Spotify might be the greatest app ever invented. For those of you who don’t use it (what the fuck is wrong with you?), a quick primer is probably in order. Spotify is essentially a mix of iTunes and Pandora, but it completely eliminates the shitty parts of both of those apps. The reason you can’t search for a specific song on Pandora is because they’ve classified it as “streaming radio,” which eliminates the need to secure licensing for every song on there. An unfortunate consequence of that, however, is that if you really want to hear one particular song and not 36 songs that they claim sound similar but really don’t, you’re shit out of luck unless you pay $1.29 for it on iTunes. Unless there’s a sale going on, in which case you might only pay $0.99 for that song, which is what iTunes used to charge. Basically, their idea of a sale is to sell you an item at their former retail price, which already cost too much. But for some reason, people go “OMG SAVINGS!1!!1!11!” and buy them. (Seriously, the brass balls on the folks at Apple are nothing short of remarkable. “We know you can get this item for free in about a million different corners of the internet, but we’re going to charge you an absurd markup anyway. Want a shitty digital booklet that you can never delete? HEREYOUGOIT’SYOURSTAKEITFUCKYOU!” Really, you have to admire the soaring levels of fuck-you arrogance they’ve achieved.)
On the other side of this increasingly lopsided scale sits Spotify, the neat little app that gives you access to almost as many songs as iTunes and Pandora, with the added bonus of being able to search for and stream any song you want, all for the incredibly reasonable price of $10/month (it’s free on the computer, but I pay the $10 because I can afford it. Take note, ladies.) With that $10/month, I can create a playlist on my phone and make it available offline, which downloads the music to my phone so I can listen to it whenever I want and eliminates the need to pay full price for a song or be reduced to searching around for bargain-bin music like a pig rooting for truffles in a French forest. In the 18 months since I started using Spotify, I’ve probably downloaded well over a thousand songs. You can do the math on how much money I’ve saved in that time frame. (Ugh, that sounded so fucking smug.)
So now that Spotify has supplanted iTunes as a method of obtaining music, you’d think they’d be content with that, right? Fucking WRONG, because then they went and added a radio feature and a “Discover” tab, which suggests music based on the artists to whom you’ve listened in the past. Were they done? NOPE. To top it all off, you know what they do when an artist I like releases a new album or song? They e-mail me! (Granted, whenever I get these e-mails I go “UGH Spotify, I’m busy!” because I’m an ingrate, but still, what an incredible feature.)
I had a hard time figuring out exactly how Spotify works, considering the sheer volume of music they let people download for a pittance, so I read some articles about it and I’m happy to report I’ve found the key cog:
They don’t pay the artists shit.
No less an authority than Thom Yorke has decried this practice, saying essentially that new artists get the short end of the stick when it comes to having their music available for streaming on Spotify. Which is categorically, undeniably true, but…I kinda don’t care. My reasoning is twofold; yes, new artists get hosed on Spotify, but how many people would discover their work otherwise? Most artists make their money touring, so wouldn’t drumming up (AH A PUN!) interest in their music from new parties benefit them when they go on tour? My second reason is far more shameful, but I’ll admit it anyway: I’m not a musician. I understand that it’s completely unfair for musicians to be treated like this and to have their work so dramatically undervalued, but my concern is having access to all the music I want at a reasonable price. And until somebody perfects this business model so that the artist is fairly compensated and the consumer isn’t paying an arm and a leg for it, I’m going to fall on whichever side costs me less money.
In summation: Spotify is horribly unfair, and I love it.
Hope you enjoy this song, even though the artist probably hates me for posting it. Whatever. BACK TO THE SOUP KITCHEN WITH YOU, LADY.