Spotify

Music Recommendation & Digital Payola

By guest blogger Taylor Lambert and Kevin Erickson

In the age of on-demand streaming, it’s common to hear people talk about music as “limitless”— something that flows forth endlessly like water. Indeed, musicians around the world release a huge volume of new music every day. But in practice, most consumers’ exposure to the world of new music is extremely limited. It’s one of the thorniest problems—if there’s so much music out there, why do consumers end up being exposed to so little of it? Why should the music marketplace be a winner-take-all system?

Of course, whether or not you view this as a problem to be solved could depend on whether you’re fortunate enough to be one of the “winners.” Still, media critics have long pointed to the role of gatekeepers who exercise considerable control what music reaches audiences. From radio programmers to retail managers to talent buyers to music reviewers and beyond, the most powerful labels do their best to keep their offerings front and center—often at the expense of independents. Radio is the still the number one source of “music discovery,” but commercial AM/FM radio broadcasters in this era of ownership consolidation tend to be highly risk-averse in their programming choices. Playlists are narrow and repetitive, as our research has documented. It has been the strong hope of the independent sector that online music services would be more democratic, allowing more artists to find audiences than was possible in the old-school media world.

Submitted by kevin on June 10, 2014 - 8:48am

Why Can't Digital Music Services Get Jazz & Classical Right?

by Ian Dahlman, FMC Communications Intern

20.7 million Americans (8.8% of all US adults) attended a classical music performance in 2012, according to the National Endowment for the Arts’ recent survey highlights. 19 million (8.1%) attended a jazz gig. But if these millions of classical & jazz fans tried to use any of the most popular digital music services to access classical or jazz music at home, they’d likely end up confused and unable to find what they’re looking for. read more

Submitted by kevin on October 18, 2013 - 1:27pm

More Thoughts on Chasing Spotify's Pennies vs Fans

September 17, 2013

[…] In order to move the discourse forward, I followed up on an email that Kristin Thomson sent me after reading my article, and I asked her to bring her perspective to this conversation. Kristin is a social researcher, musician, indie record label owner, and a consultant for Future of Music Coalition, a national nonprofit that advocates for musicians. Since 2011, Kristin has also been co-director of Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams project, a multi-method, cross-genre examination of how musicians’ income streams are changing over time. read more

Is Spotify Fair To Musicians?

Are we willing to pay for creativity anymore?  Musical hero Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame isn’t so sure.  Yorke is boycotting the super music streaming service Spotify with his latest album “Amok.”  Says Spotify doesn’t pay new young musicians enough to survive on.  Fractions of a penny per digital listen.  Pauper wages.

Guests

Greg Sandoval, senior reporter for The Verge. read more

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