Spotify wrapped daniel ek

Littering social media with your Spotify Wrapped lists only makes corporate creeps richer

“While artists are reduced to licking their lips in anticipation of corporate gruel — the average payment from Spotify is $0.004 per play — smug CEO Daniel Ek slashed 17% of Spotify staff three weeks before Xmas to increase profits.”

Okay, would you humps stop littering your Spotify Wrapped lists all over the internet — just stop it! 

Thanks to Spotify, it’s gotten even harder for indie musicians to promote self-released records and for established indie labels to continue, while true musical icons of yesteryear get cut off at the knees. While artists are reduced to licking their lips in anticipation of corporate gruel (the average payment from Spotify is $0.004 per play), smug Spotify CEO Daniel Ek slashed 17% of his staff to increase profits — the music industry Grinch had 1,500 employees cleaning out their desks three weeks before Xmas. But (ahem) he thanks you for all of the free Spotify ads he got from you sharing your fuggin Wrapped list. Spotify pays peanuts to artists who slavishly self-release, self-promote, master, record etc, and then the artists are expected to give a reach-around to the ogres that hold the keys to a smidgen of recognition — and hell, they’re the only game in town. 

I don’t want to come across as a Napster-soured Lars Ulrich here — streaming is obviously the only way to get your music heard. While physical sales have increased over the past decade, things are finally starting to get a bit limp in that department. As you may notice in my Best Albums list of 2023 in this ish, I definitely favour vinyl as a format for listening to music — I am also old AF and have been buying records for the past 40 years and just prefer the sound by a large margin. Although I am a Luddite, I obviously stream music on a nightly basis (but not Spotify!) as a way of discovering new music, but I am just more invested in a deep listen when that needle is digging into that vinyl groove. Very romantic, huh?

But the trend of vinyl trainspotting fiends may have peaked. Not long ago, when younger peeps wanted to support a band financially, they played their record on their demonic Crosby turntables. Now they’ve moving on to streaming media into earbuds. The fact is that vinyl is holding on for now, but will it be around after I and people of my generation take our well deserved dirt nap? Nah. While the myopic, bald and bearded wage war over the record bins, elbow to elbow, the kids just want the tunes, maaaaan, and they want ’em now!!! Too bad, because artists actually make a half decent royalty rate from physical product. And that’s not to mention that the artwork is more immersive due to the fact that it’s bigger than a thumbnail, while the ritual of placing a tactile object on a turntable just sucks a listener into every nuance, note, breath and heft that I have yet to receive from O’s and 1’s.

I am well aware that most of you reading this think I’m just screaming at clouds, and maybe I am, as there are now audiophile streaming platforms that will go toe to toe with vinyl playback (minus surface noise and mono subbed bass) but I can’t help but think if we all just strolled over to a far more artist-friendly site like Bandcamp (which I love) and actually purchase a direct download for the price of a pint, we at the very least will help the next generation of songwriters and artists survive the soulless corporate shit storm generated by fucks like Mr. Ek.

Current Obsession: Neu!, Neu! 2

This article was originally published in the Dec. 2023 issue of Cult MTL.

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.