Spotify gives artists benefits that transcend profits

By Amy Roh
Student Life Editor


You just broke up with your boyfriend.


In an effort to wallow in your sadness, you open Spotify in search of Taylor Swift, or perhaps even Radiohead to lull your woes away. You open up the music streaming service, but none of their music is there.


Spotify’s steady rise to fame has made artists react in multiple ways. Some, such as Coldplay, have limited their releases onto the streaming service until later dates. Others, such as Adele or Taylor Swift, have taken their albums down completely.  


In her editorial in The Wall Street Journal, Swift defended her choice by saying that music is a rare art form and, “Rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”


However, this should not be the case. Artists should cooperate with music streaming services because it gives them the credit and exposure they did not have before.


In a way, Swift is right. Music is art, but art is meant to be viewed, discussed and shared with the public.


Although artists feel as if their music is not being paid for, Spotify still compensates their artists per play. The royalties may be low, but it is a much better alternative to the rampant music piracy that existed before.


Before Spotify, music piracy saturated the Internet. But now, the service has made a mark in reducing illegal music downloading. It gives profits to music that otherwise would have been downloaded with no revenue at all.

For Billboard-breaking artists such as Swift and Adele, making their fans buy the physical album is fairly easy. Their millions of fans will still buy the album, so it rarely affects them.


Their fame makes them profitable, with or without music streaming services.


However, there are smaller artists who do not wield an empire of musical fame such as Swift or Adele. A good majority of them simply want their music to be known by the public. By putting their albums on these services, they get the publicity they need while still receiving royalties.


Spotify has not only reshaped the music streaming service, but has done so by also creating a social network. You can share playlists, follow and send music to your friends. Spotify designs a personal playlist every week based on your most recent plays. It even notifies you when that band you like comes into town.


By connecting users to a huge music database, Spotify increases the chance for music to be discovered and shared.


Contrary to Swift’s view that music is “rare,” the invention of GarageBand, Soundcloud, or even YouTube, have produced more music than ever before. Spotify introduces you to the ever growing glut of content in the music industry.


With all of these combined, artists should not scoff at the thought of Spotify, but see it as a beneficial asset for their creative work.


The business model for Spotify is still evolving, however artists need to work with the system in order to create a good medium for both artists and fans.