Spotify released one of their groovy ad campaigns last week. This time celebrating their freebie subscription campaign. You really do have to wonder where they find the people who come up with these things. Blake Morgan, David Lowery and David Poe all laid into Spotify with their own tweets.
Playlistomania? I wonder what it is on Spotify–that’s what 50 million tracks will do for you. If this replicates to “listener paralysis” (which seems plausible), it may help explain why the streaming revenue share model leads to declining royalty rates and greater concentration of wealth in a hyper efficient market share distribution. (Deezer reportedly conducted a similar study in 2018 using a casual poll with findings based more on age than choice.) Less is more, kids, less is more.
Nielsen’s new Total Audience Report found that the average TV viewer takes seven minutes just to pick what to watch….[A]mong adult subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) users, only a third of them bother to browse the menu to find content, with 21 percent saying they simply give up watching if they’re unable to make a choice when bombarded with options.
Just what we need, Spotify staging another fake songwriter “genius” event now that we made him even richer. Make you feel better about the reaming we got on MMA?
The chief executive of Spotify is teaming up with some of Europe’s leading business families to finance an annual conference they hope could be a “creative Davos” with a focus on technology and innovation. Brilliant Minds, an event set up by Daniel Ek of music streaming company Spotify and Ash Pournouri, the ex-manager of the recently deceased DJ Avicii, is now owned and financed by a group of Swedish families including the Wallenbergs, Stenbecks and Olssons, whose companies include Ericsson, Electrolux, Kinnevik, Zalando and Stena.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced a new blockchain-powered currency called Libra, and a digital wallet for it called Calibra. Spotify was among the companies backing the plans by becoming a founder member of the independent Libra Association.
Now Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has been talking about his hopes for Libra, including the suggestion that it could one day facilitate direct payments to musicians from fans.
“I think like cryptocurrencies and blockchain are obviously two of the biggest buzzwords you can have today. And for me, I don’t think technology in itself is that interesting· What I do think is interesting is what we can do with that technology,” said Ek, in an interview for Spotify’s own Culture: Now Streaming podcast.
“What everyone who’s a part of Libra is trying to accomplish is: it’s interesting that we have all these different currencies, all of these different ways of doing things. But the reality is, there’s several billion people around the world that don’t even have access to a bank account,” he continued….(Whatever you think of Libra, the fact that Spotify is, right up to CEO level, even thinking about direct payments from fans to artists is a significant talking point for anyone mulling how the streaming service will evolve in the coming years.)
[Editor Charlie sez: The popular rage against Spotify is setting in.]
ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, The Baffler’s ongoing event series for the generally disaffected and pissed off, The Bad Society, continues with a concert at Murmrr Ballroom in Brooklyn featuring music from Xenia Rubinos, Public Practice, and Blood Club—along with a panel on the shitscape of the music streaming economy led by Liz Pelly and featuring David Turner and Xenia Rubinos. (You can still snag a ticket here.)
In advance of the concert, Liz Pelly and Liana Hell Lean of Blood Club and the hardcore outfit Decisions dropped by our gleefully dyspeptic radio program The Bad Society to talk with host Zach Webb about the unrepentant joy of scorning Spotify, punk rock’s obsession with Instagram, and working toward a better DIY scene on the archipelago of overpriced trash islands known as New York. While this interview has been drastically edited for length and clarity, you can listen to the whole broadcast—featuring an eclectic caboodle of tunes selected by Hell Lean from the likes of the queen of Cambodian rock, Ross Sereysothea, to the thundering punk rock of Eteraz—here.
[More insightful commentary by a senior publisher. I can tell you that Marty did not move from a little office on Sunset Boulevard to where he is now by spending money on overhead. It’s simple: if you earn, you spend, but if you can’t manage to earn, then don’t spend. And if you don’t earn, don’t blame the songwriters–they just provide you with your main product, they don’t run your operation. But the real reason Ek should have taken the avuncular Bandier to lunch is that he might have actually learned something about life from the seasoned publisher. Just sayin’.]
Why didn’t Spotify CEO Daniel Ek reach out to music publishing’s biggest exec — even once?
Earlier this week, Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s former Chairman & CEO, Marty Bandier, revealed the strange fact, part of a broader slam against the streaming giant. “Some people within Spotify have called me and sort of off-the-record apologized,” Bandier recently told students at his namesake Bandier Program at Syracuse University, referring the Spotify’s controversial challenge of publisher royalty rate increases by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board….
…Spotify is now a public company. They have to figure out how to make money, but maybe they should start in their own house and figure out how to save money in general overhead instead of the royalties they pay out.
“If I ran a business and had that type of overhead I would have been fired a long time ago. You just can’t do that and expect to be successful.”
…[W]e have a chronic abundance problem — one that dovetails into a much broader societal issue. Silicon Valley recognised that in a digital realm, you can have everything of everything. This is why we are all glued to our phones, because with infinite content — however facile — to hoover up, we gorge away; a fairly literal representation of Huxley’s “amusing ourselves to death”. This end result is not a positive step; we are burning ourselves out and mental health issues are constantly on the rise. Quite simply, we as humans were not made for an “always on” lifestyle.
With music, the same thing has happened. By giving us everything of everything, we overload and take nothing of anything, overwhelmed in the face of it all.