The problem that I have is that it's not clear to me why you shouldn't look at it by comparing it to CD sales. The goal of Spotify isn't to capture all the pirates and leave the rest of the public paying for their music -- it's to replace other forms of music consumption.
In one sense you could compare Spotify to radio and say that it's no different to that. But it is different. On radio, I can't select any song I want to listen to. On radio, I have to listen to what's on a playlist someone else has created (often in a manner that avoids repeating a particular song). Radio doesn't replace the needs to buy a song in order to listen to it repeatedly. Spotify does. And if it's going to do that, I think it behooves them to pay more to artists (or to place some kind of restriction on the number of times a song can be played).
How much do you pay for Spotify a month? $5 or $10? Or free, in which case how much does Spotify get for an ad impression, and how many ad impressions do you get served in a month?
Now, how many songs listens do you get in a month? Assuming Spotify takes absolutely $0 for themselves, how much money can that possibly be?
Now, what in your opinion is a "fair" amount to pay artists for a listen to their song? Multiply that by the number of songs that you listen to. Would you pay that for a service?
I'm guessing that I play a few thousand Spotify songs a month (I don't know where that statistic would be). I pay Spotify $5 a month. If I only listen to 1,000 songs, that's $0.005 per listen. And that's assuming that Spotify passes EVERYTHING along to the musician (how to studio techs get paid again?)
If people won't pay the "fair" price for music to listen to it, then the price isn't fair. It's a consumer's market. It sucks that the musician got $16 for 90,000 listens. That's $0.00017 per listen. That's clearly not enough for that artist to live on, but there's no mention of how many sales they received from their attention on Spotify.
It's a complex problem. There's probably no simple solution that will satisfy everyone. Clearly, the main people who are making money with Spotify is Spotify themselves (since they minimize the amount of bandwidth by using P2P technology)...but even if they passed more along, it wouldn't make the artists happy.
The last time I was discussing this (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3047694) I was downvoted because I linked to the famous infographic which appears to demonstrate that Spotify might not earn artists much money. Supposedly, it's incorrect because it was based on data after Spotify had 'recently launched' (the data in the infographic was from 2010).
This tweet is from about 2 weeks ago. Can we now say it doesn't help artists?
(I'm an Australian lawyer and will use 'trade mark' as my preferred spelling.)
The headline of this link is misleading. An action doesn't 'violate a trade mark'. An action can infringe the rights that a trade mark owner has (the scope of those rights will be dependent on the location in which the right has been granted and where the action takes place). In common law countries, trade mark rights can refer to statutory rights (which are granted in accordance with a piece of legislation and typically require registration with a government office) and common law rights.
This document is Adobe's guidelines for use of its trade marks. Adobe is saying that, if you follow the guidelines in these documents, then you can be sure that you have not infringed any of Adobe's rights in its trade marks (or at least that Adobe won't sue you alleging that you have).
Whether a failure to follow these guidelines constitutes trade mark infringement is a separate matter. Generally speaking, a trade mark owner has the right to use a trade mark exclusively in the course of trade in respect of a class of products. What does it mean to use a trade mark in the course of trade? This means, for instance, using a particular word or phrase to identify your product. Consumers will then use your trade mark to identify your product in the course of trade (eg. 'Could I please buy a copy of Photoshop?'). An obvious rationale for trade mark rights is to protect consumers from unscrupulous merchants who might call their product Photoshop in order to take advantage of the goodwill Adobe has built up in its product.
However, not every use of a term is in the course of trade. It is not in the course of trade for me to write a Wikipedia article about Photoshop. I would argue it is also not in the course of trade to use photoshop as a verb to refer to the act of digital manipulating an image (such as by using the Photoshop product).
Why does Adobe want to prevent people from doing this? As others have pointed out, if a trade mark falls into common usage, a trade mark owner can lose the ability to register it as a trade mark (trade marks are usually registered for a period of time and must be renewed after that period) and so lose, at the very least, the statutory rights associated with that registration. This then enables competitors to use that term in their products. Good examples of trade marks that have fallen into common usage are elevator, xerox and hoover. Obviously Adobe spends a great deal of money developing and marketing the Photoshop brand. They do not want to see it become a generic term that competitors can use.
That said, usually both trade mark owners and their competitors have little interest in a term becoming generic. You don't see Microsoft going around saying that you should 'google' something. While a trade mark falling into common usage can be a bad thing from an intellectual property perspective, it can of course be a good thing from a marketing perspective. This is why the only people like to cause a trade mark to fall into common usage is the general public (and possibly journalists). So, people like Adobe pay lawyers to draft up these kind of documents to help make sure that doesn't happen.
While I practice law, I must give one of those annoying disclaimers that are part of the reason people hate us: I am not your lawyer and the above should not be treated as legal advice. If you are concerned as to whether you are infringing a trade mark, I recommend speaking to a lawyer in your local area.
I think that, while nerds are used to mentioning others via @, regular people are used to putting @ in email addresses. Frankly, I find this change frustrating (for the reason that " is not the opposite of -) but I don't believe regular people are going to have any more difficulty with +Adam than they did with @Adam.
Amazon is just about to start encouraging people to buy Android applications for the Amazon App Store that presumably wouldn't work on a webOS tablet. If Amazon are in the running, it can only be for the patent portfolio.
If Google were to clamp down on Android, why wouldn't Amazon just continue developing their Android fork? Seems like it would be a lot more effort to get webOS to where they need it to be.
That infographic is just wrong, I wish people could stop linking to it all the time.
The data it is based on is some small numbers from the first months after Spotify launched, before the revenue strems had actually started. No hard numbers are released, but it is generally acknowledged in Sweden that Spotify is now the largest online income for artists.
Sorry about that, Expressen is one of Sweden's two main tabloids. Here's a rough translation:
Lady Gaga had the most popular song on Spotify, with one million listens. Now she gets her money from STIM [Sweden's collecting agency for artists etc]: 1,150 SEK ($170 USD).
Lady Gaga's "Poker face" was the most popular song on Spotify during the music service's first five months, according to the first payment of STIM money made on behalf of Spotify, according to STIM's own paper "Stim-nytt". The song was played one million times - which yields 2,300 SEK ($340 USD) that Lady Gaga and songwriter partner Redone share.
Dogge [Swedish artist] upset
Rapper and songwriter Dogge Doggelito is upset when he hears the sum. - It's sick. We musicians have no rights, you don't get paid any more. Lady Gaga would have made more money driving an unlicensed cab one night at [known place in Stockholm].
"Better than file sharing"
Artist and songwriter Alexander Bard [another Swedish artist] doesn't want to comment on the sum without knowning how Lady Gaga's contract with her label looks, but says: - 2,300 is more than zero which she would have gotten from Pirate Bay. It's better than file sharing, says Alexander Bard.
Both Alexander Bard and Dogge Doggelito believe that Spotify and similar services are the future.
- These are teething troubles. I hope that we creators one day in the future will be paid reasonably and fairly, says Dogge Doggelito. "Stim-nytt" compares the sum to if "Poker face" had been played in the radio show "Sommar" that averages a million listeners. Then the STIM payment would have been only 100 SEK ($15 USD).
Sorry, why is radio a relevant comparison? When I listen to the radio, I listen to songs that are selected by the radio station. I don't get to play any song I want as often as I want. The correct comparison is not with radio but with an mp3 download. Radio didn't stop people needing to buy an album/single if they wanted to listen to a song. Spotify does.
(I also note that the amount referred to in this article is the amount given to songwriters. Not all musicians are songwriters.)
It's relevant since with both radio and streamed services the artist (or mostly the artist's label...) gets paid every time the song is listened to. With an MP3 you only count the number of downloads, not the number of times it's played.
This means that with downloads you get a rather crude measure of a song's popularity - you count the number of listeners instead of how often the song is actually played. It also means that a popular song will never stop being a source of income with a streaming service, as opposed to downloads where every user pays for the song only once.
About the privilege of selecting songs, according to the numbers in the article you pay 23 times (or maybe 12 times, it's a bit unclear) as much for being able to do so than you do if someone else selects the song for you.
Also, unless I'm mistaken it's the recoding's copyright owner - the label in most cases - that gets paid, and they in turn pay the artist. According to that other infographic, the artist gets about 15% of the amount the label gets.
That data is also skewed. Notice they say "album - $10, song on amazon - $.99" thats wrong. An album may actually be say 10 songs. So 10 songs at $9.99 == 10 songs on amazon at $0.99 -- OPSE miscalculation there.
Furthermore there is the complication of "likelihood of sale". If I self-promote a CD, I may not sell my needed quota of 143 albums per month. In fact for an unknown the best chance to earn cash is playing at a bar. Streaming provides a longer-term ROI AND simultaneously possibility of having "pirates" actually buy your work, which equals profit.
Furthermore new free model for spotify = less chance that an artist will get many plays as you can't listen to that song over and over.
So I got downvoted based on a comment that alleged the data in the graphic was wrong but provided no data to demonstrate that? The link later on the thread that does include some data shows that the songwriter (not artist) earns $0.00017 per listen.
Can someone explain how this makes the data in the infographic grossly wrong?
The data linked later on in the thread is the exact data used for the infographic, and it was just tabloid make-belive news. The reason why the numbers are wrong is that Spotify had recently launched at this point, and had essentially no real revenue stream yet (almost everybody on the free model, not a lot of ads yet).
It has been reported later on that the amount of money paid out has increased substantially, but no hard data is given since that seems to be considered a trade secret.
Yes, let's blame the people that are trying to solve illegal file-sharing issues. Spotify is competing with free and they offer such a great service that people are willing to pay 10 euros a month for a subscription. Most of my friends use more money on music streaming services now than they ever did back when they where buying cd's, and these are people who have been "pirates" for the last 10 years or so.
I hope programmers are so sanguine when their work is "correctly" priced into oblivion. I do think that subscription services are the wave of the future but I don't see how you can argue that Spotify helps artists.
I hear programmers constantly lamenting outsourcing, undercutting by cheap contractors on Elance, cheap & shoddy work done by consulting companies etc. Your iPhone analogy is poor because what Spotify is doing is displacing an existing, profitable product with an unprofitable (for the artist) product. Maybe it's inevitable but it's churlish to so smugly call it "correct".
I remain skeptical that programmers will be so happy to see their livelihood "disrupted" when and if it happens to the extent it's happened to artists.
And we want to prevent that. Just because it benefits ONE guy or one small group, does not mean its a good idea. It just means that one guy will suffer and have to actually work for a living while the rest of us have a chance.
That does not make it the correct price. The correct price pays back the production cost (including paying for the time and creativity of the artist in making up the song) and adds some profit. Get that from volume or high price but low price is not correct price.
> using whatever definition of "undistorted" you like
My definition includes the absence of violence, threats of violence, or dishonesty.
If the only reason people aren't using BitTorrent downloads is threats of violence (which is what threats of internet disconnection are, albeit at several levels removed), then it isn't a free/undistorted market.
Unless you want to see the product disappear from the market, the "correct" price must also compensate the production costs and provide for a little profit for the author. Thanks to digital piracy the price many customers are willing to pay falls far short of that mark. If stealing physical goods was as easy as stealing digital goods you'd see the "correct" price of a car far fall below what it costs to make it too.
Except I have a plethora of buying cars and plenty of dealers willing to take my money. In the digital space a considerable amount of piracy is due to no legally available outlet for purchase of digital goods in a manner commiserate with what users want. Look at the success of iTunes and spotify as filling consumer needs. Besides if the price consumers are willing to pay for your product does not cover its production costs then you have no market (i.e. product)
Hell, HackerNews leaves a cookie on your computer after you log out with some opaque blob holding who-knows-what. Users like to complain about cookies when you bring them up, but generally can't seem to bother. Including the two of us.
While they seem to be going to great pains to be genuine and upfront about what they're doing, why does Netflix need to create a separate company in order to innovate? Apple doesn't have a separate Mac and iPhone business and they seem to innovate just fine.
What really seems to be going on is that Netflix is getting ready to spin off its DVD business. That this seems so obvious makes the repeated apologies feel like an insult to our intelligence.
As Reed says, the streaming business is global, but the DVD business is US-only. Maintaining code that services functions that apply in some locales but not others will slow down Netflix's ability to innovate.
Again, Apple runs businesses (eg. Macs) that operate in some jurisdictions that their other businesses (eg. iTunes) do not. You don't need a structural separation to 'innovate', you need a structural separation to ease a sale of a business.
^^ This is why Netflix is fubar'd. Totally internally looking -- not giving a shit what it means for their customers.
Yeah, we all love paying two bills each month, having to search for content two places, having our ratings queues forked and kept out of sync. Thanks, we're all so glad to hear that it's easier for you.
We'll make it even easier: find new customers. We're gone.
I might agree with you if Netflix ran their DVD business in a few other countries. That is not the case however. The DVD business is still profitable. Reed said it's unlikely he'll sell it for a long time.