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Technology & Innovation

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.)


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