Spotify: your new favorite thing

Jonathan Popham

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Reviewing results from World Beard and Mustache Championships, I can’t help but wonder why I wasn’t gifted with such talents. Instead of combing one of those monsters I was stuck on this Earth as a columnist. What horseshit.
In more perfect (read: bearded) world, I’d make an unspeakable amount of money as a screenwriter for some show starring Danny DeVito as Danny DeVito. It would involve us riding around some beat-up car with a trunk full of things that would make Hunter S. Thompson blush. Sadly, we don’t live in that dream world. The universe is indifferent. Reality is harsh. Sometimes.
Here is a dream of mine: I want to be able to listen to any song, any time, legally. Well, Listen Up Nerds– Spotify is on patrol.
This service is new to the United States. At this point in time, the free version of Spotify is invitation only. Alternatively, you can pay  $5 USD per month to listen to practically any song ever recorded. Apps are available for both smartphones and desktops. The potential is unlimited. I’m sure both of my regular readers will remember my rants about the downfall of the music industry.  Without tools like music forums or a cultured peer group, it is hard to discover new music. Spotify changes that. I hope that the rest of the industry rips-off its business model.
While I am promoting a for-profit organization, I have not washed away my stripes. I am saying that if you are in the music industry a tool like this is indisposible. Mark my words, things like this will become the next medium for music. It isn’t that my heart belongs to Spotify, anyone anywhere could make something like this– they just haven’t. The way that Netflix changed film distribution is tantamount to the way Spotify will change music distribution.
It is part of a bigger step away from the label. Some artists have always self-produced their albums; Tech N9ne is a great example of that.  He has been in the music industry since 1996 and he has sold about a million records with no radio play. I’m not knocking that. I don’t think that Spotify should just replace record companies; however, I think that our generation does not need them. I doubt would-be giants like Virgin and Sony BMG will step aside. Indie distributors might just pass through their legs. With the right legal wrangling, free-play music services could totally take over music and video playback. We all want to hear great music and there are plenty of very talented people making it. The only question is how their wonderful sounds will arrive to our wonderful ears.
While this isn’t an ideal world, we can change it. Consumers drive the market. People like you and I, are the market. Every time you give someone money  you are telling them, “I want more of this, and I am giving you this to make it”. Virgin, Capitol Records, MCA, or whomever you want to name, did not create the music industry. They are just brainy capitalists who saw an opening and built an industry in it. Spotify is in that position now. If there is no money to be made with Spotify or something like it, then it will die on its own. This democracy is run by money– every dollar is a vote cast.

*Interact with your favorite columnist! For much of its history, The Cluster has had a pretty passive relationship with its readers. Sure, when something big happens on campus, we get tons of emails from you (and we love that, trust us), but Popham Culture wants to expand that very special reader-writer relationship into something beautiful and cuddly, but most definitely still PG-rated. So that’s why I and entertainment editor Eric Brown are asking for suggestions on what this column should cover. The first ten responses recieve invites to Spotify, so email us. Right now. Go.

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