My thoughts on why Spotify is flawed

+PCMag states it best: "Good music that people enjoy has to be worth something."

That's the precise problem with Spotify—it is probably the only music product on the market today that offers an on-demand music library, free-of-charge.

Many have compared Spotify to other streaming services, such as +Pandora. The problem is, by definition, Pandora and Internet radio, designed specifically for discovery, and subscription services, like +Beats Music and +Google Play Music All Access, are based on completely different models. Internet radio provides limited ability to play the exact track on-demand and subscription services are obviously paid services. 

Spotify has created users who feel entitled to virtually owning and playing specific music at no charge. For example, I have seen comments, from Spotify users, asserting that Taylor Swift should have her music on Spotify because not everyone has the financial ability to purchase it or how costly it would be to pay for music. I'm not sure when we evolved into a society where content, and other peoples' works, that took valuable skills and insane amounts of time to create, were taken for granted. Or, as +The Telegraph puts it, "we now have an extremely entitled culture, where any kind of art is seen as a communal property." Certainly, not everyone can afford books, movies and even Android devices or iPhones, all various types of content and products that hard-working people create and turn into reality.

In an interview with Yahoo!, Taylor summed up how she felt when she tried releasing new music (Shake It Off) directly on Spotify: 
I felt like I was saying to my fans, "If you create music someday, if you create a painting someday, someone can just walk into a museum, take it off the wall, rip off a corner off it, and it's theirs now and they don't have to pay for it." I didn't like the perception that it was putting forth (Taylor Swift).  
Taylor Swift performing in Arizona during her RED World Tour.
I have always believed that the Internet should be free and open and that we should create better marketplaces and channels for content to be accessed and distributed at reasonable prices. This should be decided by the equilibrium of supply and demand. This is our best bet against piracy, not distributing content for free or keeping it in exclusive, far-to-reach corners of the web.

A lot of people, especially those that I have had a pleasure of discussing this issue with, believe Taylor is being greedy or selfish. I disagree. She is continually adding to the next generation of the music industry and trying to solve some of the biggest problems it has ever faced. She is standing up for superstars and indie-bands alike, because her position allows her to. It's why various smaller artists have tweeted her, praising her stance against Spotify, calling it "a streaming service that doesn't pay."

Payment in exchange for creative and valuable content is simply so that those same content creators creating all the things we enjoy can continue to innovate and bring us even more quality content. It's the same reason why big-name artists, including Adele, +Coldplay+Beyoncé and others, have followed the approach of releasing Spotify versions months after their music actually comes out. Unfortunately, smaller artists don't have the ability because they first need their music just out there however and wherever it can be—it's time they should start making money too.

In fact, according to PCMag, 
Swift wanted to keep her latest album on delayed-release, or at least only available to Spotify's premium subscribers, which Spotify didn't want; hence the impasse.
I am not saying that streaming services aren't the answer. But, I do not think Spotify and its flawed model, in particular, are the answers we are looking for, both as consumers and content creators—we will get lower quality of content and content creators cannot make a living. The music industry is ripe for innovation, but Spotify does not have the solution.

At the end of the day, Taylor Swift ignited an important conversation about how much we value content and everyone should be happy about that.


Additional Articles
"Taylor Swift vs. Spotify: Why Music Should Not Be Free"

"Taylor Swift Shuns 'Grand Experiment' of Streaming Music"

"Taylor Swift left Spotify because we stopped valuing art"

Bill Gates has gone crazy

Bill Gates, someone who I've been inspired by and respected for years, believes that the moonshots +Google are taking isn't helping to "uplift the poor," namely +Project Loon. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I believe his statements are ridiculous and just part of the ongoing PR stunt where Microsoft attacks everything Google. In fact, Google is doing so much to uplift the entire human population.

In an interview with +Bloomberg News (and as reported by +CNET, see link below), Gates says, "When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you... When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that. " REALLY? Or maybe the netizens and victims of the new digital age, with all of its connectivity, will search the Internet to see how to get help. Or how to find a cure. Or how to get to the closest clinic or doctor. Or allow doctors to remotely monitor or help the patient. The possibilities are endless. The part that irks me, especially, is the second part about diarrhea. Seriously. No website that helps relieve it? Maybe on Bing.

Maybe a website doesn't directly relieve diarrhea. But everyone, no matter where they're from, gets the world's knowledge at their fingertips. And even when no one in their family, neighborhood, city, town or village knows how to relieve diarrhea, they can independently find ways to cure the sickness, without waiting for anyone's help. So yes, a website can relieve diarrhea. And can relieve diarrhea of more people.

He continues, "Certainly I'm a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we're going to do something about malaria."

Google is a company with limited resources (staff, time) and must focus on the mission they've set out to do. That's why aside from the company, +Sergey Brin and +Anne Wojcicki have directly donated to causes such as related to environmental issues, poverty prevention and Parkinson's disease research ($200 million), the bankroll for the first in-vitro burger ($300,000), which could lead to a sustainable and cheap supply of protein.

I find Gates' statements to be extremely biased and irresponsible. Or maybe he just doesn't understand the power of the open web. I don't think it's the latter. It's sad that Microsoft's attack has come so far and clouded Gates' judgement. Microsoft must paint a cloudy picture for anything Google nowadays.

Certainly, Project Loon may not be saving as many lives as the Gates Foundation, but that's comparing apples to oranges. When Microsoft starts even remotely trying, then let's talk.

But, any effort to promote connectivity and uplift the entire world should be commended, however small. For now, Google is doing so much more to uplift the entire human population and to make the world a better place to live than any other company, especially in the technology industry.

Mr. Gates, I have a question. Amazon. Apple. Facebook. Microsoft. How are they "uplifting the poor?"


CNET
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57597556-93/bill-gates-criticizes-google-for-not-uplifting-the-poor/