Spotify didn’t kill the music industry.
You hear it all the time, don’t you? “Spotify is killing the music industry”. “How are new artist supposed to get noticed?”. “They pay artists pittance; how dare they!”
How dare they? How dare you?
What a short memory we have — almost as if we’ve forgotten how we got here in the first place. Spotify exists solely on the grounds that the general public — that means you—collectively decided some time in the early turn of the century, that music was no longer worth paying for.
Instead, billions of people the world over began the habit of downloading music illegally. It started with Napster — that infamous application that connected users and allowed them to share files directly. Then came Kazaa and Limewire and a dozen other P2P file sharing programmes that effectively made the this behaviour so commonplace that the entire modern world quickly forgot that what they were doing was illegal.
Now, after decades of this, Spotify (a company that has done the unthinkable: created a business model that is actually compelling people to pay for music instead of downloading it) is denounced as threatening the industries profits because it’s offering music for free? Look at what they’re competing with—an entire population that’s grown used to consuming music in exactly this way. It’s enough to make a cat laugh.
Far from *destroying* the music industry, Spotify is one of the few companies attempting to revive it from it’s terminal decline. If it were not for them, and perhaps a few others, the music industry may have already dwindled to the point of irrelevance.
Taylor Swift and a litany of other artists recently pulled their albums from Spotify, denouncing the business model as unfair and exploitative in a very clever public relations stunt that fuelled public interest and album sales for weeks. The down side of their actions is that in the long term, the majority of consumers will download their music for free instead of paying for it.
That’s the environment we’ve created — one where upper-middle-class young people are so entitled, they feel they deserve something for free, because let’s face it, that’s what they’re used to. It’s therefore not surprising the quality of music has degenerated into licentiousness; lyrics into mindless drivel; videos into conformist poppycock; performances into acts that only appeal to the most basic primal impulse; and that timeless rock bands have been replaced with the same cookie-cutter, factory produced pop-sausages, most of whom don’t even write their own lyrics.
It’s said that music reflects the thought and inspirations of the people of the time. Since music today is concerned primarily with sex, materialism, violence, drugs and teenage relationships—completely void of any intellectual substance—it’s little wonder that the listeners of this manure generate these kinds of arguments. It’s a rather terrifying feedback loop of lunacy.
Human nature is to make excuses; our society probably more than most. It’s the prohibitionary laws fuelling the criminal gangs in Latin America, not the drug takers themselves. It’s the evil fast food chains making people fat, not people’s lack of self control. It’s the villainous cigarette manufacturers giving people cancer, not the people who’ve chosen to smoke.
“It’s Spotify killing the music industry”, not the many millions who have decided that what artists produce is not worth paying for. Keep telling yourself, if it makes you feel better.