Yes artists are right to be concerned.
However, it is clear that Spotify, although imperfect, is the general direction forward for all digital creative content including books, TV shows, art, movies and music.
It just needs some tweaking.
Here’s what I’m thinking:
• The Internet has changed the way people consume media.
• Consumers are watching less free to air TV and downloading more than ever.
• The resistance to the digital revolution is not coming from consumers but from already established big business unwilling to change their bloated ways, and to a lesser extent individuals who are concerned the changes will not bring the level playing field they are hoping for.
• Advertisers seem to be an important element in keeping digital media affordable and sustainable.
• Consumers are generally willing to pay something small if most of it goes directly to the artists. Or pay attention to a sponsor if the sponsor is supporting the artists.
• Advertisers are developing new ways to reach consumers, like product placement, interactivity and sponsorship. Brand loyalty stems from positive emotional connections.
• Consumers pay more positive attention to Sponsors than random advertisers.
• Independent artists connect with consumers on multiple streams, and at more personal levels, thanks to the Internet.
• Consumers have less disposable money, as the cost of living increases faster than income.
• Consumers have a greater appetite for digital media, ironically inversely proportionate to the sliding level of gross national happiness, or gross global happiness.
• In a world full of financial imbalance, the archaic business model of one person or entity diverting a disproportionate amount of funds from the masses is common.
• Thanks to the Internet people have the ability to organize grass roots community based business models of fair trade for all individuals.
If the creative community doesn’t like the Spotify model, it is up to us to develop a better solution.
The digital revolution is happening whether we contribute to its direction, or not.
What would the world be like if people had steered the industrial revolution away from wood pulp and fossil fuels, and instead towards hemp, bamboo and renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal and wave?
Let’s steer this digital media ship in a good direction, one that works for all people, not just an elite few.