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to worry that spotify is not an ethical way to consume music

(65 Posts)
toriuk Tue 04-Nov-14 11:12:23

In my house we all use Spotify a lot. However I hadn't realised the controversy it has had with not paying artists fairly.

Now one of the most powerful women TS has deleted all her music its got me concerned about the service.

WorraLiberty Tue 04-Nov-14 11:16:43

I thought this happened years ago?

I got rid of it because I was only allowed to listen to a track 5 times (I think) before it deleted itself and I had to upgrade to the paid version?

toriuk Tue 04-Nov-14 11:22:37

Its just this morning that TS has decided to delete all her music, its a real shame.

LadyRabbit Tue 04-Nov-14 11:22:44

There is nothing unethical about Spotify. This is a very cynical move by Taylor Swift and is just to get people in the week of album release to hop over to iTunes and buy it. A very short term silly move.

What is worth bearing in mind is that if you buy a song for 99p, and listen to it infinitely, the artist only gets paid once. If you listen to it on Spotify, the artist is paid EVERY time you listen. At the moment, streaming services are not as lucrative as bigger players would like because we still have one off paid for digital items; when streaming is the norm, revenues will go up. Currently the rate is something like £7000 per 1 million plays.

I think Spotify is fantastic, ethical and will actually be much, much fairer in the long term. It's also a wonderful way to discover new artists that (crap) radio never plays.

toriuk Tue 04-Nov-14 11:35:33

Ah thanks, you seem very knowledge able. However what do you mean by "we still have one off paid for digital items; when streaming is the norm, revenues will go up"? How will the revenue go up in the future?

7k for 1m doesn't sound a lot, isn't YouTube 5 times this?

shaska Tue 04-Nov-14 11:43:05

I think it would be going a bit far to say there is 'nothing unethical' about Spotify, but there is a lot that is unethical in the music business, so I don't think it deserves singling out.

When a song is played on the radio, or in a shop, artists receive money for that too, and I'd say spotify is more similar to that model than a 'purchase' one. A shop or bar pays a license fee for the music they play instore, which is then (in theory- it's actually a bit complex and not entirely fairly done in practise) redistributed to artists. It's not a lot but if you have a 'big' song it can mount up. Nobody feels funny about this, so I don't see why anyone should feel funny about spotify, just because it lets you do the same thing in your home and you get to choose the music - plus, in theory, it should work out more fairly as the profits can actually be tracked to the artist.

On the other hand... For someone like Taylor Swift, her main sources of revenue are not album sales or streaming, I would imagine. For an independent band it's a completely different ballgame. An independent or less popular artist is going to struggle hugely to prove themselves financially viable to a record label based on spotify type revenue, and for this reason we are seeing fewer and fewer bands making it on their own, or being able to sustain longer careers after record labels don't recoup their original investment. It also makes it much much harder for a band to support themselves without a label. If this doesn't matter to you then that's ok, but if it does, then one of the most helpful things you can personally do is buy an album direct from an artist, either online or at their show.

LadyRabbit Tue 04-Nov-14 11:45:17

Streaming subscriptions will increase and along with that subscription revenue, and also advertising revenue where applicable. On a basic level, Spotify and YouTube earn about the same amount per stream - what the artist actually ends up with depends on their record deal etc.

raltheraffe Tue 04-Nov-14 11:45:44

I do not know if Spotify is unethical or not and frankly do not give two hoots. It is a good service so I use it.

19lottie82 Tue 04-Nov-14 11:50:58

I'd buy more from iTunes, if it wasn't a blatant rip off. An album (or a movie) costs the same as a hard copy of the CV..... which is a total con as their costs are obviously a fraction compared to if they were selling CD's in shops.

raltheraffe Tue 04-Nov-14 12:03:43

Just to clarify your post lottie, you have not bought ANYTHING from itunes. Nobody has. They do not sell music, in all their T&Cs which nobody reads, all you have done is sign an agreement to lease the music from them. You are borrowing it, you do not own it. There has been a lawsuit over this as one guy wanted his daughters to have his itunes library in the event of his death. The daughters cannot inherit the tunes as he does not own it.
I hate Apple with a passion.

shaska Tue 04-Nov-14 12:11:01

Itunes are absolute dicks. The artist share is crap, they're ridiculous about ownership, and they ask a LOT of everyone involved in the transaction. I don't know the figures but I suspect they are sinking like a stone.

SpringBreaker Tue 04-Nov-14 12:13:16

I am still trying to get my head round how Taylor Swift can be described as a powerful woman.. grin

squoosh Tue 04-Nov-14 12:15:24

I sympathise with artists re. their concerns over Spotify. Not so much the mega selling Taylor Swifts of this world but those much further down the food chain.

People these days expect to consume music for free. I like discovering new bands and if I like a band I like to pay for their music. At least that way there's more of a chance they can afford to continue in their career.

Wankers like U2 giving their album away for free demeans music in my opinion.

raltheraffe Tue 04-Nov-14 12:37:14

shaska I got an iphone 5 on contract and now the iphone 6 is out the updates have rendered my phone more or less useless. planned obsolescence, really annoyed about it. contract up next month and I am getting a samsung. apple gone downhill since jobs died.

raltheraffe Tue 04-Nov-14 12:38:16

squoosh that bloody u2 album came on my phone without me agreeing to it, very annoyed, they can have it back for free I do not want it

shaska Tue 04-Nov-14 12:39:01

Oh I don't think Apple are failing - just itunes. Apple, maybe, I don't really know either way. My 5 is working just fine with the updates though, thank god!

SaucyMare Tue 04-Nov-14 12:47:14

mu phone is working perfectly, i haven't taken the updates.

DoJo Tue 04-Nov-14 13:10:06

I'd buy more from iTunes, if it wasn't a blatant rip off. An album (or a movie) costs the same as a hard copy of the CV..... which is a total con as their costs are obviously a fraction compared to if they were selling CD's in shops.

I can see how it feels like that, but it's not really true - the time invested by the artist is just the same whatever format you buy it on, but when you purchase a CD, the amount that the artist receives from the sale is slightly lower because of the costs of duplication and distribution. The cost of making an album is the same whether you buy it on CD, MP3 or listen to it on the radio. Most musicians make a very small fraction of their income from sales of their singles or albums, with live shows and other merchandise forming the bulk of their profits.

BeGhoul Tue 04-Nov-14 13:16:05

I agree completely re U2 - they were paid a massive lump sum by itunes, all the while giving the appearance they were 'giving' their new album away. Completely undermining the value of music, and working musicians and artists.

My main problem with Spotify, You Tube, Google etc is this is the future of music. And lots of this music is 'free' to the end user - funded by Ad-click/Ad supported revenue.

Google made billions from ad-revenue from pirate sites. So all the while Google were saying piracy was nothing to do with them, they were making a fortune off it. It wasn't just Kim Dotcom and other pirates who were making money from pirate sites - the ISP's and browsers etc did very well out of piracy/P2P sites.

What I think is most shocking about all these changes, if how swiftly all these rights (and all this power) is being consolidated. Apple recently paid $3billion for Beats by Dre, and they really aren't that interested in the headphones side of things - it's the digital distribution network side of things they were after.

If iTunes does fail, Apple will be more than ready with Apple mkII ready to go.

Considering all the anti-monoploly legistalion in EU and USA, it's a wonder they are getting away with it. I think the govt, like the record companies, just don't really understand the new digital world (or are very slowly running behind). So they just marvel at Apple and Google and YouTube and FB with their tongues hanging out, wondering how much their upload on YouTube might make them.

Gone are the days of the internet being about freedom. Now the internet is owned by just a few companies, that are getting bigger, sit on each others boards etc. And we all sit back and love them and clap.

Great inforgraphic here of digital income for artists - projecting what an artist needs to do to earn the US minimum wage: www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/

Is it ethical? Spotify will claim, "we don't make any money boo hoo" but they are building a massive dominant company/asset off the back of the massive revenue they generate. It's a bit like Amazon UK not making a profit - but developing and building massive assets/distribution centers while they cry about not making money.

It's certainly convenient, great for the end user, not so great for the artist, or songwriter or performer.

ShelaghTurner Tue 04-Nov-14 15:52:01

shaska I got an iphone 5 on contract and now the iphone 6 is out the updates have rendered my phone more or less useless

Going off on a slight tangent, that is pure nonsense. I've just upgraded to a 6 plus from a 5 and the 5 is doing just fine with all the updates. My husband's 4 is now obselete as far as iOS updates are concerned, although he's not bothered about updates so it makes no difference. But that's a 4 year old phone so hardly surprising.

toriuk Tue 04-Nov-14 18:36:51

gosh i didnt know apple screwed people over too. im still amazed that they have such a good reputation with so many shady things going on.

yes ts is one of the most powerful person on earth atm. her album is breaking so many records and within 6 months is likley to be the most followed person on twitter,

toriuk Tue 04-Nov-14 18:40:58

that graphic is great! although dont get the cd baby itunes one?

GwenStacy Tue 04-Nov-14 19:06:41

My husband recently wrote a radio sitcom that's on spotify as part of a licensing deal. Each episode needs to be played 8000 times to make the rrp of an episode.

inabeautifulplace Tue 04-Nov-14 19:41:04

Spotify is good for consumers of music and not so good for artists or record labels in general. That's fine in the short term, but IMO does have implications for the quality of recorded music in the future.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 04-Nov-14 19:51:19

yes ts is one of the most powerful person on earth atm. her album is breaking so many records and within 6 months is likley to be the most followed person on twitter,

I'm not sure whether this paragraph is laugh out loud funny or deeply depressing.

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