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The Student News Site of Briar Woods High School

Falcon Flyer

The Student News Site of Briar Woods High School

Falcon Flyer

Is Spotify Scamming Us?

The music industry’s biggest streaming service: Worth it or not?
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Music is an integral part of most people’s lives, especially teenagers, and Spotify is one of the main online music streaming services, if not the largest with almost 30% of all online streaming coming from the platform, according to Forbes. Launched 16 years ago, the service has come far with new additions for listeners. However, many of the new features that have been added along the way arguably make the app worse, rather than improving it. Most of these complaints are towards the mobile version of Spotify.

The Spotify app, available on iPhone with iOS 14 or above, and an Android above OS 5.0, has limited non-premium users to six song skips an hour. Not allowing users to find the perfect song for them: with the inability to rewind or repeat a song, and a constant shuffling feature that often plays a song not chosen. Up to four ads will also be put between every few songs, and most recently, a limit was placed on the account of songs users can see lyrics for. While people often gravitate towards Spotify because of exclusive features such as Spotify Wrapped, playlist blends, and a sleek interface, many feel the cons are starting to outweigh the pros.

Jana Yi, a Briar Woods freshman, who used to use Spotify before switching out said, ”It was honestly awful compared to other things, like the app became borderline annoying to simply use.” 

The web browser version of Spotify does not have any of these features aside from the ad breaks between songs. Spotify premium, which stands at $11.99 monthly, has none of these limitations.

Spotify can be seen under-compensating any user who decides to go without spending in hopes they will eventually switch over to a paid plan. By implementing many of these features on mobile, where over half of the apps users come from, this plan works extremely well. 

Kaitlin Puffenburger, a Briar Woods student who actively uses free spotify says “Spotify on browsers is 100% better [than mobile] but it really just isn’t convenient at all because of how often I’m on my phone and not my computer.”

Even though the app is somewhat unusable in an attempt to grab and make as much money as possible, which does in fact work, Spotify still pays actual artists on the platform less than usual, at about $0.0033 per stream. Unlike Spotify, another major streaming service, Apple Music, pays about $0.01.  For 1 million streams, it would be the difference between $3,300 and $10,000. The money also usually goes to the artist label, not themselves, so artists again receive a smaller fraction of the original money.

It is important to take into account the fact that spotify does offer a free service, while Apple music is strictly pay to use at $11.99 for an individual plan. But even so, Spotify still takes almost 14.3 billion dollars of revenue a year and Apple Music takes about 8.3 billion. The massive difference unfortunately fits the shoe.

From disruptive interfaces for those unwilling to push out 12 dollars, and to the billions in revenue made from online music streaming yearly, there has to be some form of weighing out user satisfaction and fair pay with profits to at least maintain a leading position. Broken drawbacks can be fine to many if it means without a cost, but for those who go for a more premium option it is important to keep in mind that when buying into major companies, today or in the future, that the money is taken for a good use, and given to the people that make the actual music listened to.

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Quinn Wierzbicki, Reporter
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