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Musician Cannot Live By Streaming Alone

Or as a more musically-inclined Tyler Durden might say: “The first rule of Spotify is you do not talk about Spotify.” Only post links to your site or a store like Bandcamp. Seriously — there is no reason to send your fans to Spotify. The distant hope that the company will return the favor by adding your song to one of their big playlists is a broken motivation.

As listeners, we have a responsibility, too. I frequently write about the seductive appeal of streaming — I know I can’t resist effortlessly accessing an album or band that I just learned about. But we should also support the artists we enjoy by directly purchasing their music, ordering their merchandise, and signing up for their mailing lists. It’s not that difficult, and these gestures mean a lot to the artists. And, like musical Tyler, we should spread the word by posting to our favorite artists’ websites and Bandcamp pages, not Spotify players.

We’ll all benefit the sooner we start thinking of Spotify as an occasional sampling tool instead of a go-to listening necessity. Let’s happily hand the platform over to the ‘top tier’ with their frequent releases and domination of playlists. It’s evident from the interview that’s who Ek has in mind for his company, anyway (besides Joe Rogan, of course).

—Michael Donaldson, Surviving Spotify’s Future Landscape

I remember being skeptical about how Spotify might benefit music artists back when it first launched. And it has had a rocky relationship with both the record labels and artists since then. That Spotify is now the company it is today is partly down to the fact that it chose to bow to the record labels, and play by their rules — rules which only benefit themselves, not the music makers, or indeed music consumers. (I’m only too familiar with the discovery that a song or album ‘is no longer available in your region’.)

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