Streaming Services Like Spotify and Pandora are Destroying Music

Categories: Sound Advice

picasso upside down.jpg
Picasso
Ok, I still have no idea what I'm looking at.

I think of how often I dislike the song or songs released by a band for radio airplay, but love the rest of the tracks that would now be thought of as disposable. To this day, I still can't stand "Superman" by R.E.M., but nearly every other song on Document is pure gold [EDIT: "Superman" actually appears on Life's Rich Pageant -- Thanks Tom Lampe]. I think of how many times a song that didn't excite me at first listen that ultimately became my favorite through play after play after play of the album. The fact that this doesn't happen often today with young music listeners is a great shame, because this is the reward of playing an album in its entirety - knowing what songs are coming, but not knowing how they will affect you in that moment.

It is a common refrain as it pertains to modern technology that everyone is constantly communicating, but nobody is really talking. Those who espouse it point out the superficiality of texts, quick e-mails, Facebook posts and 140-character messages are replacing actual, meaningful conversation. If you think about it, a corollary of this theorem applies to how many now consume music: They are listening to everything, but are they really hearing it?

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28 comments
DrSteve
DrSteve

I think that's what this dude, whoever he is, was saying - most people just use Spotify for playlists and random streaming, instead of as a resource for finding new bands.

TheBaron
TheBaron

I don't disagree. However, I'm an avid Spotify user and it gives me the opportunity to listen to infinitely much more music than I ever have before.  You aren't, of course, forced to create playlists or listen to handful of songs on 'shuffle'. When a new album is released, I can listen to it front to back, back to front if I like. Then if I so choose, I can pluck my favorite songs from that album and put onto a playlist of "Fave Tunes of 2013". It gives you more choices. 

Tom Lampe
Tom Lampe

Not a big fan of Creep, but the rest of OK computer is like a right-side up Picasso!

RFT Music
RFT Music

....In other words, apparently this is an even more divisive issue than I was aware.

RFT Music
RFT Music

From said letter: "Unfortunately as we evolve, due to downloading, into a strictly single based system, what is actually happening is that the decision of what to release often is in the hands of an A&R guy and not a real music lover. Those "other" songs I discovered will eventually not be recorded at all. We will be trending toward a system of spoon-feeding what may amount to a form of soylent green music-something that feeds the masses but denies that the variety that A&R people seldom connect with."

Erik Hahn
Erik Hahn

I think the problem is that it makes Pandora and the likes villans. Most major recording acts, with major labels, make pennies per album. They aren't the ones that are feeling this. The record companies are and they want to say how it's hurting their bottom line. They can kiss their bottom line as far as I am concerned. They are only interested in putting out the most generic, poppy bullshit and forcing it down peoples throats. Who cares if we hurt their bottom line. They've done nothing but ruin music for the past 40 years.

RFT Music
RFT Music

I just re-read this thing, in light of the apparent outrage, and I really think it isn't so bad, folks. I probably muddied the waters with the headline I slapped on there (I suppose "Destroying" is a bit sensational) but I still think Dave makes some fine points within.

Erik Hahn
Erik Hahn

I moved from Grooveshark as soon as the shit hit the fan with them. I just used them as an example. Honestly, I use Pandora primarily. Put in a good musician and good things usually happen.

RFT Music
RFT Music

And Shae Hileman: We still champion music here at RFT Music, but we have disagreements on the merits of the various methods through which that music is procured.

RFT Music
RFT Music

Erik Hahn: Actually, all other issues aside, from what I've read Grooveshark in particular is one of the worst offenders as far as not compensating artists for streams of their tracks is concerned. I'd switch to Spotify over that one if you are indeed interested in the compensation of artists (which you seem to be, since you said you purchase full albums of the stuff you hear sometimes).

Shae Hileman
Shae Hileman

Whatever. I just totally disagree with the point of view and don't understand why it was even written. Pretty negative article from a publishment that I always thought was pro music.

Erik Hahn
Erik Hahn

Personally I've discovered more from Pandora and Grooveshark and what not than the radio. I've also gone out and purchased music from the people I've found on those sites because I liked the one or two songs I heard. Pandora and the likes have done nothing but take away the ability for main stream music to take completely over. It's a way for the independant artist and the guys on indy labels to get some play time and to get more discovered. Article is just ridiculous and very pretentious.

Justin P.H. Dixon
Justin P.H. Dixon

If you got kicked out of my school, you must be a pretty cool guy. Or girl.

RFT Music
RFT Music

Shae Hileman Hipsters aren't real

RFT Music
RFT Music

I mighta gone to that school too for awhile, 'til they kicked me out. Who could remember?

Justin P.H. Dixon
Justin P.H. Dixon

I can only imagine you've had the pleasure of knowing me at some point in your life.

RFT Music
RFT Music

Well, I didn't write it, Justin P.H. Dixon. Haha. Also your school wasn't uphill from anywhere, ASK ME HOW I KNOW

Shae Hileman
Shae Hileman

More ways to discover and listen to music makes it less enjoyable? I've discovered countless new bands through services like Pandora. Not sure what the RFT is about anymore. Maybe I'm mot enough of a "hipster" to get it.

Justin P.H. Dixon
Justin P.H. Dixon

Darn kids today and their playlists. Back in my day, we listened to cassette tapes in our walkmans while we walked to school uphill both ways in the snow. What I'm saying is that you sound like a pretentious old bastard.

RFT Music
RFT Music

We have an article somewhere in our archives that takes on the monetary issues as well, but I cannot find it at the moment. I think the primary point of this article is that albums should be taken in as an entire work, rather than piecemeal through playlists and streaming radio stations. Which I agree with. If you are the type of person who uses these streaming services to listen to full albums, kudos to you -- no problem then! But is that the norm?

Daniel Kelley
Daniel Kelley

This is one of the most pretentious and misguided things I've read in a while. Also, if you're such a fan of "Document", wouldn't you know which songs are on it?

Tom Eaton
Tom Eaton

I'm overwhelmed by the irony of a blog published by a newspaper about the internet destroying music. If you want to get down to it, music is really "meant" to be listened to live, not recorded at all. You don't get to tell anyone how to enjoy music. RFT, you can (and should) be better than this.

Mikey Wehling
Mikey Wehling

Yes Travis Bursik the crime here is really the money, or lack there of.

Travis Bursik
Travis Bursik

If this article was written from the angle of how Spotify and Pandora pay bands fractions of cents for each play, then I'd have been on board. Instead it sounds like grumbling about how the kids are doing it wrong.

Tom Lampe
Tom Lampe

Superman is not on Document. It is on Life's Rich Pageant.

walkermichael667
walkermichael667

@DrSteve  I get what he's saying, but what can you do? Some people prefer to listen entire albums, and some people would rather create a playlist on their own. Some people can do both. Nothing's wrong with that, it's just a matter of perspective. Anyway, if you're into streaming music and creating playlists, I recommend trying music.torchbrowser.com. It's a new cool site.

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