Killing Freemium is the Worst Thing for Artists
Cortney Harding
32524

This is an interesting take on the history of monetizing the internet properties (or the history of failure to turn a profit, more often than not). Whenever you discuss piracy versus how a given business model is monetized, if you were to look at a Venn diagram of the current model, you would see “free” and “paid”, two circles completely separated. The important ideology of “how to make people give you their money” generally concerns the consumer’s abstract consideration of “would I be willing to pay for a given service as it exists now?” And without detailing what material factors into that consideration, if you took our original Venn diagram, the paid circle contains a share of the “would-pays”(the portion size is debatable) and the free circle contains both types. The “wouldn’t-pays” cost just as much in terms of bandwidth as the “would-pays”, despite in all probability composing a much greater share of the free circle. This is the quintessential crisis of quantifying piracy for the music industry, because the medium is so free, there are individuals who would never pay and will not admit as much until asked directly to pay for a service. You could make an interesting debate about the “value-added” from having a large free user base, similar to facebook, where individuals produce information for sale to marketers. Given Spotify’s music industry ties and the one-sided nature of content provider -> content consumer of their business model, the value-added argument to keep free users fails to pass the scrutiny of Spotify corporate’s serf lord economic sensibility to pinch those precious bandwidth pennies.

Outside content, your article was well structured and clearly presented your viewpoint. Watch out for the big hypotheticals at the end of your article, like “what if youtube switched to paid service?” or “what if soundcloud disappeared?” All of those things might happen in the scope of 3–5 years rather than the next year or two.

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