version)” is a minor hit that isn’t being formally accounted for.

Read the post on Pitchfork.

@overlordror: Testament Frontman — “Spotify is Making Billions Out of Our Music”

Testament frontman Chuck Billy recently shared some depressing thoughts on  Spotify and music streaming in general.

The band joined music streaming platforms despite believing that artist royalty payments are too low. During an interview on Underground Australia, Billy was asked to share his thoughts on the digital age. The answer was mostly a tale of gradually giving in after years of sinking monetization on digital platforms.  

Read the post on Digital Music News

@hypebot: Alleged Music Pirate Also Stole Dozens Of Hypebot Articles

RikiMusic is pirating dozens of articles from Hypebot as well as allegedly uploading tracks from indie artists to Spotify and Amazon Music without authorization….

Caleb Jackson Dills, who first wrote about the music theft for Artists Rights Watch, also noticed that the content on the RikiMusic blog looked familiar.

Virtually all of the dozens of posts on the RikiMusic site were pirated directly from Hypbot.com and illegally published verbatim without attribution.

Read the post on Hypebot

@ashleyrcarman: Spotify will use everything it knows about you to target podcast ads

[Editor Charlie sez:  We often talk about how Big Tech uses our music as a data honeypot that allows platforms to learn all kinds of psychographic data about us.  In fact, Spotify playlists are in buckets based on psychographic segmentation for this very purpose.  Now we see what they do with all this data scraping. Spotify is tying your data it tracked scraped from its music streaming dominance to gain an advantage selling a tied product. Spotify uses the artist’s music as a honeypot to track and scrape your data to boost tracking and scraping your data from the podcast honeypot.]

Spotify is going to start using its copious amounts of user data to run targeted ads inside its exclusive podcasts. Targeted advertising remains new ground for podcasts, and the announcement sets Spotify up to potentially branch out beyond its own shows and begin placing ads in other networks’ content. If it catches on, Spotify could become a full-blown podcast ad network.

With technology it’s calling Streaming Ad Insertion, Spotify says it’ll begin inserting ads into its shows in real-time, based on what it knows about its users, like where they’re located, what type of device they use, and their age, similarly to how the broader web operates. Spotify already automates dynamic ad insertion on the music side of its business, it’s now expanding and improving that tech for podcasts.

Read the post on The Verge

@waltmossberg Pans Spotify’s Data Scraping Using Podcasts as Privacy Invading Honeypot #irespectmusic

“This planned violation of privacy by Spotify is a huge reason to stick with @Applefor podcasts. Ads in podcasts are fine with me, and I’ve even bought products advertised on some of my favorite shows. Ads based on vacuuming up my private info aren’t OK.”

Is Streaming a New Shadow Economy?

…there was lunch in the larger, first floor cafeteria where, in the corner, on a small stage there was a man, playing a guitar, who looked like an aging singer-songwriter Mae’s parents listened to.

“Is that….?”

“It is,” Annie said, not breaking her stride.  “There’s someone every day.   Musicians, comedians, writers….We book them a year ahead.  We have to fight them off.”

The singer-songwriter was signing passionately…but the vast majority of the cafeteria was paying little to no attention.

“I can’t imagine the budget for that, ” Mae said.

“Oh god, we don’t pay them.”

The Circle, by Dave Eggers

The New York Times teased their reporting today by Andy Newman on “canning” entitled “Making ends meet, five cents at a time.”

In New York City, a shadow economy has sprouted up around recyclable bottles and cans. Dionisia Rivera, above, sells the items she collects on the Upper East Side.

Our reporter takes you inside the world of “canning,” which provides a lifeline to thousands as stable low-skill jobs disappear in the city.

“Five cents a time”?  Really?  That’s at least 10x more than a Spotify stream.  Maybe we’re in the wrong business.  In fact, maybe we should be in the business of canning at Spotify’s palatial offices in the World Trade Center.

It’s kind of amazing that Spotify doesn’t have “Cans for Musicians” as part of their extensive recycling program.  You know, help them musos get their side hustle on.

It may be the only thing green about streaming.

Photo by Andrew Seng for the New York Times

@variety: New Netflix Original to Tell the Story of Spotify’s Creation

Variety reports that the Spotify corpcomms book “Spotify Untold” is getting an order from Netflix for a series telling the story of Spotify’s “creation” featuring–guess who?  The levitational awesomeness of Daniel Ek.  No word on who will play David Lowery, Melissa Ferrick, Bob Gaudio or Brownlee Ferguson.  So Netflix–which screws songwriters–is promoting Spotify–which also screws songwriters.  And joins into Spotify’s lawfare campaign against Apple.

Perfect.

According to Variety, it’s not a question of astroturf writ large, it’s “a case of one disrupter [Netflix] telling the story of another [Spotify], Netflix has boarded a series about the creation of Spotify, the Swedish startup that’s become one of the world’s leading music services.”

So where’s what’s not mentioned in the Variety story on the Netflix deal is the Bergman-esque cheap shot at Apple the “authors” of “Spotify Untold” take at Steve Jobs on his death bed.  This one is just bizarre and is the kind of thing you could imagine oozing from the mind of Daniel Ek.  Maybe instead he should have been styled in a badminton game with Jobs.  (I drill down on the loose ends in this storyin another post.)

As reported in an earlier story about the book in Variety:

Barely a page into the book “Spotify Untold,” Swedish authors Jonas Leijonhufvud (pictured at left) and Sven Carlsson paint an odd scene. The year is 2010 and Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek is facing a succession of obstacles gaining entry into the U.S. market — or, more specifically, infiltrating the tightly-networked and often nepotistic to a fault music industry. As stress sets in, Ek becomes convinced that Apple’s Steve Jobs is calling his phone just to breathe deeply on the other end of the line, he purportedly confesses to a colleague.

Which aspect of this story got them a Netflix deal?  Was it the heavy breathing?  Or maybe the corporate funding.

There’s a saying, “don’t speak ill of the dead.”  That’s probably a bit superstitious for the Spotify Untold authors, but is good advice.  It’s unbecoming and Spotify should denounce it.  There’s also a saying, “don’t mock the afflicted,” so before you laugh hysterically at the story, realize that Steve Jobs caring enough about Daniel Ek to do such a thing (which assumes Steve knew Daniel Ek existed) was something that was very important to Daniel Ek

One thing I can tell you is that the Steve legend (a competing hero’s journey myth–a real one) has some choice tales of voice mails.  None of them involved heavy breathing, and Variety reports that the authors were not able to confirm this rather insulting and perverse allegation.

So why bring it up in their book or in press interviews?