Why are artists and labels fleeing Spotify? Why are they deciding at this exact moment to stand up against the man and start an anti-Spotify revolution. Well, I guess the true question is why are artists and labels running from their fans?
Let’s take some time to look at the Spotify model. For those unfamiliar with it, you’ve obviously been living under a rock for the past few years (don’t worry, we won’t judge you). A user can sign up for two types of accounts: free (in which the user can stream as much music as they want, but there are ads) and premium (the user pays $9.99 per month to have an ad free listening environment, in which they can stream anything they want, anytime, and even download a certain amount of music to listen to when offline).
Personally, from the moment Spotify landed in the US, I began paying $9.99, knowing I could listen to every piece of music that was released for one monthly fee. Working primarily in music, I am often asked if I feel like that is wrong, knowing that music sales are a huge part of the industry (although fading faster and faster), and simply put, no. I am paying $9.99 to consume music in the way I enjoy best and most importantly LEGALLY.
Let’s look at the consumers. With the down economy, and with limited expendable income, will most consumers purchase every album that they want to hear on iTunes or will they pay a monthly fee to listen to all of them anytime on Spotify? Let’s say the average person wants to purchase 2 albums per month, that means that by using Spotify, the consumer is able to save 50% a month, and that doesn’t take into fact that they could go back and listen to any previously released album as well, without paying additional fees.
So great, consumers save money on music. What good does this actually do the music industry?
Let me turn the tables some. If you go shopping at the store and see 10 different shirts that you want to buy, are you going to just purchase all 10, or are you going to try them on to see which best deserve your money? Isn’t Spotify similar to the dressing room at a clothing store. Consumers can “try on” the music they are interested in and see which ones they want to purchase the most before making the decision to spend $10 blindly (and let’s all admit we’ve spent money on albums that were sub par). Or, let’s maybe take it one step further – how many consumers purchase full albums? Wouldn’t we all agree that most purchase singles? If that’s the case, Spotify is a perfect place to listen to an album to determine which songs you want to purchase. I wholeheartedly believe that Spotify helps consumers to make purchasing decisions.
Beyond the purpose of allowing consumers to preview new music before purchasing, Spotify has another MAJOR benefit to the music industry – MUSIC DISCOVERY.
Point blank, Spotify is the number one way to discover new music. Previously, I would have said that radio filled that spot, but now Spotify has easily overtaken it. I cannot name how many artists I have discovered on Spotify and fallen in love with before their songs were ever hits – Lorde, Mr. Problems, MisterWives, Vance Joy, and so many more.
Let’s as an industry stop complaining and start embracing – this is where fans are…this is where they live. If we want to find them, we have to go there. Otherwise, we are prohibiting fans from consuming music in the way they want. If we do that, they will find someone else to fill our spots in their lives and stop buying tickets to concerts, merchandise at those, and yes, despite belief, music.