Music Industry

Is Spotify Making Us Boring? Some People Think So

With technology developing so quickly and more apps and services becoming available, it appears we have a limitless opportunity to discover new music outside of the current top hits. Even with rise in vinyl sales, how the majority of the population consumes music today is very different than even just 20 years ago, let alone 50 or 100 years ago.

In his article for Salon, Scott Timberg bemoans this fact:

“Many younger music lovers have almost no experience with record stores, with independent radio stations, with music coverage in their local paper that ranges outside mega-selling acts. But, the cyber utopians tell us, the explosion of the web, of steaming services that include almost every song ever recorded, lead to all kinds of niche-listening, all kinds of previously overlooked types of music to thrive”.

Timberg notes an essay from the Financial Times that points out that the reality of the internet has allowed the mega-popstars to thrive even more and has not been as helpful for lesser-known musicians. Ludovic Hunter-Tilney comments:

“Today’s A-List stars hoover up attention with the assiduity that their 1970s predecessors reserved for cocaine. In 2013, the top one per cent of artists accounted for over three-quarters of all revenue from recorded music sales. In that year 20 per cent of songs on Spotify had never been streamed”.

With statistics laid out, it’s difficult to really argue that the digital revolution has not been quite as helpful to small time, niche musicians as expected. It has certainly been a good thing for those who work at Spotify and superstar musicians.

Yet, with the popularity of apps like Spotify still being fairly recent, I’m not quite ready to pan them just yet. Perhaps we just need a bit more time with these apps and we’ll start to discover new artists again. Or maybe Timberg and Hunter-Tilney are correct and streaming services are making us boring.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

3 thoughts on “Is Spotify Making Us Boring? Some People Think So

  • Hi Nerhys

    I enjoyed your article and agree. Services like Spotify exist so that already-huge pop stars and big banks can make more money to the detriment of everyone else. Smaller artists get lost, and we’re left in a pretty bland world.

    I’m an musician/writer/producer, and years ago I had a streaming vision for how services can work to build a better world for artists & music lovers alike. Fast-forward many years of difficult grind, and we’ve brought our initial service to market. Currently in testing through the summer as we build toward launch this fall, our service helps you discover incredible underground/indie artists. Our radically rethought financial & licensing model is ALREADY PAYING ARTISTS more than they have ever received from all other streaming services combined, EVER. (No, this is sadly not a joke.)

    Would love to get your feedback & send you an invite to join our new music club.

    Shoot me an email to say hi and I’ll share the secret password with you.

    Hope you enjoy the jams!


    • Thank you!
      I will definitely check this out.

  • Somewhat on the flip of this, I joined Spotify to be less boring. As a 40 something who stopped listening to radio when I sold my car in 2005, in realised that I had lost any connection with new music. Spotify’s discovery feature has helped me find music I wouldn’t have previously heard. Perhaps it’s not the medium but the general aspects of audience that drive the popular vs.alternative divide.


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