When I Lost a Debate About Spotify.

Is Spotify Killing the Music Industry?

I recently took part in a class debate where our team was arguing that ‘Yes’ Spotify is killing the music industry.

With a class of music lovers, who predominantly use Spotify to listen to music everyday, it was always going to be an up hill battle trying to convince them.

Our team of three, brainstormed many different arguments but couldn’t find any validity in that the decline in the music industry is solely due to Spotify, as it takes up such a small market share. Instead, we decided to use our passion, what I like to call the Thom York approach and go for the emotional tact. The three of us do not use Spotify and are quite passionate that it is the devil. Trying to articulate that proved pretty hard.

Below is my section of the speech, it gets quite convoluted at times, I hope however, that the audience were entertained and could see some valid points in my argument:

Today, we are not going to use the aid of a slide presentation to tell you why Spotify is killing the music industry. As a class of music aficionados, passionate, next generation leaders, we hope to prove why Spotify is killing the music industry  – creatively, through the choice paralysis and finally the hit song complex.

Here we have a brothel more commonly referred to as the music industry. The major labels are the pimps and the whores are the artists. You can buy that more desired worker, but for a larger price. Or you could just pay for that indie band who you wouldn’t brag to your mates about.

In comes spotify, the STD known as chlamydia that is slowly infecting the music industry. And no, I’m not talking from personal experience.

Amanda Palmer, our favourite TED talker said not to ask an artist about Spotify. “He’ll go on about the glory days of vinyl and recording to tape”…Spotify started in 2008 as a band aid solution to illegal downloading and has killed the value of songs and albums that I Tunes were offering. Just like video killed the radio star, Cd’s killed the vinyl star, Spotify is killing the music industry. Palmer says not to ask the artist but without the artist and their creativity, where would the industry be?

We define the music industry as a creative industry that over the last ten years has seen a detrimental downturn.  The industry is not measured in sales, it’s measured by creativity. We saw at MIDEM music conference, the need for innovation and new business models but the underlying theme of the festival was nostalgia. These big dogs of the music industry were crying out for a need to go back to the model of the 80’s. But why did it ever stop? It is the the global mega stars, often with one hit wonders, that Spotify holds (excuse the pun) – major  biases for that are killing the industry.

Yesterday, Kid Cudi released his 4th studio album. Blogs across the internet cleverly marketed it with a “download here”  button tat automatically directed the user to I Tunes. On I Tunes, Cudi sold it for $10 as a buy album only. Where we were once saving our pocket money for that new parental advisory album our parents didn’t want us to buy, we now pay the same amount to play millions of albums once, make a quick assessment of whether there’s a ‘Gangnam’ hit on it or not, then dispose of it. It is in this quick disposal of music the creative side of the industry is being killed.

Needless to say, we were crushed in the debate, the opposing team spoke well and used many figures proving that Spotify are currently doing some good in terms of sales for the music industry.

We concluded the debate with:

The record industry has been a cold twitching corpse for a long time now, Spotify has just given them a chance to choose their coffin.

I enjoyed the way the results were announced by our teacher over Twitter and the conversation that ensued:

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