Updated: May 1st 2020 3:50pm: After some research (prompted by Ariana Giroux on Fosstodon who commented to say that Spotify pays artists royalites) it has been corrected that Spotify doesn’t actually pay per-play (or per-stream) and that they pay recording and publishing royalties based on a number of factors.
Spotify is convenient as you can easily open it up and play whatever music they have available (there are certain artists you can’t play as Digital Trends and Billboard have reported) and not have to worry about paying for each song that you play. Spotify has published said they pay recording and publishing royalties, and the exact amount is based on a number of factors, and they don’t in fact pay per-play or per-stream. This is posted on their Spotify for artists site. Once you stop paying for a certain music streaming service you tend to lose access to everything, but some music streaming services like Spotify have a free version (both How-To Geek and MoneySavingExpert) list a number of free music streaming sites). A number of the streaming services have automated playlists which is a great positive as you may listen to artists you haven’t listened to before. So the positive is that it’s one price and you can get access to so much music with automated playlists, but the negative is that the artists don’t get paid well, and once you stop paying you lose access.
Local music files are also nice to have, they can have much higher quality which really allows you to hear more in the song (see Wikipedia for a comparison between other music formats), and you only have to pay once then you get to keep it (you can store the files anywhere, unlike music streaming services where you have to keep paying to access the music). Artists do get a bit more when you do this, around 6% of the sales according to bandzoogle, and BBC says 13% which isn’t much but it’s more than a stream from a music streaming service. Yes that music does take up space on your hard drive but the prices of hard drives have gone down over the years (as Backblaze, notebooks.com, and Matt Komorowski have all noted. The big positive of local music is what happens if your internet stops working, and you don’t have a data plan that allows you to stream all the music you want, you may laugh at this but the internet does go down and there are many places in the world where unlimited data simply won’t happen. The positive is that it can be higher quality music and that you can keep the music and put it anywhere you want (as long as it doesn’t violate any laws) and artists get paid more, but the negative is that you have to pay for each and every song you want to hear, and you have to pay twice (once for the songs and again for more hard drives).
I have both Spotify and local music files for reasons described in here, I like the convenient and being able to listen to almost any song I want but when my internet goes down or I go somewhere where there isn’t wifi I can still use my local music files. Huge thanks to Jan-Lukas Else and Kev Quirk for their blog posts which inspired this post.
I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. I won’t be posting everyday but you can join in yourself by learning more and visiting https://100daystooffload.com/.