Could two multi-million dollar lawsuits be the downfall of one of music’s most popular streaming services? Earlier this year, two class-actions were brought against streaming giant Spotify by musicians David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick. The plaintiffs allege that Spotify knowingly distributes copyrighted material without obtaining the proper licenses. So what do these suits mean for musicians and the industry as a whole? We discuss with lead plaintiff Melissa Ferrick, lawyers Howell O’Rear and Chris Castle, and musician and music lawyer Christiane Kinney.
Subscribers pay about $10 a month for most streaming services — with that kind of cash, shouldn’t musicians be making more from these platforms? For their short history, music streaming services have operated by putting all of their subscription revenue into one big pool. The pool is then divided by the total number of plays — this is called the pro rata method. Some people believe that this system is ripping customers off. Why shouldn’t your money go directly to the artists you’re listening to rather than into the big pool? Today on The Future of What, we talk to two of the people championing a new way of streaming called subscriber share, Sharky Laguana and Dick Huey. We also talk with Tim Quirk, formerly of Google Play, who argues against subscriber share.
On the front page of Pandora’s website, there’s a statement that says “It’s a new kind of radio — stations that play only music you like.” How can it be that Pandora knows what you’ll enjoy? Isn’t liking music purely up to personal taste? Pandora, like many other digital music platforms, uses a complex algorithm to predict what their listeners want to hear. Other services employ human beings to curate their music discovery systems. So who’s the more effective tastemaker? Man, or machine? On today’s episode we tackle this question with writer and consultant Jim McDermott, then talk to two people who get paid to listen to music all day: New Music Scout and Artist Relations Manager for Marmoset Brandon Day and Rumblefish’s Senior Music Supervisor William Nix.