I am happy to report that I was one of those eager early adopters who camped outside my computer waiting for Spotify to launch in the U.S. After requesting my “invitation”, I waited a few days to no avail until ASCAP came to the rescue offering a free subscription for its members. Finally I was ready to see what all the fuss was about!
I was not disappointed. I eagerly typed in the name of every band and artist that came to my mind in a stream of consciousness as my whole life flashed in front of me- Madonna, Stravinsky, Steve Reich, Craig Armstrong, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Prince, The Dandy Warhols, Michael Giachinno, The Swingle Singers, Billy Joel, etc. – it was all there, instantly. And unlike iTunes, it was all free. As advertised on their website, it was truly “a magical version of ITunes where you’ve already bought every song in the world.”
Within minutes I easily put together a playlist and shared it on Facebook. That’s when it dawned on me how revolutionary this is- access any song ever recorded, for free, and share instantly. What’s not to like? Aside from personal gratification, I suspect this will be a technology that we can put to use to quickly and easily share recordings with our composers, colleagues and perhaps even with our clients as well.
I am also heartened by the fact that Spotify has taken the high road and sought out licenses with all three U.S. performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI & SESAC) instead of trying to skirt their legal obligations like some other Internet streaming services. This assures that composers and publishers will be duly paid for their performances on this rapidly growing platform. Just maybe there is hope for the music industry after all. Maybe technology companies and content creators can find some common ground. Heck, if democrats and republicans can work things out and manage to save us from fiscal default, anything is possible.