Killing Freemium is the Worst Thing for Artists
Cortney Harding

Killing freemium isn’t artist unfriendly. It’s unfriendly to the services that offer it. In the US, a lot of free music discovery still happens via plain old FM radio. Spotify and services like it have yet to find a profitable model like traditional radio did by making it clear that advertising was first and music was second. The sonic results are often horrendous, but that’s not their primary concern. For years, traditional radio has also been able to “break” an artist; meaning provide them with enough exposure that the artist/label was able to make money from their actual music product (CD, cassette, download, etc.) and use some of that money to support artist touring, which develops the career further. If Spotify could “break” artists routinely (not just one offs and digital one-hit wonders) outside of tiny markets like Sweden, then the freemium tier wouldn’t be in jeopardy.