Spotify CEO - “the cost of creating content” is “close to zero”


We already know that most of the music released daily is just a bunch of zeros and ones in the World Wide Web right now and your song is somewhere locked away in a database of a streaming company. After the comments of Spotify's CEO on how making “content” costs zero money you have to wonder, why are we talking about music as content? Well because it is.

Today, with the cost of creating content being close to zero, people can share an incredible amount of content. This has sparked my curiosity about the concept of long shelf life versus short shelf life. While much of what we see and hear quickly becomes obsolete, there are timeless ideas or even pieces of music that can remain relevant for decades or even centuries. For example, we’re witnessing a resurgence of Stoicism, with many of Marcus Aurelius’s insights still resonating thousands of years later. This makes me wonder: what are the most unintuitive, yet enduring ideas that aren’t frequently discussed today but might have a long shelf life? Also, what are we creating now that will still be valued and discussed hundreds or thousands of years from today? - Daniel Elk via Twitter

People release so much music yet if someone asks how one could listen to one song they get a link. A link pointing to a streaming service paying zero dollars to the creator, and that’s because Spotify decided that if your release has below 1K streams can not be monetized. This kind of thinking is what makes music nowadays feel like content in a platform. Worth nothing, since no one is paying for it and probably if you don’t have money for ads, no one is listening to it.

This is exactly why we created Indiefferential, we spent endless hours trying to reach magazines, radio stations and media outlets but almost no one answered. Not even to reach out, listen to our songs and tell us they suck or whatever. This is why we try to introduce artists via a physical magazine to the audience, not just a link. A link helps, but there is so much more to music than just a digital product.

Here are some bullets on why "making music" actually costs a lot.

  • Songwriting: unpaid, so many hours of your spare time making music
  • Marketing: unpaid, those ads cost money
  • Production/Design: unpaid, you have to pay a fellow artist to do those
  • Equipment: unpaid, instruments

By the way, Spotify is increasing the Premium prices.

Statement: As we continue to grow our platform, we are updating our Premium prices so that we can keep innovating in changing market conditions. These updates will help us continue delivering value to fans.

Do you only exist as an artist as long as the Internet exists? Is your worth equalized by your followers or likes? Well if that’s not the case you should probably start releasing music in physical form as well.

Physical releases have a different charm that could really create real fans. I still remember every single one of the CDs I bought at live shows. Every single indie, metalcore and heavy metal band. I have the album to remind me I was there. I also remember my first ACDC album, the first time I entered the Hard Rock realm. You should be able to create similar experiences to your listeners, and not just provide a link. 

Don’t get us wrong, Spotify and Apple music really made music accessible worldwide, but every good thing has a dark side as well. The dark side of the streaming services is that everything digital can be lost in a second. Digital ownership is also a hot topic right now with gaming platforms stating that you don’t really own the games you bought through them. They are in digital form, so they can easily disappear from your library.

What about this in music terms? Do you own your music on Spotify’s database? What if one day Spotify stops working? Can I listen to your music then?