I’ve come across an article at MusicOMH by music producer Mark Moore (of S’Express) about Spotify, the new application that allows you to (legally) stream music over the internet, either for a monthly fee, or for free if you don’t mind a few adverts in between tracks. Moore’s argument is essentially that, though Spotify has been endorsed by the record industry, it’s actually detrimental to the long-term survival of that industry, because who’s going to buy music when you can listen to whatever you want for free?
Now, I’m a monthly subscriber to Spotify, and I think the program is a great idea. I’ve never personally been interested in carrying music around with me, and so never been interested in downloading — but I like listening to music when I’m working at the compter, and the ability to listen to whatever I want whilst doing so was very appealing. All the music posts on the present blog were done with the aid of Spotify; and it would have been a boon when I was blogging the Mercury Prize last year.
Nevertheless, I can see Moore’s point. I am not going to stop buying music: I’ve no plans to stop paying for Spotify, and I will still be buying the CDs of my favourite artists, and any other albums and hear and love. But it’s true that I feel less inclined to take a chance on an album where I’ve only heard a couple of songs, when I can listen to the whole thing on Spotify instead. And I would imagine I’m in the minority of Spotify users when I pay the monthly fee — ads can be ignored, and who doesn’t like getting things for free?
I’ll agree, there is a real issue over how musicians, now and especially in the future, are going to earn enough money from making music to make it worth their while. And I can’t offer any suggestions as to how that issue might be resolved. I am sympathetic to Moore’s idea of having a six-month gap between an album’s release and its appearance on Spotifty (though, perhaps selfishly, I’d want to see that gap closed, or at least narrowed, for paid subscribers) — but Spotify would lose one of its major selling-points if that were to happen, so I can’t see it myself.
And in conclusion..? There is no conclusion, really. I’ll continue to use Spotify, because it’s convenient; and I’ll hope that artists are able to make all the music they want in the years to come.