Why NPR Should Offer a Streaming Music Service
So before we get too engrossed in this idea, let’s all just appreciate that it’s just an idea. This is sport; a discussion point. So don’t get too exercised about how I’m an idiot, and it would never happen. Similar accusations were levied a couple of years ago when I proposed the Grand Ole Opry would be for sale. And then less than two weeks later, it was. And two months later it was owned by Marriott.
The point here is that this rapid move by so many media companies into the music streaming space: Spotify, Rhapsody, iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, YouTube, Beats, iHeartRadio, Rdio, and on and on from there, has created a brand new dramatic, and potentially dangerous paradigm for music, and specifically independent music, sending it to the very precipice of commercial sustainability. Long story short, with the rise of illegal downloading, the music industry became complicit to see companies like Spotify and Pandora come online because at least they could earn some money off the activities of deadbeat music listeners. But the amount of money artists and labels make from these services is ridiculously low, and more importantly, it’s unsustainable in its present form, let alone taking into consideration where it might be headed. Meanwhile these streaming services themselves aren’t really making any sizable profits either. It has all become a vehicle for the public to access unlimited music for cheap or free, and this formula won’t keep the lights on for the artists, or the industry moving forward.
This challenge has grown even more alarming in the last few weeks with Amazon launching its streaming service as part of its Prime package. The problem with this is the streaming is not just being offered autonomously, it is being offered as part of a bigger consumer bundle. In other words, Amazon wants you to stream your music through them, so you’ll also use them to buy a back massager, or your favorite book. But just as many books are being pulled from the Amazon marketplace because of the razor thin payouts Amazon is demanding from literary firms, Amazon is offering extremely small payouts to its music partners, even less that Spotify and Pandora’s ridiculously-low royalty rates. And since some labels won’t sign off on the low rates, Amazon can only offer a limited amount of music. This is a loss both for Amazon, and the artists that won’t be featured in their streaming format.
Then YouTube comes along and wants to stream music as well. Once again, it’s not really about YouTube making any money off of streaming music, it is about bundling that service along with its Google suite of services, including the Android platform on mobile devices, just as Beats has partnered with AT&T for their streaming wireless service. To compete in the marketplace, you must offer a music streaming service, whether you’re a wireless provider, or a music seller. And once again, because some labels and artists won’t sign up to YouTube’s ridiculous royalties, they are being threatened to be locked out of the entire YouTube format, including the existing free service.
So what are we supposed to do here? As time rolls on, the cost of music continues to plummet, and at this point it’s already cheap or free. Can we envision a reality where artists and labels actually pay the public to listen to music? Why not? As rapidly as music has been devalued, that’s about the only other place to go. Someone buys a new smartphone and signs up for a two-year contract, and they get a rebate for $50 for signing up for a music streaming service. Since the competition is so rabid, there will have to be something to entice customers from competitors. We’re already seeing more and more pay-to-play scenarios for artists in the live performance realm, it would only make sense this culture could creep into retail.
Streaming is the way all music will be consumed in the future, period. Forget radio, forget downloads completely. Physical formats like CD’s and vinyl will still be there, but simply for nostalgic and tactile purposes. In a matter of weeks the world of streaming music has gone from burgeoning to positively glutted. However the one hole in the streaming music market that has yet to be exploited is for a sustainable, equitable streaming service that actually takes care of the artist and labels who have provided the content.
Think about it for a second: The United States and many developed nations are breaking into two distinct cultures: One that wants whatever it can get for as cheap or free as possible and doesn’t worry about the impact of their purchases on either their community or themselves, and another that is concerned about sustainability, buying local, tracing back supply chains to make sure the originator of the product is taken care of, and filling their minds, bodies, and homes with wholesome things.
When it comes to the first group of people, it doesn’t matter what you charge them for music, it will be too much, and they’ll hop barbed wire fences and commit felonies to get it for free. And soon, they will expect you to pay them for it. The other group wants artists and independent labels to be taken care of, and is perfectly willing to pay for that piece of mind by doling out reasonable amounts for access to music. In fact you hear it all the time when these arguments about artists payouts get broached: people say they are willing to pay more for streaming services, that they want artists and labels to be taken care of, but that choice does not exist in the current marketplace.
Okay, so we’ve now established there is a demand, or at least some of a demand for a premium, sustainable, conscious music streaming service. Yes I know, selling the idea to people of paying more for something they can get for less is a bitter pill to swallow, but it happens every day when people pass by Wal-Mart on their way to support a local business.
So the next question would be, why NPR? Would this even be possible for a non-profit?
First off, it doesn’t have to be NPR, and it very well might not be. It just makes for an interesting test subject, and NPR happens to be an ideal candidate for the task. But make no mistake, if anyone, NPR or not, offered a sustainable streaming service, the demand would be there.
As for NPR, there are multiple reasons it would be the perfect organization to accept the role as the sustainable streaming service provider.
1) Name Recognition
Remember that little exercise above about the two types of consumers? Well guess where many of the second group go to consume their music and news? No question NPR has the stigma of a “liberal” organization, but they are also one of the most universally-recognized music brands in the United States, and one of the last music brands that doesn’t offer streaming. If you’re going to get people to buy into the idea of paying a little bit more for their music experience, it would be better if it comes from an established brand, and a brand they can trust. As much as some people may want to think NPR is “too liberal”, it is hard to say they aren’t still a well-respected institution.
NPR and NPR Music arguably already have much more established music infrastructure and wherewithal than most of its streaming competitors, including licensing deals with labels, a bevy of music programmers, IT manpower and infrastructure already on the cutting edge of digital music distribution and streaming, established liaisons with the industry, and a lot of respect from the industry they would be interfacing with, especially when considering the contentious relationships most of the music industry now has with Spotify, YouTube, etc. With it’s embeddable and pop out players, it’s “First Listen” and now “First Watch” features, it’s stable of well-recognized music shows like Mountain Stage, Folk Alley, and even strong ties to the festival circuit with things such as ACL Fest and Newport Folk, it is set up better than anyone else to slip right into the new music streaming paradigm, offer a ridiculously wide range of promotional options for artists and labels, and do it all in a sustainable manner. In fact NPR is already farming out much of its music technology to other non profits and companies in the private sector.
Aside from already having a great rapport with the music industry, there would be nothing but incentives for artists and labels to work with NPR if they could offer larger payouts as part of their streaming service. This could even entice some artists and labels away from some of the more spurious streamers, or God forbid, force companies like Spotify and YouTube to pay out sustainable rates to content providers or risk being cannibalized by organizations like NPR. Even though NPR is not-for-profit, it could help restore balance and sanity to the private sector streaming market.
4) Because NPR Does Not Have To Make Money
Of course, they have to generate revenue, but unlike a for-profit, NPR simply has to set up a system that will be revenue neutral to succeed, which may be easier for them to do than some of the other companies just getting into the streaming business, especially if NPR is charging more. With no shareholders to be beholden to, no parent company demanding increased growth and profits every quarter, NPR can focus on building a more intuitive, fair, and healthy business model whose underlying goals are serving the public, as well as looking out for the interests of the music industry.
5) NPR May Have To Stream Music To Survive
As discussed above, streaming is where all music listening is headed. Though radio is still the most dominant format, and will likely be for the near future, eventually streaming will overtake it. Just like Clear Channel has done with iHeartRadio, having a streaming platform is necessary to meeting the new challenges technology has presented to the music world. Furthermore, a streaming service would be a sustainable revenue source for NPR, potentially relaxing the burden of the American public to subsidize NPR through tax dollars. If NPR does not set up a streaming service, their burden on the American taxpayer could increase. And just like Google and Amazon are doing, NPR streaming services could be bundled with other NPR services, like recurring annual or monthly donations from listeners. For example, you could subscribe to NPR’s streaming service for $19.95 a month, or with a monthly $50.00 donation, you get access to their streaming service for free (along with a handy NPR mug and key fob).
6) NPR Can Keep It Local
As has been explained in detail by media research company Edison Research, one of the reasons radio is dying is because radio consolidation and the nationalization of programming has bled the local touch and relationships out of the format. With its hundreds of affiliates and locally-generated content, NPR could offer locally-flavored programming in a way no other provider could, right beside the general streaming of their music catalog. Playlists made by local DJ’s, intermixed with local radio shows in live or podcast form could make the NPR streaming alternative a much more vibrant environment compared to its competitors.
7) They’re Pretty Much Already Doing It
NPR deciding to get into music streaming wouldn’t involve opening up a new wing, it would probably involve just a few new hires and a redistribution of current manpower and technology. They already offer features like the All Songs Considered 24/7 music streaming online channel that features all the music ever featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered program, and their mobile music app is one of the most powerful on the market. It’s all in place to enter the streaming marketplace.
Yes, all of this is fine and dandy, but as many of NPR’s detractors will tell you, with their big, nationalized network, NPR is in danger of becoming similar to Cumulus Media and Clear Channel in the way they homogenize the airwaves with syndicated programming. Because of budget restraints similar to those being felt by commercial radio, some local NPR affiliates are scaling back, or even shutting down in lieu of NPR’s national roster. Maybe a streaming service could help with this by creating a new revenue source, or maybe it could exacerbate the problem by centralizing NPR’s power at the national level.
Also NPR has many detractors of their not-for-profit status. Though they receive public funding and participate in regular pledge drives, they also take corporate funding from auto manufacturers, beverage companies, and run advertisements, just like their television cousin PBS. In fact some have charged NPR with impropriety in how they choose which music partners to work with and promote, especially since many labels use NPR as an advertising outlet. Also some believe that just as music labels cater music to commercial radio, some sectors of the Americana and World Music worlds cater their music to the NPR crowd.
As for the non-profit status, this could be the ultimate demise of the idea, or it may not be any hurdle at all. They aren’t selling anything. They are providing a service no different than their radio programming.
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Crazy, harebrained idea? Perhaps. But if not NPR, then someone should step up and offer a sustainable music streaming alternative for conscious music consumers. And from the looks of how things are evolving (or devolving, as it were), it has to be someone who can move into the marketplace quickly, and with leadership, and muscle.
June 26, 2014 @ 11:39 am
I think that’s a fucking novel idea! Here in Minnesota there are 3 (maybe) more MPR radio stations offering news, classical music, and pop/indie/roots music. You can already stream any of these services from their website. Adding a feature to specifically choose what you want to hear would be fantastic. I don’t stream music, but if NPR offered a service maybe I would.
June 26, 2014 @ 11:46 am
Fascinating and thought-provoking piece as always, Trigger. Nicely done, if more than a little depressing that people value music so little anymore.
I do have a question, though: What of those of us who still want to own our music as opposed to merely renting it? Is there still going to be a place for us in the long-term?
June 26, 2014 @ 12:05 pm
I think there will always be physical formats available for that very reason, and right now this is the alternative for people who want to support music sustainably. Listen on Spotify, but buy the CD if you like what you hear when the band comes through town.
June 26, 2014 @ 10:33 pm
Yeah, that’s my way of using spotify. I think of it as being like the listening booths record shops used to have way back in the mists of time.
June 26, 2014 @ 12:07 pm
That’s a great question. I don’t stream music cause I like to listen whenever and where ever I want. Streaming services simply don’t reach the old fishing hole in Tenstrike, MN.
Remember when digital cameras all but obliterated film camera sales in the early 2000’s? Film processing operations shut down or evolved within a couple years. Now, film processing is becoming more popular again. Similar to vinyl records, I think. There will always be people who hold on to the “old” way of doing things, while the rest keep current with the latest technology.
June 26, 2014 @ 1:56 pm
Streaming services simply don”™t reach the old fishing hole in Tenstrike, MN
Yup, that”™s another concern. I live in a major metropolitan area (San Antonio, Texas) and have access to high-speed Internet pretty much everywhere I go here, but not everyone is in this position. So with this new model of streaming, access to music gets even further restricted. And if people don”™t have access to music, then they”™ll necessarily find other forms of entertainment, thus devaluing music even more, and the vicious cycle continues.
My main concern, though, is going back to what I alluded to in my original comment ”” I want to own my music, whether I originally get it on a cd or a digital download, not just rent it. I don”™t want to have to depend on things potentially beyond my control when I want to listen to my music. I want to take it whoever I go and be able to listen to it without having to depend on a potentially crappy data connection or deal with cellular data limits.
June 26, 2014 @ 11:50 am
Trigger this is brilliant. Have you contacted them about this?
Seems like you’ve almost got a pitch if they haven’t thought about it already.
June 26, 2014 @ 1:24 pm
I have no way to contact NPR about something like this. Generally speaking the site is my best communication tool.
June 26, 2014 @ 12:05 pm
Great article Trigger. You made some excellent points, especially about the two target audiences. I love Spotify – I signed up for it the minute it was available in the US. I use Spotify every day – I can’t even remember the last time I used my iPod. However, I am also painfully aware that artists aren’t paid much from streaming services, so I continue to buy CDs from artists I want to support. I don’t listen to CDs because both my home and car CD players are broke (collateral damage when you have boys in the house!). I really hope someone picks this up and runs with it.
June 26, 2014 @ 1:22 pm
Another thought provoking article. I am amazed at the amount of effort that must go into writing these things. This website goes so far beyond other country music sites of both the pop-country and independent country variety in offering substnative, truly independent analysis.
My one nitpick: I am confused why you say the Grand Ole Opry is owned by Marriot. The Opry is still owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties.
June 26, 2014 @ 1:38 pm
Ryman Hospitality’s parent company is Marriott.
June 26, 2014 @ 1:56 pm
I thought only the hotels Ryman had were owned by Marriott?
June 26, 2014 @ 2:14 pm
I’m not sure if it is even worth pursuing this point, because I don’t want to divert any attention or discussion away from the actual substance of this article, which I consider really important. All I’m saying is that I don’t see any evidence that Marriott owns Ryman Hospitality. Marriott signed a long term contract to manage Ryman’s hotels, golf course, and a couple other things under the “Gaylord Hotels” brand name.
Ryman Hospitality Properties is still an indendependent real estate investment trust, and they still both own and operate WSM-AM, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Grand Ole Opry.
June 26, 2014 @ 2:26 pm
When you trace the ownership of the Grand Ole Opry to the very top, where there is no other entity above it, you get to Marriott. I’ll leave it up to you to deduce why that information isn’t readily available to the public.
June 26, 2014 @ 2:56 pm
Ok, so in other words, because Marriott is a big ass corporation and they manage the hotel properties now, they have covert control over Ryman’s other properties as well. Sounds plausible, I guess. All I would say say is that to make an inference about Marriott’s influence over Ryman’s management of its own properties is different than stating out right that Marriot “owns” the Opry.
June 26, 2014 @ 1:57 pm
Used to work for NPR. Lots of roadblocks here.
The main issue with streaming services is that they can’t pay much right now — they don’t have much revenue. You can’t pay money you don’t have.
What they do have is a model that consumers love. As they get more people to pay for it (you see shorter and shorter free windows), payouts are on the rise. Plenty of data out there supports this. Spotify themselves have predicted that if they can 4x their user base, artists will make more than they did from downloads.
To me, the issue is in the way Spotify calculates payouts. They take the total percentage of an artist’s plays (compared to the entire universe of plays) and pay out revenue based on that.
Seems much fairer to take per-user revenue (like my 9.99/mo) and split it among the artists I listen to. I shouldn’t subsidize their payments to artists I don’t listen to.
June 27, 2014 @ 6:25 am
Is there a scenario where those two calculation methods would not produce artist payout amounts that are essentially identical?
June 27, 2014 @ 2:30 pm
Absolutely — let’s do some math (and small, round, hypothetical numbers to make it easy).
Round up Spotify’s cost to an even $10/user and say they have revenues of $1m per month. This means they have 100k users in our scenario. They pay out 70% of their revenue to labels and artists, which gives a pool of $700k each month. Let’s say they average 14 million streams a month — this has them pay half a cent per stream, close to what they pay now.
The way it’s currently calculated, that $700k sits in a pot and is divided up based on artist plays divided by total plays. So, let’s say Jason Isbell (and/or his label, publisher, or whatever company he has put together) gets 50,000 plays from these 100,000 users. That means he got .36% of all streams, and then receives $2500.
However, distribution isn’t even like that — it’s not like each of the 100,000 listeners each listened once. It’s more likely that 100 users listened more heavily. So let’s do the math under my proposed system.
Let’s say that 300 users spend 25% of their time listening to Jason Isbell. I am suggesting that Jason (and his label, management, etc) receive 25% of the total payable revenue from these users.
So 300 users pay $10/month. After Spotify’s take, there is $7 available to be paid out per user for a total of $21,000. 25% of that is $5250, more than double what he got from the first payout. This seems “fairer” to me. Maybe one user spent all his time listening to Jason Isbell for three solid months, as he was going through AA. Jason gets a solid $21 from him over those months — as if he bought an album through iTunes each month.
I believe (but I don’t know) that Spotify’s issue with this is that they cut higher royalty rates to get the big stars to put their music on the platform, and so they have to divide it up based on total share of plays to get the money to pay those artists accordingly.
The most difficult thing is that the payout for a stream has no historical context. It’s not comparable at all to a radio royalty, which plays to hundreds of thousands or millions of people at once. It plays to one person, one time. It’s not comparable to a download, which was not comparable to a CD single, because there was no hard product to create.
I use Spotify, and I pay for it. I think their payouts to artists are low right now, but so are their overall paid user numbers, in context. As those grow, payouts grow for artists. As artists don’t have to cut label deals anymore to get their music out, they take home a larger share. You might think I’m crazy, but I’m optimistic about the future. I’m a huge music fan, but at this point in my life, there’s no way I would be spending $120/year on music. I’m happy to do it because the service is great, and I want artists to be fairly compensated more than anyone. It’s just a matter of allowing the technology provider to build a base (which costs money) so there can be revenue to pay the artists. As that pie grows, so do the payouts.
June 27, 2014 @ 2:58 pm
“I use Spotify, and I pay for it. I think their payouts to artists are low right now, but so are their overall paid user numbers, in context. As those grow, payouts grow for artists. As artists don’t have to cut label deals anymore to get their music out, they take home a larger share.”
Spotify’s subscriber base is not going to grow to the point where it will ever be able to offer sustainable payouts because of the ridiculous amount of companies getting into the streaming business. There are more businesses that have gotten into streaming in the last month than over the last three years, and there’s no reason to think this trend won’t stop. They’re all cannibalizing each other, and none of them have sustainable business models. Music streaming is a house of cards with not enough revenue that could fold and take much of the music industry with it.
Also, major labels aren’t going anywhere, and nor are artists signing with them. This is something the independent world has been predicting for a decade, and major labels are now stronger than ever. Why? Because they make their money in touring, and artists on major labels get paid to tour. Touring is where the money is, because fans will actually pay for it.
June 27, 2014 @ 3:03 pm
Also, I think too much choice and access has killed the American music experience.
June 26, 2014 @ 2:05 pm
Maybe they could do something similar to Daytrotter (which is awesome), could make a show out of it too.
June 26, 2014 @ 2:45 pm
The cultural split in the Western world that you allude to is strongly correlated with rising income inequality in the West. In America, especially, the middle class is declining and society is becoming increasingly dominated by the working poor on the one hand and the upper middle class on the other.
According to the Census, about 50% of Americans earn below 2 times poverty line. On the other hand, over the last 3 decades, the vast majority of income gains (inflation-adjusted) went to the top 10%. This trend has been exacerbated after the recession, with income gains among the top 10% equaling 149% of economic growth (and with gains among the top 1% alone equaling over 90% of economic growth), while the incomes of the bottom 90% have dropped.
Coupled with the debt and underwater housing values left over from the financial crisis, this means that the working poor simply do not have the disposable income or wealth to purchase music on a regular basis. Buying “sustainable” and “tracing back supply chains” are luxuries that mainly just the upper classes can afford to enjoy.
June 26, 2014 @ 8:11 pm
stupid poor people. always pooring up stuff..
June 26, 2014 @ 8:34 pm
I know what are they thinking?
June 26, 2014 @ 8:41 pm
At the same time, paying a premium for a streaming service, let’s say $24.95 a month, up from $9.99 for Spotify, to be a partner in sustainable music, is an expense many poor families would still spring for.
Also, the amount of money people have doesn’t not always equate to the amount of money they spend. Lower classes are some of the biggest financial supporters of music.
June 27, 2014 @ 2:05 pm
I can’t see a scenario where anyone would pay almost 3x more for “sustainability” for artists. At the end of the day, convenience wins. Streaming is convenient. Once you get past that, its down to product and price. More people are motivated by pure price point than you think — its why WalMart is the biggest retail outlet in the world.
June 27, 2014 @ 2:15 pm
“More people are motivated by pure price point than you think”
No, I think the majority of people are motivated by price points. But that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t still be hundreds of thousands of people who would be willing to purchase a sustainable streaming service, and in the face of alternatives to Spotify, etc., artists might choose not to include their music on those formats, changing the streaming paradigm.
Think about it like cable rates. All they do is continue to go up, yet more and more people are subscribing every year. The problem is the American consumer has been trained to think that music should be free.
June 27, 2014 @ 2:43 pm
Music has been free for years — it’s called the radio! You only had to pay to own it.
CDs and vinyl were a racket to the consumer, but it let the labels make piles of cash by marking up the product, since it was the only way you could consume it on-demand. Digital gave people the right to own it on demand without as much markup, since the cost of delivery went down. Wireless technology has expanded the amount of music you can access at any given time, which is awesome.
It has made customers not care about owning it, as long as they have access. Just like cable. You don’t own any of the content you see, even if it’s saved to your DVR. You only have it if you can get access.
This is what people predict as technology advances — if Uber provided an awesome service and prices continued to go down, would fewer people feel the need to own cars? Maybe. You might still own one for convenience, but it’s a hassle to own one if you have on-demand access all the time.
Not saying it’s this way for every industry — you aren’t going to rent food (although Golden Corral makes me think differently…)
June 26, 2014 @ 5:54 pm
“But if not NPR, then someone should step up and offer a sustainable music streaming alternative for conscious music consumers.”
I have an idea…
How about someone who already runs a highly popular music website, owns a large collection of songs from not-yet-famous artists, knows these artists well and can easily establish financial agreements with them, and could use part of the proceeds from an online streaming service to pay for website and living expenses?
June 26, 2014 @ 8:36 pm
One of the problems with these streaming services is they are really an all or nothing proposition. Sub pop decided they were going to set up their own streaming service, but asking fans to sign up for a half dozen different services is not feasible.
There’s a lot of people that think that Saving Country Music should do lots of things it increase its footprint. But I’m just a writer, and anything that takes me away from writing makes me miserable, including trying to make money doing it.
I appreciate the sentiment though Eric.
June 27, 2014 @ 10:15 am
If I’m not mistaken, and please correct me if I am wrong, you are advocating that there be a single NPR stream.
I prefer it the way it is now. You can get the NPR app for any smart phone, or iPod Touch, and listen to any NPR station, including their HD stations. You can also stream their syndicated shows direct from NPR, or as they are scheduled at an individual station.
So, this already exists, in a single app, but with a greater variety than would be available from a singe steam.
The NPR app was one of the first apps I downloaded. I regularly listen to the americana stream from Johnson City TN (WETS HD2), and Folk Alley (WKSU). Folk Alley also has its own app, but can also be streamed in the NPR app, or as an “Internet Song” inside iTunes, or your favorite music player (aka: FooBar2000).
June 27, 2014 @ 10:33 am
The one weird part of it is you need to download the “NPR News” app, it has three main pages, News, Programs and Stations. Just ignore the News and choose Programs if you want to hear something specific, like “All Songs Considered” “Thistle & Shamrock” “World Cafe” etc. Or choose stations to listen to a specific NPR station. WETS HD2, or WKSU, etc.
June 27, 2014 @ 11:40 am
That’s not what I’m advocating whatsoever. This really has nothing to do with current NPR programming or anyone’s ability to stream it aside from the fact that it could be presented alongside the music streaming capabilities. This has to do with making the same or similar type of service that Spotify offers where you can stream any song, and any album, on demand, at any time. One of the reasons I think NPR would be easily capable of doing this is because they are already so well-versed in the streaming realm.
June 28, 2014 @ 3:44 pm
I commented on another article that I would be willing to pay two or three times the going rate for premium service. $24.99 seems about right. And I was specifically referring to the one I use, which is Spotify.
Spotify also alleviates the concern over taking your music anywhere, even where data service or WiFi is not available. With Spotify’s premium service, one is able to to download music (or, more specifically, make available offline since it is only downloadable to the Spotify app) on a device. If you cancel the premium service, it is no longer available. But as long as you have premium service, you can download albums, playlists, individual songs, whatever. That is all available whether you have a data connection or WiFi, or not.
A purely streaming service? I wouldn’t pay a dime for that. If NPR or anybody would provide a service like, I’d be all in. Personally I’d prefer Spotify just increase their premium price and severely limit their free stuff. They already have the model in place that I prefer.
To be honest, I really don’t know everything that is out there. I’ve been paying for Spotify for a while and am very happy with the service, which is why I would be willing to pay more. I personally don’t know of another service that is comparable, but I also haven’t had a reason to look.
Just one consumers opinion. Take it as you will.
June 29, 2014 @ 6:22 am
What I don’t understand is why Spotify doesn’t offer different pricing tiers for different levels of access. For example you could offer $10/month plan for say the top 1000 songs on Spotify, $15/month for say all songs released since 2000 or $20/month for unlimited – or something along those lines. Basically someone like most readers here who want access to a broader and deeper playlist pay a bit more as you suggest and I would agree. And that customer who wants to create say a Sturgill Simpson or Amanda Shires playlist is exactly the less price sensitive customer who would pay more. The consumer who just wants top 40 radio, not so much. It’s called price discrimination, its was almost every other consumer product company does. Now in the early days you need to get scale so 1 price maybe gets people signed up (I also think from a tech perspective Spotify could make it a bit more like iTunes and make playlist creation, smart playlists, on-the-go easier to make but that is more a nit than a major problem). Not sure if it is for good or evil but remember the record labels are big investors in Spotify so I’m sure they are smart enough to realize they are in the early days still in this service.