Today I want to talk about Spotify, the music streaming service that I have been using for the past 10 years or so. I listen to Spotify at least five days a week. Seven days a week is probably more like it, so I’m definitely a power user.
As a consumer I love the service. As someone who works with independent musicians and promotes independent music I have a lot of problems with it. So I really have mixed feelings about Spotify.
Last weekend I went on a long drive, 8 hours round trip. And I was on Spotify the entire time I was driving. It’s really nice to have virtually the entire history of recorded music at your fingertips, PLUS hundreds of thousands of podcasts all on one app.
It’s really nice and I use it constantly but the payouts that are made to musicians bother me. Especially independent artists.
I would call them tiny payouts but that would be disrespectful to the word tiny. It’s borderline criminal. I haven’t looked up the payouts in awhile but it’s something like 1000 streams equals one dollar or something just insane like that. Not fair to the independent artist and not a way form them to make any decent amount of income from their recorded music.
I have a playlist called Radio Jon Boy that I have been adding songs to since 2012 and that’s kind of my Bible of music. The music that I have enjoyed and loved over the past decade and even before that can all be found in that playlist.
I also do a playlist for each calendar year. As the year goes on I discover new songs and I’ll add them to the 2021 playlist. I’ll listen to that playlist alot, especially towards the end of the year, and my favorites from that list get added to Radio Jon Boy.
So once you start using Spotify, once you listen for a while, and build your own playlists then Spotify will start suggesting new music for you. Sometimes it’s at the bottom of a playlist that you’ve already built and sometimes it’s in the form of a playlist that Spotify will build for you from scratch. The algorithms for those suggestions aren’t incredible but they also aren’t horrible. It’s a pretty decent way to discover the music especially within the genre and styles that you already really enjoy
So what I try to do with Spotify is that I try to treat it like we treated the radio 20 years ago. If I find music that I really enjoy, or a new artist that I really like then I will go find them online. I’ll follow them on Facebook and on Instagram. I’ll sign up for their email newsletter.
And most importantly I’ll make a concerted effort to buy the music either in physical form or by paying for a download. Or I buy some merchandise like a T-Shirt or a koozie. That kind of stuff is important to independent artists because they don’t make a living from Spotify or Apple Music. They don’t even make enough money in a month to go out to a decent dinner from Spotify or any streaming service.
CDs, downloadable music, T-shirts, and other merchandise is how an artist makes money from their art so if you want to support the indie artists that you love in an artist that you discover on Spotify or YouTube or anywhere else by the music by the Murch
Here’s a crazy idea for Spotify. I think they should have different tiers of usage. I think the basic package right now it’s $10 a month, maybe that should only get you 20 or 30 hours of listening time. If you want to listen more than that then you have to go up to the next package which might be $20 a month. I would happily pay $20 a month to listen to Spotify nonstop. Hell I would probably pay $25 or $30 without even thinking about it. Maybe that’s a way that Spotify could put more money into the pockets of independent artists. Just charge power users more.
Anyway that’s how I think about Spotify. If you are on the service look me up and give me a follow. You can see what all I’m listening to, and I’ll give you a follow back. Happy listening!