The New Yorker Asks, “If You Care About Music, Should You Ditch Spotify?”

USA Today, one of the most mainstream publications in America, just called us about an article they’re writing on music royalties (or lack thereof).  Indeed, Pink Floyd chose USA Today to excoriate Pandora’s royalty-chopping trickery of artists.

Elsewhere, hugely-established papers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times are starting to weigh into the debate.  All of which prompts a fairly scary question for internet radio and streaming services, major labels, and others:

Is the mainstream starting to notice?  And if so, what does that mean for mainstream music fans?

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Enter the New Yorker, whose author célèbre Sasha Frere-Jones is the latest to plunge into a debate that now includes names like Jay-Z (or now, ‘Jay Z’), Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, and Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard.  After catching readers up on the bloody boxing match, Frere-Jones quickly takes off his own pair of gloves.
“The shortest version is that the Spotify model does not favor new artists,” Frere-Jones writes, referring to the Yorke protest. “The larger grumbling about streaming services in the musician community is that the various services, which are governed by fluid and complex laws that are changing as we speak, favor nobody but the major labels that helped fund and grow some of them.”
The next question is probably more scary for rights owners than the Tim Westergrens of the world.
“The issue beneath all the complaints about micropayments is fundamental: What are recordings now? Are they an artistic expression that musicians cannot be compensated for but will create simply out of need? Are they promotional tools? What seems clear is that streaming arrangements, like those made with Spotify, are institutionalizing a marginal role for the recordings that were once major income streams for working musicians…
The New Yorker article, which includes detailed interview with Galaxie 500 drummer (and sharp Spotify critic) Damon Krukowski, is here.

83 Responses

  1. Visitor

    Yeah. Let’s ditch Spotify and switch to Grooveshark.

    • smg77

      Well you can always pull all your music off of sites that actually pay and then curl up in a ball and pray for time travel to be invented so you can go back to the 90s.

      Adapt or die…it’s as simple as that.

      • Visitor

        “Adapt or die”

        You know, I’ve heard pirates say that since the ’90’s.

        But perhaps you were right:

        Megaupload’s death in January 2012 initiated the first internationally coordinated war on piracy ever; torrent sites & lockers blocked or shut down all over the place, new anti-piracy laws across the globe, huge fines to piracy site owners, etc.

        And here’s the first result:

        Music sales rose in 2012 for the first time since 1999!

        Source: Financial Times, February 26, 2013:

        So, perhaps you should take your own advice?

        • EARLabs

          I don’t if your cause-effect connection is valid. I’m actually pretty sure it’s not (entirely). The market is shifting on multiple platforms (a.o. streaming services).

      • Tune Hunter

        SMG77 you sound like Spotify insider!

        As it is we do not need Spotify or streaming to have 32 billion industry within 36 months and 100 billion dollar industry by 2020.

        We just have to switch tomorrow to “DISCOVERY MOMENT MONETIZATION”. Just convert Shazam, Soundhound, Gracenote and all lyrics ID guys to MANDATORY PURCHASE service.

        Than eliminate artist and tune info from radio display and observe how the industry will grow from16 to 32 billion in 24 to 36 months.

        We do not need Spotify – it is cancer killing the industry!

        • hippydog

          Quote “We just have to switch tomorrow to “DISCOVERY MOMENT MONETIZATION”. ”

          you bring this idea up when ever you can..

          So why dont you write and submit an article to paul about it, explaining it..

          Cause what your talking about makes no sense. I am completely unable to see where your connecting the dots on this..

          right at the “mandatory purchase” your idea is blocked.. you cant force anyone at anytime to use any program or app, they simply dont have to turn it on..

          and whos paying for it? the consumer? not without their permission your not.

          • Tune Hunter

            Yes, you can force them!
            Just imagine yourself in the car with no artist or tune name info on your radio display! (just advertisement Shazam me!)
            Your Shazam, Soundhound is no longer free info provider on your smartphone and there is no benefit to make a photo of your radio display – there is no info there to steal!
            Shazam is now a successful music retailer fulfilling you urge for just 49 cents.
            So you have Goosebumps you love it you want to have it on your Spotify playlist or just want to own it.
            What will you do in this new environment? You will become part of Discovery Moment Monetization!

            Shazam will not have to consume investors money for 14th year in the row – They will become a billion dollar music retailer ready for 5 billion IPO.

          • Me

            You want to charge people to discover music? Good luck with that.

          • Tune Hunter

            Music does not belong to public! In the last 14 years public got more the enough of freeloading!

            …and honestly legally or by simple bribe or profit shearing labels can and should convert all ID guys to cash cows!

            Both will be verrrrrry happy and Spotify can stream itself to death!


            By the way my “Discovery Moment Monetization” patent has been filled. So labels watch out if you do not want to go back to 32 billions in stage one and 100 billions by 2020 WE WILL DO IT WITH RADIO.

            No more royalty extortion – RADIO WILL SALE MUSIC for real cash depositite every day in to the bank account! Time to shop for the most creative DJs you can find. Custom play lists excluded from SHAZAM & STREAMERS, new discovery oportunities for new musicians etc. Strabacks, McDonald Victoria Secret or any department store can jump on the wagon no more royalties just profits!

    • Visitor

      We can ditch both. Who says we have to choose between those two? TorrentFreak?

    • Tune Hunter

      Do not ditch anyone!

      Just make them civil. Just take away Shazam and simillar discovery services from all streaming providers and they might become productive if they able to survive. (generate enough cash)

      Their users HAVE TO PAY for discovery of tune they love.

      We will create instantly few big music retailers and totaly choke piracy!

  2. GGG

    I care about music probably more than the average person (as do most people on here I’m sure), which is why I pay for Spotify so I can hear as much as possible and potentially become a fan, without having to sell myself on the corner to afford it. Between Pitchfork, NME, Paste, etc, I listen to a shitload of new music. That’s probably 10-15 new albums a week. If someone wants to set up a trust fund for me so I can buy 10-15 albums a week, please do so, and I will buy every single one. But until then, I can’t afford to spend $500 a month buying music I might not even enjoy.

    There’s also the fundemental idea that Spotify will replace buying that seems to be the unspoken argument. While it probably would eventually, by that time streaming would pretty much be done by every single person on the planet so it’d be ok. Every marginally hit song would hit a billion spins. In the meantime, there’s no harm promoting streaming as a supplemental rev stream. Even in the heyday of CD sales a number one record sold a couple million, if that. In a country of hundreds of millions. Not a great ratio. So there’s obviously always been the untapped market of people that are interested in this stuff enough to interact with it, but don’t want to or can’t pay for it. Napster came along and filled that gap illegally, and the music industry sat there with its head up its ass for a decade while piracy grew. Now streaming fills that gap.

    Finally, has anyone actually released a study that showed they lose sales from being on Spotify? Like, actual stats, not conjecture? All the ones that say it doesn’t cannibalize come from Spotify it seems, so even I take them with a grain of salt. But last years top singles all sold more than 2007s pre-Spotify singles. Clearly people still buy what they want to buy. I noticed Paul stopped posting about number 1 records after non-Spotify-holdout Kanye debuted at number 1 with pretty much the same numbers as Daft Punk. Why no insight on that? Doesn’t seem like anything is actually supporting that angle.

    We need some popular artists to take some older records off Spotify (and put them on for that matter) and report sales changes. Really the only way we’ll get a good idea. New albums in the honeymoon phase aren’t really possible because you can’t release an album twice. If it turns out it’s truly not, then we can put that aside and start to fight for higher royalties. We need one battle at a time, though.

    • Yves Villeneuve

      Instead of asking artists to take a pay cut per stream, in essence devaluing music, why don’t you get a worthwhile education so that you are more apt to receive higher salary opportunities to pay labels and artists fairly, which entails your 10 to 15 albums per week addiction. Are you listening to this amount of music for pleasure or work?

      The rest of us are not interested in your financially downtrodden life, meaning don’t expect sympathy from the artist community because you don’t earn enough to support your addiction or work-related expenses. Free 90 seconds song previews is plenty of time to make so-called risky decisions on album purchases for more advanced critiquing. It also saves a lot of precious time unless you are the type of artist which seeks musical ideas from other artists in every nook and cranny of their creations.

      As a standalone service, Rhapsody is the only one that is profitable. They don’t offer money-losing free and discounted tiers.

      I doubt you are paying for the Premium Spotify version since you are easily offended by the term “freetard”. Your charade of being an artist manager is too obvious for many. If you were smart and believed your principles are correct you would make a name for yourself by revealing your identity and expand your opportunities as an artist manager. I don’t buy your lame excuse. Plenty of us are revealing ourselves here on DMN without adverse repercussions. Name one who has been adversely affected by being open about their identity, and don’t forget to provide real evidence. If I was adversely affected I would no longer post under my name, that is for sure.

      • GGG

        When have I ever asked artists to take a paycut per stream? I even say we should fight for higher royalties in my post, you moron. Anyway, pleasure and work aren’t really separate at all, but for discussion purposes I’m listening for pleasure, because I love finding new music and I’m always curious about what’s coming out. Spotify allows me to hear a ton of artists I otherwise would not have heard. Fundamentally, in other words putting the royalty argument aside, that’s an enormous boon for artist discovery. Well, step 2 of discovery in most cases.

        Uh…I never asked for your anyone’s sympathy. Since I clearly have to get this through your thick skull, I was simply pointing out that a number of bands, some of whom I have since bought their record and/or bought tix to a show, were heard by me (and thousands others) when they probably wouldn’t have been before. And yes, the 90 second preview. The best way to experience a record, 90 second song clips at a time! For the record, it takes about 3 seconds to realize how terrible your music is.

        I’m not offended by the term freetard at all. I just find it ridiculous when adults, in serious discussion, use a stupid pun a 12 year old would think was clever. But then again, comparing your brain to that of a 12 year old is probably insulting to 12 year olds.

        And last, why the fuck are you going on about identities? I don’t need DMN to expand my career opportunities. I argue with a borderline mentally handicapped Canadian and a songwriter whose music has legitimately made our culture collectively lose IQ points. Not much in the way of career advancement there…I have better chances out in the real world, as I will in a couple hours at a show.

        • Visitor

          “Spotify allows me to hear a ton of artists I otherwise would not have heard.”

          90 free iTunes secs are not enough?

          I know what I like after 15, tops.

          • GGG

            Sometimes it’s enough. For example, I could tell Yves’ music was terrible long before the 90 second mark. Other times, sure I can judge if it’s in the ballpark of what I like or dislike, but that doesn’t mean it’s enough to get me to pull the trigger buying it.

            And you can judge music in 15 seconds because the music you deal with is about 15 seconds worth of substance out of 3 minutes. For real aritsts, however, they tend to care about the full track.

          • Visitor

            God, you weren’t kidding. It’s like he got music lessons from Gnesa.

          • Visitor

            Oh man, that’s just not fair…

            Gnesa isn’t that bad.

          • PiratesWinLOL

            “I could tell Yves’ music was terrible long before the 90 second mark.”

            This is obiviously an anti-piracy feature and it works 100 percent. Torrents, YouTube, Grooveshark, USENET you name it. There is nothing there. Soon artists will be at his door begging for his advice and consequently he will single-handedly destroy the world of music piracy :(. Seriously, it is over, but at least it was fun while it lasted. When mainstream piracy is then obliterated, he and Mr. Visitor will then be able to demand anything from the consumers, because there will be no way to steal music.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            You are definitely onto something. I should add for greater clarity, my song “Capture The Wolf” is the biggest deterrent against making my music famous through piracy or illegally uploading and hosting.

            The song’s topic of child abuse, including sexual abuse of a child, would make any paedophile fear for their freedoms. It is commonly known paedophiles are allies of pirates and other criminals.

  3. Visitor

    “And you can judge music in 15 seconds because the music you deal with is about 15 seconds worth of substance out of 3 minutes”

    GGG, I’m only interested in music that’s totally out there in one way or another.

    It has to be insisting, necessary. It has to get to you in a larger-than-life kind of way. Grab you by the throat.

    And I’ll bet you can tell from the start, often from bar 1, if a song have these qualities. The only exceptions I can think of right now are songs that play hide and seek; perhaps by building to a climax. And you can almost always sense something special, perhaps an unusual sincerity from the start, in these cases too.

    Seriously, I believe there’s something wrong with the song — or your ears 🙂 — if you can’t tell after 90 free iTunes seconds…

    • GGG

      And that’s where we have a fundamental disagreement. Like I said, I can tell if a song is in the general vacinity of what I enjoy in 15 seconds, so maybe that’s all you need to “like” a song. But look at something like Mumford. They are popular because of that tension and release they do in pretty much every song. You can’t get that in 15 seconds, and they’re one of the biggest bands in the world right now. If you’re looking for some beat heavy club track with no lyrical substance or much in the way of evolution, then sure, you only need 15 seconds because nothing else will happen in that song. And that’s obviously the stuff you work with, and that’s music that I rarely care about.

      So agree to disagree, I suppose.

      • Yves Villeneuve

        GGG spends more time test driving a music album then test driving a car. I assure, most of population need the opposite.

        • GGG

          Seeing as how I live in NYC and have zero need for a car, you are 100% correct, probably for the first time in your life. Cherish this moment.

          Secondly, I spend more money on music that the vast majority of the population, so you should WANT more people to care as much as I do. When all people care about is 15 seconds of a song, they aren’t going to care about that song for very long. Or that artist. Or music for that matter if that’s all they are exposed to.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            I could care less about people like you. I serve a greater segment of the population. I can’t be everything to everyone and I choose the largest possible population segment my musical tendencies will reach. I don’t cater to a minority, period.

          • GGG

            You absolutely cater to a minority. Your demo is lonely people who “like” anything that’s advertised to them on Facebook. Though, even most of those probably give zero fucks about your “music.”

  4. Yves Villeneuve

    I’ll let our comments stand and let readers decide which one of us likes to do tremendous amounts of spinning.

    • GGG

      Or you could coherently respond to things I actually say in my comments, but whatever floats your boat.

  5. Tune Hunter

    ….”that’s an enormous boon for artist discovery” yes it is nice but it is FREE discovery that will never monetize. Streaming income from subscribtions will never bring industry to new highs – it is hopless and retarding.

    As it is, and recent Nilsen data confirms that, 70% of discovery comes from RADIO – conventional and Pandora or XM.

    If kill tune and artist info from radio display and reward Shazams and lyric ID guys with major cash they will exit from prostitution path at once and will become the bigest cash cows industry ever seen!

    Guess what? I think RIAA can force them to this duty (reward for them) base on current laws.

  6. Paul Resnikoff

    Furthering your criticism of DMN, you could also mention that Justin Timberlake had a number one release without holding out on Spotify (technically, it’s the best selling album of the year if you exclusive Jay Z’s Samsung sales, but that’s another story entirely (and these are US stats, btw)).

    I think isolating the impact of Spotify on other sales format is very difficult to acheive, and it changes artist to artist, genre to genre, and demographic to demographic. And that’s not a comprehensive study Spotify is going to ask its in-house economist Will Page to conduct (nor would they publish results unfavorable to their own spin).

    On a broader level, we’re seeing some interesting correlations in Norway and Sweden that suggest heavy cannibalization of paid downloads (and, illegal downloads as well, to Spotify’s credit).

    On the artist level, there’s a very defensible argument that Spotify withholding maximizes first-week (or early) download and even CD sales; very difficult to incontrovertibly prove, however).

    Written while listening to Dar Williams.

    • GGG

      I would probably agree with you about the first-week sales idea. With pre-orders/buying just a click, there’s probably substantial impulse buys. But after the first week, or maybe even couple days, those purchases probably drop off almost completely.

  7. Visitor

    “If You Care About Music, Should You Ditch Spotify?”


    Next question.

    • GGG

      OK, question 2.

      If you care about music, should you perpetuate unimaginative, meaningless, cookie cutter pop music and shallow celebrities as the culturally accepted notion of artistic achievement?

        • GGG

          Irrelevant. It’s about the terrible pop songs you write. You are part of a disease our mainstream music culture needs to get rid of. Maybe you’re a brilliant musician, who knows. But you admittedly are part of this top 40 culture. You could be like Dr Luke, a fantastic musician by all accounts, yet he whores himself out writing dumb shit for mediocre-at-best pop stars.

          Creators like you have devalued music just as much as anything. Why buy a dance number about partying in da club when another one will come out in a month? And why buy an album of innane songs about dancing in da club when everyone knows deep down they won’t give a shit about it 2 years from now.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            You should learn that your personal music tastes do not coincide with the average music consumer. You want to kill music then kill Pop and other mainstream genres that is pleasing to the average consumer.

            There are different types of music consumers. Catering to the very demanding minority(a niche) will not expand music popularity onto the masses.

            This is clear consumer psychology for any industry. Don’t they teach you that in music school? You must live in a bubble if you believe a niche product can achieve mass appeal.

          • GGG

            I love when you try to insult or “get” me because you fail so miserably and hilariously every single time…so thanks for the laughs!

            My argument has nothing to do with my personal tastes. First of all, I’m fairly certain I’ve never said on here what type(s) of music I listen to the most so any presumption you are making is probably incorrect. There’s plenty pop that I enjoy. Hell, one of the bands I work with is electro-pop. Secondly, pop music doesn’t have to be shitty, and a good amount of it isn’t. Whether we use pop to just mean what’s popular or pop as in what specific style it has sort of come to mean, there are plenty of examples of those that aren’t horribly dumbed down. But way too much of it is, and has been for a while now.

            There has never been a period of time like the 00s where music evolved so little. Look back to the 50s and the start of modern music and look at every decade span. There are pretty dramatic shifts in what’s popular because musicians were the ones leading everyone. Now we have the same 15 producers writing and rewriting every bland song that, yes, you have to enjoy in 15 seconds so people don’t change the channel. Way too many popular songs are math problems, and songs+artists are all extremely risk-averse, caclulated and soulless figure heads that only matter to labels until the next fad comes through. Great example; listen to Avril Lavigne from early 2000s and Taylor Swift now. It’s the same exact thing.

            Lastly, it doesn’t have to be a niche product. I made this argument in one of the last comments. Look back to the height of CD sales, the most popular music was still being bought by a tiny fraction of people. So the vast majority of people never bought the vast majority of music. But obviously people still wanted it, so along comes Napster and piracy. Streaming is now what can, and is, legally filling the gap of consumers that will NEVER buy a particular album or song. Sure the pay is shit now, but if you simply doubled the fairly small amount of Spotify (or Rhapdosy) users, plays and pay would eclipse YouTube pay easily. Music, as a whole, is not a niche product.

            And awww, someone’s jealous I went to music school, how cute. Though actually, I went to business school just as much as I went to music school, at a great university and worked/interned in the music industry from almost day 1. But alas, I’m sure you, a 40 year old who lives with his parents in Bumblefuck, Canada knows much more about music than I…

          • Yves Villeneuve

            Let me put it to you in simpler terms. You don’t represent consumers, greater than 90% of the population, who listen to radio regularly. You’ve said it yourself, you rarely or avoid listening to radio.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            Before you deny your lack of radio listening, why would you listen if you believe more than half of it is crap? It’s just not logical when natural human behaviour is taken into account.

            In any case, whether you listen to radio or not, your views do not coincide with those who regularly enjoy radio, and that is most of the population.

            Maybe you just like to bitch like a spoiled child that not every song on the radio is to your standards yet they are only held in a minority of the population.

          • GGG

            I hear most of those songs out in public and/or when I listen to Spotify’s Top tracks every once in a while. And I do that because I want to be culturally literate and know what’s going on in our industry, especially because I know people involved with these artists or in a couple cases the artists themselves.

            I don’t care if songs are up to my standards, I’m happily apathetic about many of them. But if you think Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry or Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift should represent the pinnacle of musical achievement in our culture, you are terrible.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            First you say they should be eliminated from mainstream culture then you say are happily apathetic… Whatever… The spin continues…

          • GGG

            Not sure what part of “there’s plenty of pop I enjoy” or “pop music doesn’t have to be shitty, and a good amount of it isn’t” or pointing out a pretty specific type of pop music that’s the problem made you think I was generalizing about every single song on the radio, but then again, you are legitimately one of the stupidest people I’ve ever interacted with, so I guess that needed clarifciation. My bad.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            So basically, you like to bitch like a spoiled child that not every song on the radio is up to your standards.

            These songs are part of the Top 40 culture and disease that needs to be eradicated from music culture.

            You admittedly are not a part of Top 40 culture because you came to the conclusion you are a real artist.

            I see.

            The spin continues…

          • GGG

            Sigh. I should really just ignore you but it’s too fun to see you get riled up and attempt to win an argument…haha.

            I never once said I was a real artist, let alone an artist at all. That comment was comparing a shitty pop songwriter like Visitor who has to cram an entire song worth of substance into 15 seconds, to real artists who write songs for the sake of writing songs and would probably rather you not judge their song in 15 second clips.

            And yes, there is a large chunk of pop music that is terrible and bad for music culture. BUT NOT EVERY SINGLE SONG, some are quite good. But there are still way too many shitty ones. There, does that clear that up for you?

            I would say you’re the one doing the spinning, but I truly believe you are just too dumb to understand what’s going on.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            So you went to music school but are not an artist, yet have admitted months ago you were an artist that never reached his potential because you never gave it a good effort. Maybe we can assume you failed at being an artist.

            So you keep bitching like a child that not every song on the radio is up to your standards and these songs should be eradicated from mainstream music culture. I never said you hated every song.

            So you keep imagining you are winning this argument if you give it enough spin.

            Based on your punk attitude, my guess is you are a big gangsta rap fan.

          • GGG

            hahaha, my god man. You are creepy as fuck. You’ve made up this story of my life based on little snippets of information I say on here. Do you have like a diary describing what you think my life is like? Not everyone is one dimensional 40 year old who lives with their parents…but now it’s starting to explain a lot.

            I went to a music school inside a much larger university but did not major in performance. I took just as many business classes as I did music classes. I played music while in school for fun with no real serious attempt to make it. Not once in my life did I ever say to myself or others that I was an artist (people that do that are the worst) or seriously market any music I ever made. It’s a hobby, it’s fun. Pretty sure that’s exactly how I framed that last time, so your attempt to smear me as a failed artist is itself a failure. As I believe I said last time, hard to fail when you never actually try. Having said that, I could easily shit out music equal to your calibur. The difference is I have the self-awareness to know it’s fucking embarassingly terrible.

            And yes, there are songs that are bad for culture because of how stupid they are and that they teach generations of kids that to be a famous, praised musician you barely need musical talent. And a way-too-large chunk of mainstream music culture praises mediocrity. Because it’s not about artistic merit, it’s about selling shoes and perfume and your face on some product.

            And ahh, I guess I’ll add racist to your homophobia. I enjoy some hip-hop, yes, but probably accounts for 5% of my listening. As for the racist part, since you’ll no doubt deny it, you called me a punk so I must listen to gangsta rap. You know there’s an entire genre of music that would fit calling me a punk much more…

          • Yves Villeneuve

            Sounds like you came full circle. It’s not about selling merchandise which you previously claimed was necessary for success. If you can do it why can’t others do it as well and still claim artistic merit for their music.

            I could go on about all the other spin in your comment. Not worth my time. I’ll let others judge it.

            The spin continues…

          • GGG

            Nice try; you’re really stretching on this one. There is a fundamental difference between selling merchandise and being a marketing tool. Notice I didn’t say anything about pop stars selling tshirts. Hell, there’s not even anything wrong with selling perfume per se, we just need to acknowledge as a culture that Katy Perry, et al, is a brand, not a musician, and not laud them as the pinnacle of musical achievement. That was my point. Not spun at all. And if you truly believe those pop stars have more than a modicum of artistic merit, it explains a lot more of your choice of actually releasing that garbage you make.

            As for the other so-called spins, try me. Although, I will say my girlfriend (you know what one of those is right?) is coming over so I’ll probably choose her over you. But she might have to study so I could pop on.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            I believe Katy Perry is a very talented and excellent singer. Don’t really know how involved she was in the songwriting process but find many of her songs very good and catchy.

            Keep in mind, you are a member of a minority that is nearly impossible to please therefore your opinions rarely matter in the larger, real world.

            These days, fans of Punk music are very much kittens compared to the punk attitudes of gangsta rap fans. I’ve always assumed you were Caucasian possibly because I am Caucasian, too. Plenty of Caucasians with a punk attitude who listen to gangsta rap.

            You talk like you know more about my life than I do yours.

            Anyway, all you do is bitch like a spoiled child when music does not meet your standards, which are in the minority by the way. Who made you boss of artistic merit awards? Nobody. Live with it, your musical critiques have no merit or important substance in the larger, real world.

            As I promote everywhere, including official website, my music is not rocket science. You will also find in my tweeter feed the following hash tag #YvesVilleneuveNotAVirtuoso.

            Nonetheless, you talk a good game that you are not a failure as an artist because you never tried, instead of being modest or humble about it and admitting you are not good enough to succeed as an artist therefore did not try. I don’t see what the problem is unless you are on a mission to prove you can be a successful artist.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            Say hello to your girlfriend for me. I’m sure she likes to meet new people.

          • GGG

            Many people like the Twilight books/movies, too. Think those are great art? Imagine giving literary awards to Stefanie Meyer or an Oscar to Paul Blart Mall Cop. As much as awards can be arbitrary, there’s a point at which industries should actually honor top notch art, regardless of whether your average person cares about it. Go tell 1000 people to watch Godfather or read the Corrections, think even half will enjoy either of those?

            And the idea people like me are harder to please is a complete myth. I can go from jazz to classic rock to bluegrass to r&b to metal to hip-hop to gypsy guitar and enjoy all of it. Based on my experience with both friends that loooove pop and the simple fact the radio has barely changed in a decade, your average top 40 fan has a one dimensional taste of pop music that is rarely broken out of. Just because I have a higher threshold of quality control, doesn’t mean I’m any less open to music or harder to please. In fact, understanding what’s going on better makes me much more open and easier to please because I’m not relying/waiting on that one thing I enjoy.

            I’ve never said anything about your life besides your a creepy old Canadian that makes terrible music and only has “fans” because you spend hundreds of dollars on Facebook ads. What part of that is false?

            I mean, if you want to keep calling me a failure for not trying, go for it. Not exactly hurting my feelings but if it makes you feel big and tough, do what you have to.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            … The spin never stops.

            Here is one example from your latest comment: you have higher quality standards but are not harder to please. So what, you like more than one genre, maybe that makes you less receptive to more songs within a genre compared to the consumer with likes only one genre. Meaning, within that specific genre and within every other genre, you a much harder if not nearly-impossible to please.

            I’m done with this conversation.

            Spin away…

          • GGG

            Keep digging, Yves, keep digging.

            “Just because I have a higher threshold of quality control, doesn’t mean I’m any less open to music or harder to please.”

            …Is actually what I said. All that means is that I understand objective quality is a viable factor with subjective taste. How many different types of music do you think your average Justin Bieber of Chris Brown fan enjoys?

            And the rest of your post is irrelevent. Most genres are self-policing when it comes to quality. Show me a bluegrass band with a banjo player who can’t finger pick well or a metal band with a guitarist who can’t shred or a vocal quartet with guys that can’t harmonize and I’ll show you bands that nobody in those genres gives any shits about. Top 40 is too often not about music. It’s about branding. It’s about celebrity. It’s about finding the least common denomenator and people have gotten so good at doing this, we’ve been stuck hearing the same shit for years and years. So yes, I’m harder to please in pop music because I KNOW, as we saw for decades, that pop and quality do not have to be opposites. But I’m not harder to please in other genres because in most it’s very understood what level you need to be at. People still suck in these genres, but they also won’t get very far, and certainly not seen as the top acts.

          • Visitor

            There has never been a period of time like the 00s where music evolved so little

            Actually, the 00s brought much more evolution in music production and songwriting than any other period.

          • Visitor

            “the 00s brought much more evolution in music production and songwriting than any other period”

            Well, I like the 00’s a lot, but that’s nonsense.

  8. Visitor

    “What are recordings now?”

    A great recording is one of the most valuable items in life.

    It is so compelling, so seducing that people will pay whatever you charge for it.

    Provided, of course, that they can’t steal it without consequences.

    Here’s how we get rid of Spotify:

    Remove the cause of streaming — mainstream piracy — and streaming will sink like a stone.

    Not next month.


  9. @mattadownes

    New artists need to use Spotify as a supplemental arm and promotional device. New artists had no chance 20 years ago and with the advent of YouTube and Spotify this gives them a voice with a tiny kickback. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    I hated Spotify in the beginning because of all these things I heard about royalties and what not. The simple fact is if you show a human-being an easier way to do something (buying a cd/download vs. using Spotify) they’ll all eventually get on board. Its how our brains work. With Spotify on my desktop and my iPhone, how will I ever live without it? Maybe Apple changes my mind later this year…

    I like artists that are trying new things. Including an app with their album purchase or for a premium I get their next show in my region included in album and/or ticket price. If I really like the band I get their vinyl and find a place in my office or home for it.

    Find your position in the marketplace and grab your share. Its the same music business its always been.

  10. Stu

    If you care about music, spend money on the artists you love. Buy albums, tickets, merchandise, contribute to their Kickstarter, etc. That seems fair enough, but I’m not so sure it conflicts with using a streaming service like Spotify (or YouTube, or SoundCloud…) to discover the new artists that you don’t know you love yet.

    I genuinely think these two things *could* work hand-in-hand much better than they do now. See Daisy’s plans to give artists more control over their profiles to point their streaming fans towards whatever they’re selling elsewhere. Or for that matter, see what Spotify is doing with Songkick in its new Discover tab: ‘You’ve been listening to [Artist X], they’re playing live near you soon…’

    Is there more experimentation to be done with making physical albums beautiful, hand-crafted (or personalised?) objects that hardcore fans will want to buy and keep, even if more casual fans stream them?

    I agree that targeting mainstream piracy is an important tactic (as opposed to hardcore piracy, which is a doomed game of whack-mole). Squeezing revenues from ads, ISP blocks etc can have an impact, I think. But the key question is where are you sending those mainstream pirates to instead?

    iTunes and Amazon to buy downloads? YouTube? I’m betting more people (especially teenagers) will choose the latter, and streaming payouts there are a lot less than Spotify.

    If you care about music, though, the biggest fear should be of lots of people stopping caring about music, let alone stopping paying for it. That’s where the streaming services can prove they have an important role: to help tens/hundreds of millions of people find music that they care about so much, they’ll pay it’s creators in a range of ways.

  11. Rodney Prosser

    “If You Care About Music, Should You Ditch Spotify?”

    i have done so

  12. Steven Corn (BFM)

    I’ve always wondered how recorded music became a loss leader for ticket and merchandise sales. It used to be the other way around. Recorded music was the breadbasket and the rest were icing on the cake.

    Now, it does seem that recorded music is becoming a promotional tool for other means of monetizing fans. When I think “that doesn’t seem right to me”, it feels that I am like an old man saying to neighborhood kids: “Stay off of my lawn! I’m going to tell your parents.”

    And yet, it still feels wrong to make music into a promotional tool. Guess it’s time to register for AARP.

    • wallow-T

      Steven Corn: “I’ve always wondered how recorded music became a loss leader… It used to be the other way around.”

      I’m probably going to belabor the obvious, but this is fundamental.

      In the Old Days, the toll gate where money was extracted from the consumer was the Biz’s effective monopoly on physical distribution, and to a lesser degree the manufacturing of physical copies.

      With the rise of the CD-R writer and later high-speed internet, starting around 1998? into the mid 2000s, there was no longer an ability to capture a toll on all manufacturing and distribution. Legal or not, consumers were now capable of manufacturing copies on their own; the Internet, which is fundamentally a series of agreements to facilitate the free distribution of files of any kind, acquired the speeds needed to move large audio files. Digital storage pricing moved sharply towards “feels like free.”

  13. R.P.

    The shortest version is that the Spotify model does not favor new artists

    Um, neither did, or does, Clear Channel and their monopolozed Terrestrial Radio outlet… smh.

  14. IslandFolk

    We should all get togeher and find a way to monetize the argument between GGG and Yves Villeneuve.

    Twists, turns, and drama smoothered with pure comedy.

    GGG, bravo for actually trying to stay on point in the face ‘my dad’s bigger than your dad’ style debate.

    Although come on, whether you like it or not, club ‘bangers’ are here to stay ;p.

    • GGG

      Well, to clarify my stance on club bangers, if I’m in a club, obviously I’d “want” to hear that over Tom Waits or something. There’s a time and place for all music, no matter what the genre, I concede that point 100%. I’ve seen Deadmau5 and Bassnecter at 3 am, I get that scene.

      What I don’t like is just how pop producers/songwriters, some of whom are legitimately very talented musicians, seem to be in a race to the bottom to see who can make the most innane songs. Twenty years from now people will still be dancing to Superstition and Billie Jean, not whatever Black Eyed Peas and One Direction song is a hit now.

  15. JTV Digital

    I’d have a pragmatic approach here.

    Artists, use Spotify (and streaming in general) for what it is: a supplementary source of (micro) revenues, and a way amongst others to make your music available to the masses.

    But if you want to make serious money online, only download services can take you there.

    iTunes is the king for that + there are many ‘niche stores’ to look at, based on your musical genre.

    JTV Digital

  16. hippydog

    To bring a little clarity into the issue I now consider “streaming” just another MEDIUM FORMAT.. With multiple flavours and none of them truly successful..

    When I say format I mean like “Vinyl (LP) , 8-track, cassette, Mini-disk, CD, mp3, wma, AAC, mp4” . I now include FM Radio, Satellite radio and streaming as three additional “formats”.

    I know its weird to think of “Terrestrial Radio” as a “format” like a CD player, and then include something like youtube as a “competing format”.. but the the more you look at it, the more it starts to make sense in this digital age.

    And when you DO start to look at it that way, you can use history as your guide..

    and history has shown us that NO FORMAT has been truly succesful unless it becomes a “standard” by being supported by the majority of users, manufacturers, and labels..

    just sayin’ 🙂

  17. JustAnIdea

    I’ve been thinking about this, and what I would like to see (both as someone in the industry, and as a consumer) is something like this… You pay a streaming subscription of 10 bucks a month, but you get charged a one time charge of (let’s say) $1 once you’ve played a given track more than 10 or 15 times, after which you can play that track as many times as you like from that point forever on.

    This means you can still stream anything, but for tracks you’ve proven you like, you in effect “buy the single for streaming” and get charged a one time fee of $1 for that track. This means every month you pay your $10 and maybe and extra dollar or two or three for tracks where you’ve crossed 10 or 15 plays since you first played the track.

    I think something like this could really work, and it seems reasonable for both artist and consumers.

  18. MileHI Music

    If you don’t understand the basics of Music Publishing you should read this Interview with the owner of a Music publishing company.

    Lyric House: The Fundamentals of Music Publishing

    PS. – This argument comes down to “Doing what’s best for the artist VS Doing what’s convenient for the consumer”. If whatever company is playing the middle-man is not making a profit, there’s no point in doing business. So you can’t place all the blame on the corporation…