Said the American: Spotify? or The Day the Music Died

Today I will act as ambassador for the irresistible music assassin benignly named Spotify. Although the Swedish creators of this (free!) music streaming platform have ruled out a U.S. release in 2009, they are currently in negotiations for a release in both the U.S. and China in the near future. If you thought iTunes killed music (I know, you probably didn’t think that; Apple said it was good for musicians), just you wait…

Spotify is an online music platform that allows you to stream a truly impressive array of music completely for free. All you need do is listen to some advertisements in between songs now and then. Should the advertisements interrupt your flow, a subscription service is available commercial-free for ten bucks a month.

Should you not be able to cough up the ten bucks, rest assured your Zen won’t be trampled on by obtrusive commercials. Spotify gauges the listener’s mood by what kind of music he is listening to and responds with a commercial of similar tone. Manipulative? Yes, but it’s more likely to be called a courtesy now that we homo sapiens practically perspire advertising campaigns.

Speaking of which, I’ve not had my break today, but I’m lovin’ it all the same.

Spotify is not disclosing exactly how much of their revenue comes from subscribers versus advertisers. It does say, however, that the ratio is about one-to-one. If you wonder what the ratio of profit for musicians is versus Spotify Inc. then you can shut your ugly trap! Musicians?! They are but minor players in the music business!

We love our music so much that we want musicians to have the lowest quality instruments, production and recordings possible. What else is going to happen when we have seven Animal Collective albums and three Mazzy Star albums for free? Buy them? Puh-lease.

(A defender of Spotify, Mark Millian, the L.A. Times' music blogger, is clearly on the iTunes/Spotify payroll and should get a clue.)

Car culture and suburbs grow right-wing populism, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less