To myself and to countless others, Spotify is the streaming music service in almost the same way the Nintendo Entertainment System was the gaming platform in 1986. But what if I told you, my like-minded audiophiles, that it's not even the most popular music streamer? Most of the streaming music market still belongs to Pandora. Despite the many advantages Spotify offers, it was never dominant in the industry. And from the looks of it, it might be dying.
Why would I say such a thing? Well, it's because so many influential superstars are pulling their music from Spotify's library. The platform has made advances in the streaming market, but has met fierce criticism at the same time. The arguments against Spotify are becoming more diverse, too. It's not just pay anymore, it's about sound quality now, and even about the experience. Here are three categories of streaming music dissidents.
This camp is inhabited by artists like Neil Young and Maynard James Keenan. Mr. Young created the Pono player to revive hi fi audio. The Pono is a device, not software, but an online music store comes as part of the deal. You carry it around like an iPod but the quality of the music on it is super high, much better than even CDs. Young decided to take all of his music off all streaming services, because the sound quality is unacceptable in his opinion. Has he heard about Tidal? Keenan, the Tool frontman, isn't displeased with just the audio. He thinks we should touch and experience music by buying CDs or vinyl. Tool isn't going to be streamed for now.
Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Jason Aldean, Bob Seger, King Crimson and many others have pulled their music from streaming services because they are unsatisfied by the pay artists receive per stream, which is very low. Jay-Z created Tidal as an alternative, and also cut a deal with Swift to host her music.
Prince generally doesn't like how record labels and media retailers do business. He's pulled his music from a few streamers. Thom Yorke, Radiohead singer, called Spotify "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse." You can find Radiohead on Spotify, but no solo Yorke albums. The Beatles just aren't available for streaming yet. Who knows why? Garth Brooks says "no" to youtube, Spotify and every other streaming service. He's just not with it, but he's with his own Ghost Tunes shop.
I know there's a positive side to all of this, from Spotify's perspective. It's the publicity. But what happens when more big names follow these artists' lead? Spotify could become a platform for discovering new music, rather than an all-encompassing free music warehouse. It's important to note that many of the artists I mentioned have pulled their music from more platforms than one. So, maybe the streaming industry as a whole will have to change.
Sign up below to receive a monthly newsletter containing relevant news, resources and expert tips on Streaming Music and other products and services.