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Some Spotify critics need a history lesson

This post was originally published on the Mumubl.com Newsletter. For updates and recommendations direct to your inbox don’t forget to subscribe.

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It’s editorial time on the Mumubl.com newsletter as it finally drops into your inbox again with my thoughts on the goings on in the music industry.

I’m aware there’s some irony in calling out people’s takes on the industry whilst offering your own but I do feel some of the debate is being missed by people and it needs realigning in some eyes. Maybe I’m wrong, either way do feel free to tell me!

If anyone is playing Music League keep an eye on the social media and the next newsletter as I’m hoping to get around to setting up an open league to join in with and there should also be a new little game arriving on the site as well in the coming weeks.

I always enjoy the feedback I get from anyone – on any aspect of the content produced at Mumubl.com so please don’t hesitate to get in touch – and of course spread the word – as Grant Nicholas sang on Feeder’s “Echo Park” album “tell all your friends”.

Thanks as always


[main image : Photo by Héctor Achautla on Unsplash]

Currently checking out – “I wonder if the world knows?” by The K’s

I don’t spend as much time as I used to on social media, I tend to dip in and out. It was interesting though to recently note author Chuck Wendig’s thoughts about the still fresh(ish) new comer “Threads” containing a lot of nonsense that is pushed hard by the algorithm, or as he puts it “bizarre opinions and worse, absolutely batfuck advice”. Now he may be talking about publishing but my view of music on the site has been equally similar, it’s full of a lot of terrible takes on things. Don’t believe me? How about former Billboard editorial director Bill Werde

“I’m just out here fact checking the entirety of MusicBusiness on this app. So many awful, incorrect takes, so little time. I’m looking for anyone you follow on here who shares smart, factually accurate insights and analysis on the music industry. Anyone come to mind?”


For some reason for me the algorithm seems to have taken hold of the topic of music streaming, fair enough I guess. But it continues to serve me people loudly decrying Spotify and quitting the service with great aplomb and alongside that some terrible takes on the music industry. I’m not sure though how many of these are born out of lack of knowledge rather than bat shit wrongheadedness. One that has stuck with me was a reply to one of these many “threads” (is what we call them or posts, not tweets I guess) that laid out the streaming economy as, and I paraphrase as it’s from memory “it’s like having a restaurant and someone coming in and offering to sell food but at a fraction of the cost and give you 10% of what you used to earn in return”.

Which lots of people liked, “yeah, it’s just like that”, “fuck spotify stealing all this money” was the kind of response. Yet it misses a vital part of the puzzle, if you want to liken it to someone selling food in your restaurant you need to be honest about where your restaurant was to start with, because if it’s anything like the pre Spotify music era then your restaurant was losing money hand over fist and people were just coming in through the back and taking the food out of your fridge and walking off without paying.

If we got rid of streaming services today what would replace them would not be a utopia of record shops and band camp sales with everyone buying albums by your favourite indie band. It would be music piracy, it would be illegal downloading, plain and simple. Before music streaming arrived music industry revenues were down worldwide, the rise didn’t just coincidentally happen when Spotify launched. It stopped piracy in it’s tracks and has kept a lid on it ever since. Yes there has been a rise in physical formats and live revenues in recent years and some of that would remain – much as it did when piracy was rife – but at the moment music streaming makes up somewhere north of 80% of music industry revenue in the US, around 70% world wide (https://explodingtopics.com/blog/music-streaming-stats)

That doesn’t mean to say we can’t demand better of streaming services, that they shouldn’t to continue to evolve to better serve both artists and users. But I feel it’s often lost in the conversation just what streaming has done for the music industry and lets not forget if Lucian Grainge can walk away with €139 million for the year then there is surely more to the puzzle than demonising one particular streaming service – but that along with recent payout changes and the like are for an entire other blog post.

This post was originally published on the Mumubl.com Newsletter. For updates and recommendations direct to your inbox don’t forget to subscribe.

Subscribe to the Mumubl.com Newsletter

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