Spotify spoils the customers but starves the artists
There aren't many people out to knock Spotify, the desktop and mobile application that lets you create playlists from tens of thousands of songs for free. And once you've had a sniff of Spotify Premium, which allows you to listen to music uninterrupted by advertising and also save your music offline, you fall in love with the damned thing.
That said, there are continued grumblings from the people producing the stuff going in your ears. The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, which represents 2,000 songwriters, has described Spotify's payments as "tiny" and wants the company to release more information about how their music is earning money. The problem is that without any details, songwriters can't tell whether they're earning next to nothing because nobody is listening to their music, the royalty payments are miniscule, or whether Spotify is even generating enough revenue to pay.
Spotify certainly seems to be making a reasonable amount of cash; last month they announced the service had 300,000 Spotify Premium customers paying £10 per month; it also attracts a sizable amount of advertising revenue, and the record labels themselves own a percentage of the company. That said, Spotify plans to launch in the US this year, which will require no small amount of funding to do successfully.
While acknowledging there's plenty of music out there that'd see you fill your ears with cement, Basca chairman Patrick Rackow made the reasonably fair point: "It's hard to say that anyone has a right to make a living out of writing songs but if you write songs that people actually want to hear then I think that does give you some sort of right to get some remuneration back."