Spotify Still Sucks

I make no bones about the fact that I’m not a fan of Spotify. Never have been, never will be. They are, pardon the NJ, dead to me.

The latest news sees Neil Young (and others) pulling their music from the streaming service over spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe this disinformation spread by them according to a statement by Young.

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” the musician said. They chose Rogan.

Joe Rogan, a college dropout turned standup comic turned color commentator turned Podcaster, was paid $100M by Spotify to host his podcast on their platform so it should come as no surprise that Spotify chose to protect their investment and remove Young’s catalog from their music streaming service.

Spotify, which was co-founded by Daniel Ek, a man who traded his moral compass as a child for a better deal, has also come under criticism for investing 100M euro in Helsing, a defense company developing artificial intelligence to support military operations in battlefield assessment operations, reports Mixmag.

“Just cancelled my @Spotify subscription. The CEO has given €100m, that he’s leeched from artists over the years, to a military company using AI weaponry. If I had the power to pull my music off those platforms I would. #boycottspotify.”

I’ve never paid Spotify a penny, which is about 1000x more than artists receive from the streaming service when someone listens to their music, because I don’t like their business model. Spotify’s free tier devalued music and never lived up to Ek’s elevator pitch that advertising income would be used to fairly compensate musicians. If you believe that, I have an NFT to sell you.

And then there’s this nugget of greed wisdom from Ek explaining how musicians need to operate in this future landscape:

Some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.

Ek’s solution? Continually churn out content. Simple, no? This coming from a man whose net worth is $3.5 billion, riches built on the backs of musicians. Of course, artists getting the raw end of the deal is nothing new in the music business but companies like Spotify have added a new layer of grift.

From the UN’s 2021 report on streaming:

Spotify’s 2018 direct public offering as a “pure play” music service demonstrated the value of the recordings created by performers and did so with disproportionately little revenue paid to featured performers and no revenue paid to non-featured performers. These market forces have exposed a pronounced imbalance between the significant market benefit to streaming music platforms derived from the world’s performers compared to the relatively scant financial benefit received by these same performers.

…as this study argues, per-stream payments for interactive streaming are so small that even for unsigned featured performers who collect 100% of the available streaming royalty, royalty payments are both unsustainable and out of balance compared to the value transferred to the streaming services.

I don’t have an issue with the Rogan Podcast because the world loves a clown. Always has, always will. What I do take issue with is middle men skimming billions while leaving all but pennies for the people who make their livelihood possible. Ick.

“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer,” Bezos said of his Blue Origin suborbital flight, “because you paid for all of this.”

Tone deaf greed appears to be in vogue.

Spotify has yet to turn on their promised lossless streaming so for anyone interested in the quality of their streaming music experience, count them out. Thankfully, our streaming world is full of better choices and I recommend, and use, Qobuz Premier (from $10.83/month) for its ever expanding lossless library including hi-res titles, and/or Tidal HiFi ($9.99/month) which gets you CD-quality streaming, or Tidal HiFi Plus ($19.99/month) for hi-res titles.