PODCAST — Spotify: A Social Media Platform?

Spotify is one of the leading music streaming services worldwide, becoming today’s industry tastemaker. Our podcast delves into how Spotify has kept its acclaim by adapting its interface to reflect its social media counterparts and how this phenomenon has led to the corporatization of music streaming.

In an attempt to take a social media sabbatical in the middle of my unmitigated college crisis, I found myself mindlessly wandering around my phone to appease my restless, screen-starved fingers. At some point, I turned to a music streaming service — Spotify — for my sole source of entertainment. Though I had already been an avid user of this app, I had never used it as much as I have during this period of my life. Amid trying to navigate the seemingly incessant demands of my day to day, I have resorted to my most precious escape: music. And, it happens to be that my main source of music is Spotify.

In the process of trying to release myself from the confines of social media in an attempt to decrease my phone usage, I have begun to rely on this app for most of my online activity. However, in the pursuit of trying to diminish my social media presence, I had realized that I actually began using Spotify as my main platform for socializing online. Though I initially found this to be a harmless alternative, I began to notice that the uncanny elements of social media have bled through Spotify’s interface.

Though these features may have their many affordances, they also have their constraints. I do appreciate and utilize many of the features available on Spotify, including the ability to create collaborative playlists, to see friend listening activity, and to listen to music together with others using the Group Session Beta feature. However, these features have their own limitations, especially because they are part of a much bigger problem.

Is Spotify turning into a social media platform? And, what are the socio-cultural implications of how Spotify has begun to adapt its interface to cater to a wider audience?

In our podcast episode, my friend and fellow Spotify-connoisseur, Cyril, joins me in a conversation about Spotify’s rise to popularity and how it is becoming more corporatized in the age of social media. We discuss Spotify’s monopoly on the music streaming industry and how it has become essentially the industry tastemaker for most music-lovers. Due to Spotify’s popularity and acclaim, it has influenced not only the way we share music but it has informed the state of pop culture and the music industry at large.

The podcast delves deeper into Spotify’s economic value and its responsibility to pay artists fairly. According to Forbes, “[Spotify] is worth about $200 per share, or roughly $36 billion, which translates into about 5.5x projected 2018 sales.” The huge valuation of Spotify indicates that the company’s revenue has continued to skyrocket over the last few years, making Spotify the biggest streaming platform for music today. However, despite this heightened revenue from streams, many artists on Spotify still do not get fairly compensated. In fact, Spotify pays artists as little as $.0033 per stream. Business Insider calculates this to be about a dollar per 250 streams.

Find out more by listening to our podcast above or on Soundcloud.

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