Why Spotify Will Not Kill The Radio Star

Wanting free music is not a new thing.

I come from the generation of vinyl and cassette tapes. As a teenager, if we wanted free music we had to sit by our boom-boxes on Sunday mornings - listening to Kasey Kasem’s Top 40. With a blank cassette loaded and our fingers placed on those two important buttons, we waited for Kasey to announce our song. Bliss.

If we liked songs that were not so mainstream we would borrow our friend’s purchased cassette and copy it. That is of course if we had a coveted dual cassette player. “Stealing” music in the early 80s was a lot of hard work and the music industry did not suffer.

My friends and I would still purchase albums and tapes of our favorite performers even if we only liked two songs. We didn't have a choice unless we purchased a single or 45. The point is, we still purchased music along with using loop-holes to acquire certain songs free.

Then came Napster and later on, LimeWire. Those were free AND the artists received no compensation. LimeWire was just a computer virus waiting to happen and Napster, well Metallica took care of that little "venture".

Of course now, we stream music. My personal favorite is Spotify. I am a big music lover and my taste is vast. I used the “free” service for a while but I grew tired of the ads and not being able to listen without an internet connection. I decided to take the plunge and subscribe. For $10 a month I have unlimited access and no ads. I don’t feel the artists are losing in this arena one bit. They get paid whether or not I subscribe. Remember the ads? Those advertisement spots make it possible for Spotify to pay royalties to the artists. Then there are those like me that pay for the service. Again, this is how Spotify pays out the royalties. It may not be as much as selling the single or the entire album in your local record store or iTunes but the artist is still making money.

Artists that stream their music reach a larger audience. Up and coming artists get more exposure. Established artists may tap into a new fan base. I did not know who the hell Lana Del Rey was until I caught her on Spotify. Brilliant artist!

The argument Taylor Swift has with Spotify is curious. She feels Spotify is not compensating artists appropriately and that her album sales will suffer - everyone will listen for free. Well that would make sense if Spotify was another Napster but they are far from it. She also says it is stealing an artist's creative work. Spotify has artists in their catalog that have stood the test of time. Annie Lennox, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and so many others. How is Swift’s logic, logical?

Some have argued that those artists I have mentioned are rich enough to afford having their music streamed. I may not be Ms. Swift’s accountant but I am confident enough to say she is not hurting for money, nor will she anytime soon.

While I may stream music I also purchase it. I still go to the record store and buy the latest album and search for older ones I may have lost over time. I am not alone. With the newer generation embracing vinyl, how is Spotify hurting the artists? It isn't. Listeners will still buy music and with streaming, they have access to more artists that they would otherwise not have encountered.

If Taylor Swift does not want to stream her music that is her business decision because it certainly isn't an artistic one.

Just like video did not kill the radio star, neither will Spotify.

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