Somewhere recently I've noticed a disturbing trend: services like Spotify, Rdio and the like, are not as wonderful for the artist as the public (probably, or might) assumes. At least, a trend in as much as the information has been presented in these articles. First, a disclaimer; I use, and have used Spotify for as long as it's been available in the US.
Second; I love it, I uber-love it. And, I love the discoverability it has rolled in with the ability to make your own playlists; unlike Pandora. And, as best I can tell Rdio and Mog, and others, are fairly similar. They offer a fremium plan, a mid-level (unlimited of sorts) plan, and a top-of-the-line plan. Whichever you choose, you're sure to get a product you'll fall in love with. Outside of perhaps some bands not being on one service versus the others that is. But, outside of this, I can't imagine you not really loving the service and what it offers you. However, if we all knew what the end bands/artists were getting out of this, we might feel a bit differently.
Imagine being a musician and trying to adapt to these new services (which as much as I love/hate them, they seem to be the future) and struggling to make that lifestyle viable financially. I think I've got the solution though: pay them more.
Of course, that's simple and everyone's thought of that already, but it's not happening. And I understand why as well -- the businesses are still businesses and want to make a profit. So, here's what I propse:
...and call it something like The Music Benefactor. I figure if at $4.99/month, Spotify is happy and semi-loving life at this level. So, create an option, where I, the subscriber, can pay whatever I want. The base would be $4.99, but you can pay anything you want over that a month, and IT ALL GOES to the artists. I'm a semi-frugal, er frugal, person, and I would have no problem paying $15 or $20 a month if I knew that most of that was going to the artists. And, I'd wager many of my other hipster-ish cohorts would feel the same way.
Or, just offer a few options for this, instead of allowing users to pay their own amount (this might be a financial headache splitting odd profits and whatnot). Something like $9.99, $14.99, and $25.99 would work to start with -- or at least to do some field testing with.
For Spotify and the likes, it's a win-win. It's great PR-wise, and (hopefully) would make artists more inclinded to make their work accessible via these services.
Mused on March 16, 2013