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Spotify shuts down direct music uploading for independent artists (altpress.com)
495 points by DyslexicAtheist on July 3, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 196 comments

The submitted article doesn't mention it but my guess at connecting the dots is that it's related to EU Article 13's stringent requirement of "upload filters"[0].

Yes, Spotify's direct uploading "gave opportunity for small artists to share their talent" -- but that same mechanism also made it too easy to upload copyright infringing content.

Since Spotify does not have a machine learning AI copyright filter like Youtube's ContentID[1], shutting down the direct upload was their best course of action. Restricting uploads to their distribution partners (record labels) is the human version of the "contentid" algorithm.

[0] https://www.google.com/search?q=eu+"article+13"

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=youtube+"contentid"

Spotify has internal fingerprinting stuff that can handle this easily enough. The shutdown is entirely due to pressure from the record labels. It's a shame; this was a surprisingly difficult product to get off the ground, and a lot of folks put in heroic efforts to make it work.

Apparently not, because it's number one streamed track "Old Town Road" never cleared the Nine Inch Nails sample it used.


Think about it from the artist's point of view. What financial incentive does an unknown artist have to clear samples?

On one end of the spectrum, you create a song using an uncleared sample and it goes nowhere. Nine Inch Nails never hears about your song, and neither does the public.

On the other end of the spectrum, your song goes viral and makes you one of the most popular artists in the country.

Even if Nine Inch Nails claims every cent you make from the song, you have already accomplished your goal. You're a popular artist and now have a platform.You can sell merch, sign sponsorship deals, and get paid to advertise for brands on social media. You can put out new music with all your ducks in a row and go on to have a very successful career.

Why go through the trouble of clearing your sample when the chances of your song becoming popular are very slim, and even if it does become a hit, the reward far outweighs the risk?

Outside of ethics, there is no reason for an unknown artist to clear samples when they are trying to make it in the music industry.

It should also be noted that both the creator of Old Town Road(Lil Nas X) and Nine Inch Nails are currently under Columbia records.

You make an excellent point, and even if the song goes viral they are still unlikely to make any money from the song itself, regardless of whether they cleared samples. Presumably any physical merchandise they sell is clear of anyone else's copyright.

There are theoretical risks, depending where you are based: Court costs Injunctions Risk of Punitive damages

They may share a record label, but do they share the same publisher?

Music labels are strangling culture in America. Please pirate music to avoid funding music industry lobbyists in their efforts.

I donate lots of money monthly to my private music trackers because it's such a superior experience for music lovers, far better than Spotify and the like. I wish the labels would let these ecosystems emerge into the light, because I'd pay $100 a month for a legitimate version of Redacted...

Pedantic nitpick: it's not just music labels, but copyright trolls/racketeers in general; music is just the industry where it's most obvious/egregious.

Parasites exist on every industry. Left unchecked, they multiply and eventually kill the host.

Instead of pirating: support local artists, go to concerts, Bucky their march from the stalls and their self-pressed cds.

This is uninformed and off-topic.

How so?

Maybe labels are bad, but piracy is far worse for artists -- it reduces their incentive to produce. That's why, for instance, big bands have become such an endangered species. Almost nobody can afford to hire, say, a horn section today.

Big bands were essentially killed [0] by cheaper multitrack recording, synthesizers and samplers in the 80s, when there were no such things as torrent trackers. Even the wonderful although hugely inefficient Napster was more than a decade away. Today artists get most money from gigs, while record labels profit the most from printed music sales and royalties.

[0] The correct term should be "relegated to niche performances". If you love big bands you can indeed listen to them somewhere today, the difference being that mostly for economical reasons they're not anymore the default method used for example to make a film score.

> Big bands were essentially killed by cheaper multitrack recording, synthesizers and samplers

Excellent point.

Independent distribution is still extremely cheap and easy - there are still platforms out there that will upload music to Spotify and many others for free or for a small annual fee. Spotify offering the service directly isn't necessary for distribution to be accessible to all.

>Spotify has internal fingerprinting stuff that can handle this easily enough.

I'll admit I don't know about Spotify's inner workings but my understanding is that Spotify itself does not have its own fingerprinting algorithm. Instead, they rely on their distribution partners like DistroKid and CD Baby to use fingerprint services and prevent copyright violations. (DistroKid and CD Baby license the fingerprint algorithm from Audible Magic[1]. Google also initially licensed Audible Magic software before they wrote their own version of ContentID.)

I'm also not sure audio fingerprinting technology is enough. Even though Youtube's ContentID is a state-of-the-art algorithm with the largest fingerprint database, Google was still afraid it wouldn't be enough to satisfy the EU which is why they fought the passage of Article 13.

Maybe the EU Article 13 isn't the sole reason but it certainly gives more ammunition to copyright holders to use against Spotify's catalog of potentially unlicensed content and copyright violations.

>The shutdown is entirely due to pressure from the record labels.

Ok, let's say that the primary reason was pressure from the record labels. We need to dissect that "pressure" into smaller concepts.

To add precision to the discussion we can separate 2 different types of entities:

- record labels[2] : Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI

- distribution partners[3] : DistroKid, CDBaby, EmuBands, etc

Look at the webpage[3] of non-record-labels that are distribution partners and they mention "protecting against infringement" and "infringement" -- 4 times. Also, Spotify's blog post[4] again mentions "protect artists from infringement".

For Spotify to offer direct uploads, they'd have to manage the extra logistical hassles of policing copyright violations that was previously outsourced to DistroKid & CD Baby.

I agree that record labels (Universal/Sony/Warner) can exert pressure... but what exactly is that pressure about? I believe it's preventing copyright infringement from crowdsourced random uploaders. If it's not about "protecting copyrights" but some other reason that's keeping record labels happy, what's that "other reason"?

[1] https://www.audiblemagic.com/

[2] https://www.google.com/search?q=biggest+record+labels

[3] https://artists.spotify.com/guide/your-music

[4] https://artists.spotify.com/blog/we're-closing-the-upload-be...

Record labels are gatekeeping and defending their moat. The existence of their industry relies on friction in the music distribution system - the easier it is to release music own your own, the less money they will make.

You're not obliged to sign to a record label.

Correct, which is why the labels try to do things like this. If the labels pressure Spotify to kill the ability for independent artists to upload their own music, then they only way you get on Spotify is to sign with a record label. And if being on Spotify is important to you as an artist, then yes, you are indeed obliged to sign with a label.

>>Since Spotify does not have a machine learning AI copyright filter like Youtube's ContentID

If true, this is worrying. It basically gives a handful of companies a monopoly over a potentially wide range of things. It is unreasonable to require everyone to meet a standard that relies on cutting edge technology.

Welcome to government regulation 101. Regulatory capture is a term that should be in everyone's vocabulary.

If Im not mistaken, youtube contentid filtering is not working as good as Google hoped it will. People find more and more backdors or workarounds for it. Google hires like thousends of editors to watch youtube content and filter out stuff. That was one big defeat of Google. The same way they fail to filter kids content.

Im yet to see a filtering mechanism for a platform like ytb that works.

It's a very tough problem, with thousands (or more) of smart people constantly trying to circumvent it every day. But I think YouTube has the upper hand at this point. You hear way more about false positives than false negatives, and every single successful circumvention I've found is barely watchable/listenable. >50% cropping, rotation, major pitch shifting, color shifting, speed changes. They're getting by, but really just barely.

I would call that a lost battle because you need like 1% of all content to break the laws similar to the ones EU recently passed to still heavily fine them.

1% of all content on YouTube? I imagine a far lower percentage than that is copyright-infringing.

Is it worrying? I see it as an opportunity to create and use a competing service.

It's worrying because the regulations are designed explicitly to prevent the creation of competing services. Startups are requires to either pay an arbitrary tax to a company that's likely owned by record labels, or do like Youtube and create an internal service that performs just as well as other systems and probably still face a flood of lawsuits.

It is very worrying. It is like regulatory capture, but not implemented at the request of the company. It was done purely by the EU. By requiring cutting edge and practically non existent technology, it somewhat requires a monopoly by the one company that can do it (YouTube, or do it the best because there is no perfect filter). And the EU will then turn around and fine them for being too big.

I believe in well regulated capitalism, but I find that the EU takes things too far and does not worry enough about the unintended consequences of their rules.

The problem is less one of regulation vs. not regulating and more the fact that most of the politicians are dinosaurs with little or no understanding of modern technology.

They probably don't realise how unreasonable the demands are.

Laws where the government requires some business intermediary to “police” for compliance are the most worrisome to me. The bar for these sorts of regulations should be very high. Unless life or limb is at risk regulatory compliance should be left to the regulators.

>By requiring cutting edge and practically non existent technology, it somewhat requires a monopoly by the one company that can do it (YouTube, or do it the best because there is no perfect filter). And the EU will then turn around and fine them for being too big.

It doesn't really require a monopoly or any advanced technology at all in fact: there's nothing requiring anyone to offer music online in digital download form. They could just go back to only distributing it on CD, or even cassettes or vinyl. The rules are all because some parties really want to distribute music over the internet, and lots of consumers want this too. Remember, as someone else here said, the politicians are mostly dinosaurs, and to them, you don't need to download music when you can just go to a store and buy it.

> It is like regulatory capture, but not implemented at the request of the company. It was done purely by the EU.

The EU is pressured (and paid off) by media companies. It's the same root problem. Corporations having too much influence in government.

>I believe in well regulated capitalism

Then you really should avoid crying wolf for what's effectively pure speculation in this case. I also fail to see what "capture" you have here, people are still able to upload their track to Spotify, they'll just have to go through a 3rd party that will have to screen copyright infringement and make sure the metadata is in order. Meanwhile Spotify is free to focus on the big fish which is probably what they really care about. So who is capturing what in this scenario?

Regarding Youtube it's already effectively a quasi-monopoly, not because of regulation but because operating a free video streaming service at this scale requires insanely deep pockets. The only others that manage to stay afloat are mainly those who offer content that can't be hosted on Youtube (dailymotion, liveleaks, porn sites etc...).

Good job, EU! Squelch your citizenry in the interest of the copyright industry. Content filtering is draconian and fundamentally opposed to a free and open society.

It keeps happening with their draconian regulations. After the privacy/data protection bill, I hear that the european market for online advertising imploded trying to meet regulations and Google Ads gobbled up some 30-40% more market share in Europe. It came down to the fact that Google was able to meet the regulations fastest, and achieve informed user consent across a wide userbase dramatically faster than small local outlets, so ad buyers flocked to the fastest and widest game in town.

One example: https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/image002.p...

Seems more true than ever that big regulations create big business moats that big businesses can easily absorb, but which demolish smaller businesses.

It might actually turn out for the better. Google is a big target; they can't fly under the radar.

As for demolishing small businesses, small businesses aren't an universal, unquestionable good. In this particular case, we need less adtech business in general. It's like dumping toxic waste into rivers - not only lots of small polluters aren't better than few big ones, the desirable thing is just having less polluters.

I literally cannot imagine supporting monopolies/oligopolies over healthy competition.

There really is more than just an ocean between America and Europe, the culture is so dramatically different.

How can one honestly believe that a Google data monopoly is better for privacy and innovation? It seems to fly in the face of every lesson learned by every monopoly in history.

> I literally cannot imagine supporting monopolies/oligopolies over healthy competition.

Implicit in my post was that I don't want to support healthy competition in adtech, or any competition at all. I want this industry to disappear entirely. I have no tears for the small adtech businesses whose market got scooped up by Google; I only hope that by presenting a bigger target, Google's adtech activities will be easier to regulate.

So if I open a new small business and want to advertise it on AdWords or elsewhere on the internet I have no recourse? Word of mouth is random and unreliable even if you have a good product. Advertising is a healthy and essential signalling mechanism to broadcast the availability of a new service and there is absolutely nothing morally wrong with it in its self. The non-benneficial side-effects like extensive user tracking and practices that drastically harm user experience however are bad and a seperate issue to be dealt with.

> So if I open a new small business and want to advertise it on AdWords or elsewhere on the internet I have no recourse

Ad tech was extremely profitable before personalisation and wholesale trading of private data.

> Ad tech was extremely profitable

That was the era when marketers were dumb, drank the internet look aid and were taken for a ride by the industry. That's not quite true anymore.

They will work just fine today, too

The implication wasn't clear because, frankly, it's a silly thought. This post is ripe for that "that's not how any of this works" meme.

I can understand the emotional intent, but it's important to ensure that routes we take actually get us to the outcomes we want.

Although I generally agree with your sentiment, please don't forget that, unlike the US, the EU also has antitrust and anticartel laws with teeth and has applied them in the past against large quasi-monopolists like Microsoft and Google.

With all due respect, America has a long history of busting monopolies, and while we haven't gone on a busting spree this generation, we're awfully close to doing the one thing that Europe would never, ever be able to accomplish: Break up companies like Google and Facebook. (As this thread demonstrates, Europeans would potentially be against us doing so, and would be pro-monopoly?)

I actually think the Google reorganization under Alphabet was done in no small part to prepare for anti-trust activity and the breakup of the Google monster.

Question because I don't know European anti-cartel history, do European regulators have a history of big bust-ups like Ma Bell?

It seems like Europeans just try fining them and letting them be.

1) There's nothing the EU can do besides fine them. They're foreign companies; they have no power to break them up, only to fine them or prevent them from operating there. They probably decided that getting billions in fines is better than just shutting them out and hoping local companies can somehow come up with similar services.

2) When your country hasn't done something in over a generation, you need to stop touting it as something your country is good at. Just like we don't continue to criticize Germany for some terrible things they did 75 years ago, we need to stop thinking we're so great because we managed to land some people on the moon 50 years ago.

> we haven't gone on a busting spree this generation, we're awfully close to [..] break[ing] up companies like Google and Facebook


Don't you recall when we got really close to breaking up microsoft? I mean, in the end we didn't, but we sure did send a lot of _very_ strongly worded letters.

Outside of tech there are a lot of anti-competitive practices that have been left to grow while the cops been off the beat - I'd love to see the Pharma industry shaken up especially with PBM & Manufacturer relationships... additionally, Walmart.

Yes, monopolies might actually turn out for the better. I can't really think of an example but in principle why not, maybe this time it will be an enlightened monopoly.

My point was more along the lines: you let Google scoop up all the adtech business and then kill Google. Or at least its adtech activities in Europe. Since the territory is already unsustaining for small adtech businesses, they won't rise back up when Google's monopoly is out of the picture. No more adtech companies in Europe, mission accomplished.

Totally agree with you. I think also that it's very possible that delivering-adverts-with-minimal-privacy-infringement is a different class of problem to just "delivering-adverts". Maybe it's a type of problem where profit can only be extracted by means of huge economies of scale and well-staffed teams of ML experts? Like deep-sea oil drilling versus drilling in the desert?


Yeah I'm sure not letting companies sell all the data about you to the highest bidder is somehow "draconian". Poor them

You're right about the market capture, though it seems to me the ad market is in a bubble and that massive retargeting and trying to sell people things they already own is going to get old soon.

Good contextualized marketing is less dependant on the profiles and more on what it's being shown right now.

Why do you think that advertising business is good and imploding ad business means privacy regulation is bad for small businesses in general?

Besides, GDPR is an extension of similar laws that have existed for years.

* I didnt say ad business was good or bad, but from the perspective of a European I would want European firms competing against American firms and keeping money and talent in my borders to boost my communities.

* I didn't say that imploding ad business means privacy regulation is bad for small business, but I did demonstrate that big regulation chokes out small business and strongly correlates with big business success

> I didnt say ad business was good or bad, but...

But that's the business you chose for your illustration.

> I didn't say that imploding ad business means privacy regulation is bad for small business, but ...

... you specifically talked about ad business alone and drew the conclusion that "big regulations create big business moats ... which demolish smaller businesses."

It's a good thing that GDPR destroyed ad business that existed only by selling user data without consent. And there's nothing big about GDPR. It's very small and easy to comply with.

If your business is built upon selling and profiting from user data without user's consent, good riddance. If not, GDPR doesn't affect you in the slightest.

Yep, we see this in government contracting too: selling stuff to the government, or bidding on government contracts, means jumping through all kinds of crazy hoops. So small firms for the most part don't bother, and the only companies that do are ones (usually large ones) that are specialized for that task, but can't compete in the private sector, so people wonder why toilet seats cost $600. The only companies willing to sell toilet seats to the government and deal with the regulations are going to charge a fortune for it, and American Standard or Home Depot just don't bother.

(With the US government, it isn't just behemoth corporations; there's big incentives for some small firms too, so there's a bunch of tiny companies that are highly specialized in milking that gravy train.)

Such as, for instance, a business 51% owned by a disabled, veteran, and Native American woman, that takes a percentage and then subcontracts all their work to a public company controlled by old, able-bodied, and white men.

Working the system yields better profit than doing the actual work.

The whole GDPR thing was known years in advance and even smaller outfits would have had enough time to make changes.

An additional anecdote: we experimentally tried a smaller German ad exchange (used by quite some big-name sites here). Profits went way up compared to AdSense. What also went way up was the amount of stupid, low effort clickbait-bullshit (which as a non-lawyer I sometimes questioned the legality off considering some told outright lies). We stopped using them shortly afterward.

I'm really sorry to hear that google ads got even more, and now they're going to complain about a monopoly. Things like GDPR also make it harder to start a competitor, as paperwork and red tape always do; I have not personally worked on GDPR for any thing, but know some one who does and it's a nightmare.

If stringent government regulation got you here, maybe it will be less of that, not more, that gets you out.

If stringent government regulation got you here, maybe it will be less of that, not more, that gets you out.

Yeah, we see how fantastically that one worked with the Boeing corporation and their newest flagship plane, The 737MAX.

The 737 MAX exists because it's so onerous to get government certification for a new airframe (and for governments to certify pilots on a new airframe). Boeing would love to ditch all the legacy cruft on the 737 and start from scratch, but doing so would not be cost-effective in today's regulatory environment.

The only reason this same issue didn't happen to Airbus is because the plane was high enough to give the pilots time to troubleshoot:

> The Alpha Protection activated forcing the aircraft to pitch down, which could not be corrected even by full back stick input. The crew eventually disconnected the related Air Data Units and was able to recover the aircraft.[1]

1. http://avherald.com/h?article=47d74074

It is true from what I understand of the crashes that the MCAS system was created to comply with regulations.

Specifically it was created to comply with regulations surrounding a flight manoeuvre that would never actually occur on a real flight.

> Engineers determined that on the MAX, the force the pilots feel in the control column as they execute this maneuver would not smoothly and continuously increase. Pilots who pull back forcefully on the column — sometimes called the stick — might suddenly feel a slackening of resistance. An FAA rule requires that the plane handle with smoothly changing stick forces.

So, if those regulations had not existed then MCAS would not have been needed and the planes may not have crashed.


Gotta love the uber-intellectual reply that any valid criticism of European regulation brings: "but WHATABOUT <this other unrelated case>"


Other commenters pointed out with far more eloquence, why your accusation of absolutism is a pretty cheap rethoric trick.

But here's something else to chew on:

European regulations often benefit me, the individual, instead of corporations.

It guarantees that I don't pay 6$ a minute for a phone call from Tallinn to Tulouse. It ensures that I'm not ripped off 30 Euros for making an intereuropean money transfer, it provides my airline with a pretty good motivation not to bump me for fun and profit and it seems to work a lot better in the food safety department.

Granted, not all regulation is good regulation, but overall it seems more beneficial to society at large than to some scummy ad-tech business specifically.

It's not unrelated, it demonstrates that while unregulated markets may be a nice idea in theory, they just don't work in practice. Not that an analogy were necessary. The unregulated ad industry itself shows that an unregulated ad industry is a bad idea.

Accusations of whataboutism are invalid when you are calling out related points or highlighting hypocrisy and double standards:


Some commentators have defended the usage of whataboutism and tu quoque in certain contexts. Whataboutism can provide necessary context into whether or not a particular line of critique is relevant or fair. For instance, in international relations, behavior that may be imperfect by international standards may be quite good for a given geopolitical neighborhood, and deserves to be recognized as such.

Christian Christensen, Professor of Journalism in Stockholm, argues that the accusation of whataboutism is itself a form of tu quoque fallacy, as it dismisses criticisms of one's own behavior to focus instead on the actions of another, thus creating a double standard. Those who use whataboutism are not necessarily engaging in an empty or cynical deflection of responsibility: whataboutism can be a useful tool to expose contradictions, double standards, and hypocrisy.

Others have criticized the usage of accusations of whataboutism by American news outlets, arguing that the accusation whataboutism has been used to simply "deflect" criticisms of human rights abuses perpetrated by the United States or its allies. They argue that the usage of the term almost exclusively by American outlets is a double standard, and that moral accusations made by powerful countries are merely a pretext to punish their geopolitical rivals in the face of their own wrongdoing.

The scholars Kristen Ghodsee and Scott Sehon posit that mentioning the possible existence of victims of capitalism in popular discourse is often dismissed as 'whataboutism', which they describe as "a term implying that only atrocities perpetrated by communists merit attention." They also argue that such accusations of 'whataboutism' are invalid as the same arguments used against communism can also be used against capitalism.

> I hear that the european market for online advertising imploded


GDPR was supposed to kill surveillance adtech, and it is gradually doing its job. The regulators are not ignoring Google and friends and the enforcement actions will hurt them at some point.

Content filtering is draconian and fundamentally opposed to a free and open society.

Now, I'm not a supporter of current copyright laws as I think they are absolutely ridiculous as is, however, I disagree with your statement. It all depends on who is doing the filtering. Done correctly, content screening is a part of a free and open society. And with some care, sometimes it is required.

I am also going to assume that you are more referring to the entertainment industry than the "copyright industry" since the topic is content instead of, say, logos or toaster design.

If I had children, I'd really want age-appropriate filtering to be available and I understand someone wanting "wholesome" content for themselves. I simply don't want them choosing for me and I am not the one to choose for my spouse. In most cases, as long as I have control over what sorts of content filtering I'm good. I do think society should be free from rhetoric that puts others in danger (anti-vaxx) or that calls for dehumanizing or wiping out others or their religion in most cases (white supremacy, for example). I don't think we should be so open that our brains fall out, in other words.

But more to the point: All of that entertainment that was listed was made by someone. Likely many someones. So was the music people listen to in a store. And the art people look at in restaurants and people's homes.I completely understand people wanting to make money from their own work. When there is absolutely no screening, you get places that steal others work - music, art, entertainment, and so on - and make money from it. This might come in the form of making purses and coffee cups with art or someone getting taking your music and performing it for money. It is a real issue - and the "big industries" are not innocent of this. So yeah, if it is technologically possible for an entity to filter content based on these things, I can understand requiring it. Beethoven might not have been able to stop folks from memorising his music and playing it in a foreign land, but he would have had a chance with today's tech.

Content filtering itself isn't bad - and I post this on a site that filters content to a point - and it doesn't make the "copyright industry" bad. The copyright laws make the copyright stuff bad.

I would be cautious about defending those that have, from those that do not. The general public does not have the kinds of money and resources that the copyright lobby does.

For that is the first point to counter your argument: the copyright industry is not mainly looking out for artists, it is looking out for itself and its benefactors. Ask any musician what percentages of royalties they get from their song, it's a joke at this point. Live performances are the sustenance of musical artists today.

That is not to say that I don't defend the rights of artists to their work; I do. But that isn't what this battle is about, this is a battle against the same industry that finds it pertinent to send out mass blackmail letters to families, to single mothers, to depressed people. It is surely going to be one of those things that we look back on in decades to come and go "what the f--- were we thinking?"

Finally, you have to take a wider view in these matters than saying "there is some configuration of content filtering that I find acceptable," because once you have content filtering laws in place, people who you disagree with can co-opt this into a totalitarian state. You do not know who will have the keys to the kingdom come tomorrow.

Self hosted, federated alternative: funkwhale.audio

Is the theory that this will be more resistant to copyright takedowns (given the talk about "sharing music with friends") because takedowns will have to be issued to individual pods?

Does this pay artists? I can't find any mention of it on their website.

They claim to specialize in copyleft content, so almost certainly not. The cynic in me thinks that in practice it'll be a fancy frontend for everybody's BitTorrent downloads folder... with an archive.org downloader script for some plausible deniability.

While I don't think it's exclusively due to it, it is certainly a factor

A lot of independent artists supported art 13 though, let's see how they like this change

I think that's unlikely. If I am not mistaken, the EU directive will not be implemented for another two years.

Is there an advantage for Spotify to allow 2 more years of copyright-infringing uploads that they have to clean up later?

Is there another plausible reason for Spotify shutting down direct uploads that's unrelated to copyrights?

Remember what happened with GPDR.

There was also a two year period to adapt. Everyone scrambled to do it in last week, or last few days.

there could be plenty of reasons: it didn't bring them expected revenue, that team was allocated something with higher business priority while the feature itself required updates etc.

Part of the reason for the GDPR scramble is that it deferred specifics to each country's data regulator, and some of that guidance was still being issued shortly before the deadline.

> Is there another plausible reason for Spotify shutting down direct uploads that's unrelated to copyrights?

It's a service very few people use that costs them money to maintain and support. You already need to go through cdbaby and similar services for all other distributions and being just on spotify instead of all of them is not very appealing.

>It's a service very few people use that costs them money to maintain and support.

I'm not a Spotify expert so I'm not understanding why independents artist without labels "costs money to maintain support" that isn't already spent to enable the labels to upload their artists' songs.

Let's say a Universal Music Group[1] representative logs into Spotify's system to upload Justin Bieber's latest 4-minute song. (Spotify has spent money on their backend system to enable this upload workflow.)

Why does it cost more to Spotify to let the unknown-Joe-Blow-not-signed-to-a-label upload his 4-minute song?

[1] https://www.umusicpub.com/us/Artists.aspx

> Why does it cost more to Spotify to let the unknown-Joe-Blow-not-signed-to-a-label upload his 4-minute song?

Unless I'm mistaken, Spotify would get the new Bieber automagically via an ERN (Electronic Release Notification) delivery which contains asset links, artist, meta, rights information etc. Since that's from a trusted* source, it can be ingested as-is and everyone is happy. For independent uploads, there's almost certainly several steps of human review and possibly interaction - which costs money and time.

If that was the case they could have just passed some handling fees to the indie artists -that would still be much more reasonable than the fees that the artists would have to pay to a publisher. I think the record companies -still in the process of understanding and adjusting to the new business model that Spotify established- pushed for this, one way or the other, to ensure that Spotify doesn't become a competitor like Amazon became to book publishers.

Distributing your music isn't really financially burdensome as is. Most distributors cost in the range of $20-$30 per year. Some are even free.

> Why does it cost more to Spotify to let the unknown-Joe-Blow-not-signed-to-a-label upload his 4-minute song?

It all boils down to that Joe Blow is an unstrusted actor and big label is not. They needs to check that Joe Blow is not uploading Bieber's latest song as his own and that all the metadata is correct while they not need do that for most labels.

Your assumption that they go through the same work flow might be mistaken.

The same type of questioning applied to banks and transferring money:

Why would it cost a bank more money to print and mail checks to individual people when they already do balance transfer payments every night to other banks and branches?

"Very few people" used it because it was a beta service that was only ever available to a small number of artists.

Opening it up to everyone would have transformed the industry. Spotify could absolutely own the small artist space in the same way that Amazon owns the self-publishing space for unsigned authors, but it chooses not to for political reasons.

This has nothing to do with copyright issues. Spotify already has a copyright claim process and the major labels have their own copyright monitoring systems.

Yeah, as someone who has resisted paying for spotify, I was considering switching when they launched this service.

I make music as a hobby, and I only really use soundcloud as a result, since the barrier to entry to posting on spotify is annoying, and resultingly a pretty decent chunk of the pretty obscure stuff I like isn't on spotify, only soundcloud.

When I go to spotify right now it feels like this weird corporate arm of the archaic record industry that I view as more or less a parasite on musicians in this day and age. It lacks all of the weird community character and fluidity that I want out of a music platform, and I resist it for that reason.

Opening the gates would change the game and let it exist as a real creative community rather than just a soleless distribution platform for corporate artists and their masters.

Fraud[0] comes to mind. By requiring the artist to be signed with a label, Spotify can more easily police this kind of behavior.

[0] https://qz.com/1212330/a-bulgarian-scheme-scammed-spotify-fo...

Yeah, they could build an in house alternative to the YouTube algorithm to detect dupes/ infringing material.

Spotify please hire me so I can work on this, tack.

How would this benefit Spotify? The few people it would attract wouldn’t be worth the cost. According to other posters, it’s barely used.

Maybe it doesn't, but I was planning to use it soon!

I'll have to pay a small sum to do the same now, but that's not a big deal.

Unrelated question. As an indy artist, why use Spotify? More than likely people wouldn’t discover your music and you lose the direct relationship with your listeners. Isn’t it better for small artists to get “1000 True Fans” who would be willing to pay $x than to get a few more fans that would pay you indirectly $x/10000?

I don't actually care about the money. I have a full time job as a software engineer, this is more for me to have something to be proud of (performance at work, to me at least, isn't as important as leaving a tangible mark on someone, or brightening up people's evenings).

Spotify is the biggest music streaming platform, and having something I created, or played a part in creating, be on the platform, would be a personal accomplishment. It's just an item on my bucketlist, really. In a similar vein, I want to see somoene sing along to a song I write at a gig :)

Eventually the algorithm might even drop the songs in people's discovery queues, etc. But for fanbase interactions, I think local gigs + a Facebook page is the most important, to be honest. Then you tour and people should be able to discover you on their streaming platform of choice.

I haven't heard of 1000 True Fans, will look into what that is actually.

How can they possibly know whether the artist licensed their samples? Or whether the artist is paying the original artist royalties for the use of their music?

I was more thinking a sort of hash value for the song, to prevent reuploads. Sample detection would be hard, considering sample pack reuse would have to be dealt with!

Youtube is built around letting random individuals upload their videos, it makes a lot of sense for them to implement clever automated filters, contentID etc... And even then it doesn't seem to work that well since I very often see videos popping up of Youtubers complaining about abusive demonetization and false-positive flagging.

On the other hand I strongly suspect that the overwhelming majority of the music streamed by Spotify comes from "the industry" instead of artists uploading their own songs themselves. Implementing complicated filters (and playing the arms race game against people trying to work around them) is probably not worth it for them.

> Spotify please hire me so I can work on this, tack.

I know some people who are working on something like that with the added benefit* of being on Ethereum if that interests you... :)

I'd definitely be keen to hear more about this at least!

I've been thinking about hash values for song sections, and then proving ownership by claiming a sequence of hashes. Could help ensure you aren't subconsciously ripping other music off, and make finding 'related' songs easy (covers, remixes, etc).

But changing some aspect would change the hash value

That, there, is the hard part of the problem. You can go with acoustic hashes (like Chromaprint[1]) but even that's not 100% reliable in the face of small changes.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AcoustID#Chromaprint

What is the project name?

> Is there another plausible reason for Spotify shutting down direct uploads that's unrelated to copyrights?

My immediate thought on reading the headline was that they didn't want to deal with a ton of individuals w.r.t. payouts and etc. Company to company transactions are always easier, so restrict it to labels.

Yes. To obtain tagged data to train models. Just like all big companies become leaders and push juridical boundaries.

You are mistaken, it's in effect today but EU members and businesses have UP TO two years to implement it.

Why would Spotify wait until they are sued to do something about it?

Two Years aren't exactly that much of an extension.

I doubt that's the case. From what I understand the beta was barely used by people enrolled in into it and Spotify has killed more popular things before.

I don't believe this is the issue here. If it would have been, they wouldn't hesitate to use this as a reason there and not go with this marketing bs.

With services like DistroKid (from F'd Company creator "Pud") I'm wondering how big of a deal this actually is?

The optics definitely are lousy.


100% agree. Distrokid makes it cheap and easy to get unto pretty much all the streaming services. (disclaimer: I am a customer in the musician with no label category)

This is most likely not related to the Article 13 (now called Article 17) as they are still most likely to be considered to be a UGC platform.

The directive [0] says:

"The services covered by this Directive are services, the main or one of the main purposes of which is to store and enable users to upload and share a large amount of copyright-protected content with the purpose of obtaining profit therefrom, either directly or indirectly, by organising it and promoting it in order to attract a larger audience, including by categorising it and using targeted promotion within it."

Considering that Spotify, Apple, Tidal, Pandora, ... get their catalogues from services like CD Baby or Tunecore, they are very likely to meet the condition above.

So my guess the shutdown will be related to some external pressure, from the major labels and/or the partners mentioned above.

[0] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0245-A...

The EU thing doesn't apply yet. More likely it goes against labels at a much deeper level: letting people succeed without labels.

I wouldn't be surprised if the labels didn't want to renew deals unless that avenue was cut off. That is much more concerning to them than a copyrighted upload avenue that they could DMCA away pretty easily.

This. All the major labels did not support spotify out of good will-- Spotify uses hollywood accounting to give the labels the spoils. Same exploitation of artists thats been going on for 100 years.

No it doesn't, Spotify provides line-level accounting for every stream to the rightsholders. What they then do to account to artists could be anything.

Doesn't matter. Do they provide line-level accounting for ad revenue? Do you know what percentage of TOTAL revenue gets paid to artists?

No because Spotify pay the rightsholders who may or may not be the artist.

You're missing the point. Let's say Spotify pays rightholders 20% of gross revenue for streaming. Then they take another 40% of the gross revenue and pay the major labels for advertising, marketing... whatever. That's hollywood accounting-- it's not streaming revenue so they don't have to report it. Ever notice the labels don't complain that the streaming rates are so notoriously low? Why don't BMG/UMG/WMG just band together and demand an increase in streaming revenue? Because they WANT to keep it low so they make the real money on non-streaming revenue that doesn't go to rightsholders. Maintaining control is the issue and that's why they forced Spotify to make people work through their "partners"

If this is the case, why would spotify not just outright say that? It seems it would calm a lot of the backlash, and artists would be more understanding.

This makes sense up to the point about 'the human version of the "contentid" algorithm'.

The record label arrangement makes the record labels the only valid source of original music.

The government issues copyrights. Looks like "human" governance needs to catch up, and issuing agencies need to provide "algorithmic" means to verify the copyright status of any content.

[without wasting too much energy ..]

If it is possible to generate music with machine learning, it should be possible to decompose a track for comparison with others, melody, arrangement etc.

The dynamics of this would be interesting, when uploading you will be told that your track is infringing, it is too similar to the following tracks by x, y and z :)

You can still upload content that infringes copyrights via various services, you can also register such content in "contentid". It is a more hassle than a direct upload but not too much and has been happening. E.g. an independent artist uploads his song to YouTube. A thief makes a copy and sends to Spotify etc and then requests take downs of original work.

I've seen plenty of copyright infringing content with videogame music. There's albums of songs claiming to be covers of games like Megaman X, but are actually direct rips of the soundtrack.

I routinely see major artists complaining on twitter that spotify allows people to upload their content directly and get paid.

While I think the GDPR plays into it, its really two birds with one stone in my mind.

Is "thanks GDPR" the new "thanks Obama"? This spamming of anti GDPR related stuff, without any evidence support quotes or anything the like is absolute disastrous.

Yes it's possible that Spotifys decision was influenced by GDPR, it's also possible that the decision was only done because of it.

But since Spotify hasn't said so, blindly assuming that GDPR is at fault is incredible dishonest.

Article 13 has nothing to do with GDPR except that it comes from approximately the same regulatory body.

Most likely explanation - nobody was using it. They only introduced it as a beta feature recently, and you have to use a distributor like CDBaby or distrokid to get your music onto other streaming sites anyway, so unless you were only interested in Spotify there was no point

That’s why I didn’t plan on using it for anything other than disposable demos or EP releases that would otherwise be Bandcamp exclusives. Uploading directly to Spotify wouldn’t break my dependency on Tunecore for the releases I care about.

+1. I'm a musician who has released albums and I'd never use something like this, because who wants to manage distribution for every platform?

DistroKid/CDBaby are a much better way to do this.

As a fellow artist I disagree :)

I’d totally use this. Spotify and Apple Music are 99% of my plays. The other services don’t matter.

(Youtube and Soundcloud are uploaded separate from Distrokid / CD Baby.)

As someone who helped an artist get their stuff onto spotify a couple years ago and has started writing music I was pretty confused by the headline, I didn't even know this feature existed (otherwise I might have actually used it.)

It's a shame it disappeared before I even heard about it.

Even when the humans that run these distribution broker companies have the best of intentions, economic pressures create risk over the long run that the broker will act in ways which its artist customers do not like.

This really seems like a place for a member-controlled cooperative.

This sort of addresses a number of disparate issues related to quality control. I don't know how I feel about it, but they probably had to do it to prevent becoming the next YouTube. As long as they don't allow user ratings or user comments they should be fine.




El-P has also raised similar issues:

"What I mean is I regularly have to send take down notices not only for people using my name for their music and it appearing on my artist page but for people uploading my albums to their page and assumedly having my money diverted to them until we catch it."


> As long as they don't allow user ratings or user comments they should be fine.

I will however pay extra for blocklists. If they let me block an artist, oh man. That would be the best money spent.

I recently started seeing songs that had 9 famous artists in the artist field, some of which were artists I follow so the song appeared in my recommended playlists.

Soundrop and Amuse.io are 2 free alternatives that distribute to a range of platforms. And this is a pretty comprehensive and objective overview of them all: https://aristake.com/post/cd-baby-tunecore-ditto-mondotunes-...

I've used Amuse for two tracks (easily findable if you like minimalist dark ambient noisescapes) and ... it's fiddly (lots of form fields and you need your tracks in Dropbox/iCloud) but , barring an approval snafu for track 2 which got sorted out after I bitched at them on Twitter and their insanely long 30 day release window, it's working ok.

There are always the distribution broker services (DistroKid, CDBaby, TuneCore...) but they can go bad.

I've contemplated 1) writing some open source quality control software for scanning music distribution uploads, and 2) forming a collective (probably 501(c)(3) charity non-profit) which would serve in the distribution broker role and redistribute income.

I wonder if such things could ever come to pass. Any thoughts?

What problem are you trying to solve?

The unreliability of distribution brokers as artist allies.

Where has this come up? Not all distributors work direct with artists. Bandcamp is proprietary, for profit and seems to have strong artist allies.

TuneCore changing its pricing structure a number of years ago is probably the classic example.

An artist can jump ship to another distribution broker, but there are a lot of downsides such as losing play counts and breaking links.

Can any of the distribution brokers be trusted to act in an artist's interest indefinitely? There's just an inherent problem with that.

If you retain your ISRCs and UPCs when moving from one distributor to another, links and stream counts will remain as is.

Surely that's an issue solved by the market, if there is a distributor that is reliable & fairly priced then people will move to use and stay with them. I think the current issue is that a lot of the big name distributors are marketers first, distributors second.

Since when are non-profits not part of the market?

No commercial distributor can hold out forever against the temptation expanding into marketing. That's as hopeless as wishing that ISPs would stay as dumb pipes.

There should be more competition: a non-profit which offers fewer features but which you aren't constantly wondering when it will flip and screw you over, versus more featureful and slicker commercial competition.

They're not, but I don't see how it being non-profit would make a difference to the problems you're suggesting. You can be for-profit and still have a sustainable, fair and innovative model.

By marketing I mean marketing themselves as a service, not marketing the music they handle.

> a sustainable, fair and innovative model

Until ownership or management changes. Or has a change of heart. Or gets squeezed by an aggressive competitor.

Long term relationships with companies are fraught. Establishing vendor lockin followed by exploitation is a proven-successful business stratagem.

Once it becomes expensive for customers to leave a service, it is perpetually tempting to dial up the cost of the service until just below the point where customers bolt. The more painful you can make it to leave, the more you can wring from them.

Even if the company you're doing business with isn't exploiting you today, you'd be well advised to check back tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that...

Or better, to avoid forming such long term relationships with entities that are perpetually at risk of going bad.

I worked in the music industry for 6 years. There are so many people in that space who want to do the right thing, who attempt to do something "sustainable, fair and innovative" — yet the marketplace sadly and stubbornly resists their efforts, corrupting them or crushing them. Where are all the benevolent record labels that ought to exist, by your logic?

By having this entity be a member-governed cooperative, you take on a different set of problems. (I've served on the board of a large 501(c)(3) so I'm well acquainted with the frustrations.) But at least you avoid the terrible misalignment of incentives that comes from relying on a profit-driven middleman over the long term.

A lot of the new players (~past decade) are VC funded and/or starting off in a highly saturated market, needing to landgrab as many artists & labels as possible to establish themselves. So they end up prioritising marketing their service via slick onboarding, PR campaigns, unsustainable offers (see Stem) and cash advances. A couple years down the line they usually fall short of their core model or pivot, as you say, dialling up the cost of the service.

Always enjoy seeing services tout the 'keep 100% of your royalties' when they pipe everything through a third party like CI who take a percentage upfront.

Yes I've seen a handful of services across the years with the "sustainable, fair and innovative" USP, often run by volunteers and withering out after a short time. I'm not too sure on the potential of these as they end up being top heavy, with more artists and labels onboard than paying customers / fans. The only people that seem to have got this balance right is Bandcamp, at the cost of 15% of your revenue.

I've dealt with a distributor who have been around for decades (physical & digital) and sit under the radar, not focussed on growth, soley relying on word of mouth referrals with high profile, revenue generating clients for years. They're not the cheapest on %age, but are reliable, transparent and are well respected for the curation of clients (no open door policy) so as with everything - you get what you pay for. So they do exist, but you won't hear them shouting their own name.

As for labels, I know of plenty who offer a fair deal for artists who end up staying with them in the long term. It's just the bad apples, usually the majors, who have the leverage to offer unscrupulous deals which all comes out in the press when the artists realise how bad the deal was years down the line and they're contracted in for another 10 years.

I’m not familiar with the process, but could there also have been a fraud aspect (not copyright) to this that wasn’t worth the effort required to prevent? Upload “songs”, generate lots of listens, get paid.

Yes, I hope so, because fraud is a huge issue with Spotify.

An older acquaintance of mine is a professional musician living in Nashville doing commissions.

He made a track for a trailer of a video game, but chose not to publish it on Spotify (for reasons I don't know). One of the fans ripped the song from the trailer, uploaded it to Spotify, and was collecting all the royalties.

Even though Spotify keeps taking it down, someone else uploads it again, ad nauseam.

Yeah, the uploading of copyright infringing content is one aspect, but I was also wondering about just uploading rubbish and somehow generating fake listens or tricking real users into listening to your track (game the ranking algorithms to get it into recommended playlists) to get royalties.

Something like the Amazon ebook scams:



Sounds fair. He didn't want the money of Spotify's customers so someone else took it.

I don't think fraud is so big an issue as artist name duplication. I've had to report a number of tracks on my release radar from artists that have the same name as artists I listen to regularly but clearly are not the same, checking out the label/artist only leads to a bandcamp or Facebook page and it was clearly uploaded by an independent artist who hasn't done their due diligence on their naming.

Nothing wrong with it, just lack of foresight on the uploaders' part.

Google did the same a couple of months back[1].

Is there a reason these companies are actively against independent artists being able to upload the music directly?


These companies are not against independent artists. The big rights holders are.

Allowing artists to upload directly is a legal clusterfuck of minefields and business risks (pardon the language):

- what happens when an artist who is signed with Warner Music starts uploading their music directly?

- what happens when the Big Three start viewing Spotify (or Google, or anyone, really) as their competitor in music distribution?

Somehow almost literally no one focuses on how Warner, Sony, and Universal have a death grip on both artists and distribution companies. But everyone is willing to vilify Spotify.

If you did the first thing, you’d be stupid, and in breach of your contract, just as if you shared it elsewhere. And it’d get taken down pretty quickly, algorithmically or not.

Ah, herein lies the devil in the details. The contracts may or may not specify worldwide distribution rights, may concern distribution rights in some countries only, may or may not leave leeway for the artist to distribute their own stuff etc. etc. etc.

It's a legal minefield, and the big three love it.

The contracts are long but clear (I’m on Universal).

Yet somehow music distribution ends up being controlled by different companies in different countries for quite a lot of music. Especially for older music.

Perhaps pressure from record labels? I hope artists can flock to somewhere like Bandcamp, or alternatives.

This is pretty much the default answer to all such questions, unless directly proven to be otherwise.

The last thing they would want is for Spotify, or anyone else, to effectively become a record label in their own right.

Plenty of companies will mass upload your music to all of the streaming sites for like $20-30/year which sounds pretty cheap compared to the old days of needing a record label to do anything other than play in bars. Those companies aren't considered record labels, they are distributors which is almost what Spotify is doing. Some of those distributors offer engineering and marketing services too but it still doesn't make them record labels. There are so many record labels out there that there really isn't an issue with another smaller one popping up.

I'm sure they're fine with the small fish. But with Spotify, Apple, and others who might have the financial muscles to become a threat if given the chance? I'm not so sure.

I worked at Spotify and I am very close with several folks there who worked on this initiative. This is almost certainly the fault of the labels.

Could you elaborate a bit? Do you think it's because of copyright issues, or because labels don't want Spotify to become a popular distributor that publishes exclusively to itself?

I doubt copyright issues had an impact here. There is always a much larger perspective the labels have over the industry than what we can talk about here.

Ultimately, it is about control. Every decision from the ads you hear to the choice of music you get in your Discover Weekly playlists (or any made by Spotify) come from the influence of label control over the company (and industry). Songs that appear or can be heard near or in sequence of each other to an end user are not really that random.

We as consumers forget that the entirety of Spotify is a heavily curated experience. This includes the features available to us on various devices which directly impact how and what (pod casts) we can listen to and when (free tier on mobile)

It's unfortunate that the influence is becoming more and more apparent. Stories like this make me wonder what's to become of Spotify in the future. https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8517869/when-you...

I've always thought Spotify could be the Steam of music: To bring artists and listeners together, but I now believe Bandcamps done more in that regard and Spotify might end up being a data harvesting tool for the labels.

Record labels are like bad unions and want a closed shop.

Wasn't Spotify just complaining that Apple's App Store policies hurts consumers? The shoe seems to be on the other foot now. This policy hurts both independent artists and consumers. Not to mention this policy stems from unnecessary government regulations that benefit only large players in the music industry.

Is this just a way to outsource quality control. Making sure meta data was correct, accurate, etc.

If others are looking to move away from Spotify, here is a comparison of what streaming services pay artists per stream.


New mafia is merging with the old mafia... "Wonderful" end to dreams about technology enabling better world...

If, for once, you can get of all the middlemen it allows you to create your own.

Why do you guys speculate what the reasons are instead of just asking Spotify?

I guess that means we cant upload tool anymore under other names

Really wish Spotify did the Google Play Music thing of letting you upload a few thousand songs to fill in the gaps in their library.

From what I can tell, they sorta do - they let you add songs on your device, but I haven't been able to find them in my app sooo :|

The way they impliment it is pretty bad. Basically you have to add a local music folder on your PC, then you have to use the search tool to find it (on PC) and add it to a playlist. Then you have to go onto your mobile while on the same network as the PC, and download the playlist.

Spotify doesn't store your song at all on their servers (unlike google) and if you want to re-download the files on a new device, the original pc that had it has to still be there or else you have to redo the whole thing.

It's clumsy but you can see why Spotify don't want anything to do with handling uploaded music on their servers. I wonder how Google treats it from a legal/copyright perspective. I suspect they are just too big to care.

Artists uploading directly would threaten the monopoly major labels have on distribution relationships.

Too bad... That's one of the things I liked about Spotify

It gave opportunity for small artists to share their talent

To be clear, this is not Spotify blocking small artists without a label getting on Spotify. This is about bands not being able to upload directly, requiring them to use any of the cheaply available distributors instead. This is mostly likely an anti-fraud / anti-copyright infringement / QA move.

There are still several services that "automagically" publish your music to several platforms at once.

Some are pretty affordable, like DITTOMUSIC


Thank you.

Any good alternatives?

Distrokid - https://distrokid.com

Have used it for over a year, works well, simple upload process, gets out to all the stores quickly, and annual fees are very reasonable.

And distrokid.com, not affiliated.

That's OK, they don't pay the small artists more than a pittance anyway. I canceled my subscription a while ago and started pirating music again. When I want to support a small artist, I buy their music on Bandcamp.

Why did you go back to pirating, instead of paying for albums? Could it be that you were only willing to give a pittance to begin with?

In the Spotify payment model, some artists make non-trivial amounts of money, and most make effectively no money. The listener doesn't choose which artists fall into which category.

I prefer to choose. If some artists that I listen to will be paid out of my $10/month contribution, I'd rather control that distribution of my $10 directly.

Spotify and the like generate pennies for artists because the record compnies part own it and have price fixed it to hell and back. The only significant profit comes from touring and merch sales. As a starving artist, pirate my shit, see my show. Nobody cares about plays except for getting distribution deals.

Why don't your support big artists as well?

I don't listen to them that much, and they don't need my support.

This is what happens when you rent your music.

I'm glad I never had a Spotify account. I always either buy CDs from shows or get them off Bandcamp. I prefer Bandcamp because they take a smaller cut (15%, as low as 10% if you have a label which high volume) and really hate it when an artist I like only has the option of Apple/Google/Amazon (all which take ~30% or more).

I just went from a 200GB microsd card to a 512gb, and can carry all my music in my phone, ready for offline playback, where ever I go.

A streaming service is _not_ just a collection of your favourite songs. Content discovery and auto-playlist are some of the not so easily irreplaceable featured offered by the likes of Spotify.

And anyway, the diss about ownership Vs rental is far too broad a swipe for the topic at hand.

I agree with you. I did Spotify for some months and one of the reasons I quit is because I noticed I had stopped listening to music that was not on Spotify. Which is unnacceptable, of course.

Since then I had the music on an SD on my phone. But I'm afraid of losing it and losing all my music, also don't want to have to manually backup the music.

Now I have a Raspberry Pi as a Music Server and it works flawlessly :)

(One SD Cards with the system and music and another one as an automatic system backup so I don't lose any music and can just swap the cards if one fails)

I love all kinds of music and it'd be unrealistic for me to have it all purchased. I listen to easily 20 artists in a day, and those rotate very quickly.

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