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Ethical users guide to Spotify

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:06 am
by MurkeyChris
Over on the fRoots forum, Ian has said why he won't use Spotify - basically the royalty payments are as good as nothing. I'll admit it's given me a lot of food for thought after my evangelising about Spotify. Even when I realised how little (effectively no) money goes to the artists, I was justifying it to myself by saying that it was up to artists to decide what they wanted to do with their music. The more I think about it, the less I can stand by this - we all know how desperately hard it is to make a living as a musician these days. Artists and their agents may be nieve in giving away so much for effectively free, but I can't blame them in such a confusing marketplace. As fans and supporters of music, it is really up to us to be honest with ourselves as to whether we are fairly rewarding musicians for the pleasure they bring us - just as I will pay more for Fair Trade food because I know the producers are getting a fair share. Fair Trade music ay, how about it?

So will I be giving up Spotify? I'm afraid not! But what I will be thinking long and hard about is how I use Spotify, and that I use it to expand my music taste, not to save money on it. Perhaps we could come up with an ethical users guide to Spotify. Here are some rules for starters:

- I will use Spotify to discover new music. At the moment I am listening to a track by each of the acts playing Glastonbury, which has turned me onto a fair few artists who's music I hadn't heard much before (Flo and her Mo, Gaby Young and Other Animals, Jean 'Binta' Breeze, Laura Marling and Professor Green so far). I've also got a list of over 50 albums flagged for listening that I've been intrigued to hear (read about them, heard a track on the radio, playing Glasto etc.) but would otherwise realistically never have bought or have got around to hearing, and may well only ever play once.

- If I find myself listening to an album or track repeatedly on Spotify, I will reward the artist by buying it.

- I will continue to spend as much money on music as I did before Spotify. I've been working on a rule of buying one CD a month for some time now and have kept that up. (Incidentally, this has also made me think about my purchasing habits, and that the majority of the albums I buy are either from charity shops (quite often ex-promo too) or less than £5 in Fopp. Whilst I like the environmental credentials of buying second hand or old stock, it doesn't give a lot to the artist. But if I just bought from the artists I'd miss the thrill of browing and discovering a bargain...)

- I will not buy one album over another because the other is available on Spotify. I've done this one before, but no more!

These charts give an indication of how measly streaming payments to artists are - someone would have to listen to a ten-track album 233 times to give the artist as much money as buying the album in a shop with the artist on a high-end royalties deal. Makes you wonder how long Spotify's going to be about anyway, especially as I read somewhere it was hideously in debt. Perhaps we should all start using We7 instead anyway!



Re: Ethical users guide to Spotify

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:13 pm
by Andrewq
Excellent investigative work Chris. But what if I use Spotify for a couple of hours a day whilst in the office, as background music – will my conscience be clear?
And where does we7 fit into the payment scale?

Re: Ethical users guide to Spotify

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:20 pm
by MurkeyChris
Sorry for delayed reply Andrew. I'll leave it to you to decide on your conscience! As for We7, I've heard it pays proper rates, but that's about all I know. Must give it another go.


Re: Ethical users guide to Spotify

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:39 pm
by Nigel w
MurkeyChris wrote:Over on the fRoots forum, Ian has said why he won't use Spotify - basically the royalty payments are as good as nothing.

Yet that doesn't seem to have prevented the Kevin Pietersen of folk music from giving Spotify his latest reissue!

Check it out. Especially Ian's version of Paint It Black. Hilarious. In a thoroughly good way, of course.

''I see a rrrr-ed door and I wunt to paint it blark''. Go, Ian!

Re: Ethical users guide to Spotify

PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:49 am
by AndyM
Ian A as Kevin Pietersen - this may need unravelling a little for those of us with only a nodding acquaintance with cricket.