Free Fabergé Eggs for Everybody! — the problem with Spotify

On Spotify (and Why I’m not a Conspiracy Theorist After All)

Quote: I’ve personally heard a representative of Spotify, at a conference filled with artists, tell us that our work should “flow freely like water.”

Whoops, problem there. Water is a commodity. Every water molecule is like every other water molecule, and it did not take the focused effort of a talented, determined human intellect to create each and every one of those molecules. Music is not an indistinguishable, interchangeable commodity. This is not a moral issue, any more than to say that anything else that is comparatively rare and extremely difficult to produce is not a commodity. It’s as if Spotify is talking about business models for brain surgery by saying, “Well, the local diner pays its short-order cooks minimum wage, so we’ll build a hospital where the remuneration for surgeons is based on short-order cooks. I mean, wouldn’t you like to live in a world where quality brain surgery flows like water?

Good luck with that.

The fact is, good brain surgery is damned difficult, and the people who are mentally, physically, intellectually, and temperamentally suited to it — as well as willing to subject themselves to the necessary training — are just too thin on the ground for their work to ever “flow like water.”

Now, lives don’t depend on music, so you can make music flow like water … as long as you embrace that it will become as low-quality as nearly everything else that can be manufactured in large quantities.

What would you rather have, good food that you have to work a little to get, or to swim in an ocean of dirt-cheap chicken mcnuggets for the rest of your life?

Fact is that anything that can be popped out of a mold in planet-swamping quantities and “flow like water” for super-dirt-cheap prices is invariably not worth the powder to blow it to kingdom come. Spotify will only ensure that we are up to our noses with the kind of cheapo synthetic music that is presently taking over the planet like musical velveeta.

You can’t make Mona Lisas, Fabergé eggs, and Beethoven symphonies flow like water, no matter how many corporate pep talks you bang on about it, because they just cannot be produced in quantities that cover 70% of the Earth’s surface. They take the focused, relentless effort of only the rarest of human minds. They will NEVER exist in commoditizable quantities, something that Spotify’s business model is very effectively and thoroughly ignoring.

There was, in all history, one Lennon/McCartney collaboration. One. Spotify seems to want to pretend that the following series of steps is somehow valid:

1) Make Spotify rich.
2) Something something.
3) Thousands more Lennons and McCartneys will somehow be born.
4) They’ll go into music despite not being able to earn a dime from it anymore.
5) Super-high-quality music will “flow like water!” Forever! Yay!

Welcome to the music world of the future, where it’s just like now — where it all sounds exactly the same — only more so. And if you don’t personally play an instrument very well or know someone who does and can barter with them, you ain’t gonna hear anything else. Ever.

Welcome to a steady diet of computerized, auto-tuned boom-shaka-boom-shaka-ooh-baby-teen-angst-wah-wah-crapo-love-song-tish-tish-shaka-shaka for the rest of your life …

Well, for those of you who can’t play an instrument. I’ll be fine, thanks. 🙂

I remember driving past a billboard for McDonalds one time, advertising something hideous like 50 chicken mcnuggets for $9.99 or something like that. The first thing that popped into my head was that nothing that could be produced in mass quantities and subsequently sold at a profit for 20 cents each is anything that you should be putting in your mouth.

It shouldn’t go into your ears, either.

Note: I have made no moral arguments here. I’m not whining Spotify-is-mean-boo-hoo. I’m saying that the only thing you can get in quantity for shit prices, is shit.