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27 Jan 2012 16:16


Music: On Spotify and the ethical issues it presents for music listeners

  • Why can’t you listen to “El Camino” on Spotify? There are a lot of reasons why The Black Keys’ discography ends with “Brothers” on the service, and it’s not because “Tighten Up” is the best song they’ve ever done. Really, the problems here are ethical. As an idea, the concept of subscription-based music has been around for years — remember Columbia House? or how about eMusic? — and in a lot of ways, Spotify and MOG and Rdio are merely the latest generation of that. But The Verge’s Paul Miller touches a solid nerve with a single sentence: “I suppose what I really want is some sort of ‘free range’ sticker slapped on my music consumption, so that I know the artist was ethically treated in this transaction.” Here’s a breakdown of the issues involved here.
  • benefits Listeners get to try things without worry of wasting money, and as one label executive notes, most people spend an average of $17 per year on music, meaning consumers could spend more with these services in the long run.
  • problems Big acts who don’t need services like Spotify to gain exposure — notably The Black Keys, Coldplay and Adele — have taken their latest albums off the service, saying labels benefit from the deals more than individual artists. source
  • » But is that actually the case? Small-scale bands probably have less to lose in terms of cannibalization, but in a change from the iTunes era, it’s the biggest bands on the planet, not the ones with legacies to protect, that are protesting the services. One Universal Records exec, Rob Wells, says that the artists have nothing to worry about: “Every single one of those bands has earned more money from its album being on Spotify than it has from being on any other services within a period of time.” But try explaining that to Patrick Carney, the drummer for the Black Keys: “For a band that makes a living selling music, it’s not at a point where it’s feasible for us.” For what it’s worth, Spotify and its ilk are working hard on discovery these days.

27 Sep 2011 01:38


Tech: Too social? Spotify and Facebook get too friendly for some users’ taste

  • Not cool. My Spotify account isn’t linked to Facebook, and it’ll stay that way, thankyouverymuch. If I didn’t have an account already, this would prevent me from signing up.
  • A Get Satisfaction user • Venting about Spotify’s Facebook-only signup option for new users. On top of that, Spotify recently started cross-posting what songs users are listening to on Facebook, which might be a little to personal for some people. Whistling Britney Spears while you work? Have a soft spot for Depeche Mode? Now all your friends will know, too. Follow these steps to stop or limit Spotify oversharing. source

09 Aug 2011 20:46


Music, Tech: Spotify slowly wins over America, one invite at a time

  • 1,400,000 number of Americans on Spotify, the all-you-can-eat music service that came to the U.S. last month
  • 175,000 of them pay for subscription; that’s 12.5% of the invite-only U.S. users, which is impressive source

28 Jul 2011 20:00


Tech: Patent lawsuit-o-rama: Spotify sued just weeks after going stateside

  • Once again, we see patents being used as a tool to shakedown companies who were actually innovative in how they executed, with a ridiculously broad patent that contributed zippo to the actual state of the art.
  • TechDirt’s Mike Masnick • Offering a spot-on take regarding the patent lawsuit filed against the finally-in-the-U.S. Spotify. The company suing, PacketVideo, specializes in mobile streaming solutions, but did not develop the patent, which dates back to 1994. Instead, they bought it a couple of years ago. Masnick, in his argument about patent law, rightly points out that it’s easy to patent an idea (especially one that was already floating around the ether in 1994, like audio streaming), but it’s very hard to do what Spotify does — which is, corral the cats into a room and get them all working in unison. Fact of matter: PacketVideo didn’t put any of the work into getting the labels on board, creating an innovative distribution model, or making it a cinch to use. Spotify did. And it’s another example of how patent law fails to protect real innovation, but instead punishes success. source