For some reason being able to find The Faraway here makes it seem so official! If you ask me, you should have a listen.
Here is a new song off my upcoming album. Go out and get lost in it.
This is Winter.
Giving away music for essentially free is a problem that Spotify is both remedying and exacerbating. How to make the platform more musician friendly?
Emulate freemium app strategy. If a song is favorited or an artist streamed for a certain number of times/songs, encourage the listener to support that artist. Establish kickstarter-esque “projects” for every artist and fund their next album in exchange for pre-established thank-you’s such as merch, special edition music, pre-orders, vinyl, etc.
Make it easy to support artists via premium subscriptions and dedicate a certain amount of their payment to monetary support for the artists they listened to most, or allow the subscriber to choose where that slice of their money goes.
Auto-translate (with pre-approval) streams of a certain artist to Facebook likes and Twitter tweets.
What are your thoughts?
“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.” –source
I don’t really listen to or think that much about Taylor Swift, (no particular reason, I just don’t) and this quote is old news, but I wholeheartedly agree with the concept of value she raises. I don’t think the fault for devaluation lands squarely on Spotify or any one listener (myself included), but it is, from my bombastic/genuine point of view, a cultural warning sign that we denigrate the value of the arts to the extent that we do. I think it’s a big deal that someone in her position is taking a stand, regardless for whom she is speaking.
At the risk of revealing where on the totem pole I currently squat, I will say that in order to pay for my subscription to (the ad-free version of) Spotify, my songs would have to be streamed more than* 1,574 times per month. That’s not a HUGE number of plays and many artists get a whole lot more than that. But I’m still at the level where every 100 streams, no, every SINGLE stream I’m REALLY happy that people are listening to the music I’ve created.
By the same token, I currently feel a bit obliged to “undervalue” my music and make it available on Spotify because I am anxious to have it be discover-able. I don’t know where this leaves me, ethically. I still feel really certain that a certain someone finds my stuff and feels something kindred and strong. Valuable. And I can’t think of a better way to make that happen. I’d rather have people listening to what I’ve created, which took thousands and thousands of hours to create, than to have it sit in a nostalgia box somewhere.
Spotify’s rebuttal seemed to be basically “better to get a little money than nothing at all”, but I just don’t see it ever deciding to pay any more out than the very bare minimum. It’s a corporate entity, not a philanthropist organization, which is fine. Spotify is probably also just as much a demographic research pool as Facebook is, ie. the “art” of music is very much secondary to its primary goal of market research.
But I do think that Spotify can do much better. I do think that music has value, and I do laud Ms. Swift.
*that’s at the highest potential rate that I’ve seen in my payouts, which hovers around $0.00635 per stream, sometimes it is half that, and I couldn’t tell you why. Also, commercials interrupting music is disgusting, I don’t care if that sounds pretentious.