“As the world’s largest streaming music company, Spotify’s network of paying subscribers has risen sharply … to more than sixty million in 2017,” writes Liz Pelly in the Winter 2017 issue of The Baffler magazine. “Indeed, the platform has now convinced a critical mass that paying $9.99 per month for access to thirty million songs is a solid, even virtuous idea…. Spotify’s endgame, for now, is to go public.… Spotify’s … value … lies in its algorithmic music discovery ‘products’ and its ability to make the entire music industry conform to the new standards it sets…. Playlists are king.… It is absurd to suggest that a playlist created by Bacardi, Gatorade, BMW, or Victoria’s Secret could exist for any purpose other than the sale of its liquor, sports drinks, cars, or fancy lingerie.… Spotify’s ‘pro-rata’ payment model means … the tiniest of payouts for most independent musicians…. It’s clear that Spotify is trying to replace [record] labels…. Virtually every music publication now relies on Spotify media players to embed songs within online articles…. What will become of music criticism in a world without records? Will publications review discovery feeds and write profiles of playlists?”

Posted December 13, 2017