A Tale of Two Ecosystems

Music streaming has been on my mind lately, with the current shutdown of live concerts. I recently came across this excellent NPR article, A Tale of Two Ecosystems, by Damon Krukowski, profiling Spotify and Bandcamp. The article explains the two companies opposing mindsets when it comes to distributing music online.

According to Daniel Ek, CEO and co-founder of Spotify:

Spotify is focused on “capturing the share of time listeners spend elsewhere.”

They want as many ears as possible on their service, as often as possible. Clearly the incredibly low fees that Spotify pays out per stream are calculated with this guiding principle in mind. So where are the artists in that dynamic?

Whereas Bandcamp CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond characterizes Bandcamp like this:

And if you start with this idea that music is healing, that is obviously a power that should be in the hands of everybody who has the talent to wield it. … And so that’s what Bandcamp is. That’s what I feel like we’re here to build – that system. And the way you do that is by ensuring that artists are compensated fairly and transparently for their work. And that is through the direct support of their fans.

Until streaming companies like Spotify (YouTube is another negative player in this game) decide to fairly compensate musicians for the content that makes their businesses possible, my time and dollars will continue to be spent on Bandcamp.