Does Spotify Turn Pandora into MySpace?

I have been an absolute lover and fan of Pandora Radio for years.  The music service is free, and you enter in an artist you like.   The artist may play, but as likely you will hear some other artist which people who liked the first artist are likely to also appreciate.  If you don't like a song, click thumbs down, and that gets factored into the future of your playlists on the station.

I love Neil Young, discover Greg Brown.  I find out that my dad's not just weird, that people who like Gordon Lightfoot also like Uncle John's Band by Grateful Dead (without liking other deadhead tunes quitesomuchthanks)... You can't choose what song to play next, but absent that choice it's like a radio station, background music.  I discovered some of my favorite songs during the past 5 years via Pandora.  Became a paid subscriber in January for my birthday present.

Now Spotify:  Similar to Pandora, but also like limewire or napster in it's display and order-by-artist-by-song selection, but legal and supported by ads.
(Note:  Recording Industry was a dumb idiot for not immediately embracing the technology and creating Columbia Record Club for big-value-teaser-downloads in the 1990s, the industry could have been Facebook now but chose to fight the last tape-recorder war over copyright.  ITunes finally kind of caught on but does kind of a lousy job in my opinion).
Love Spotify so far.  But would I have discovered MIA Paper Planes (a gem I discovered on Pandora) or Avalanches Frontier Psychiatrist (Boy Needs Therapy)?

(Note: savvy commenter already suggests

You do get derivative radio music via Spotify by hearing "deep tracks" of an artist, or by following other listener playlists.  A really good playlist becomes like the disc-jockey, with more authorship of taste than the statistical model Pandora appears to be.  Youtube offers the same "playlist" thing, but the advertising and quality of tracks are kind of unpredictable.

The ethics of music downloads, music access, copyrights, and profits are not dissimilar to the discussions of brands, counterfeiting, grey market, consumer rights, etc. in the "e-waste" or hardware field.

But if you are a true Ethics of Environment aficionado like myself, you will see enormous parallels.

The "Risks" of P2P File Sharing are less a risk you pose to an anonymous brown child.  But they are part of the dialogue.  And there is truth to them, just as there is an element of truth to bad informal recycling practices.  Or smoking pot.  Here is an official federal government "word of advice" about P2P Networks in general.

- Install Reputable Security Software
- Limit What You Share and How Often
- Talk to Your Family
- Understand File-Sharing Policies at Work

There is some faint rhythm of R2-Influenced Stakeholder Speak in the documents supporting and linking to the four commandments.

There are indeed risks.  There are also corporate amplifications of cognitive risks, negative advertising about the toxic risks of a recycling process when you have a corporate risk of grey markets.   The music industry really wants the risk  of me sharing my music for free to be a risk of jail.  In the future, if we all have a chip in our brains, we might receive a bill according to how many people listened to music we played at a party.  It's about the licensing of love... we are given something, something is promoted for us to love, and once we grow to love it, it's leveraged and licensed.   Kind of like church and government certification of marriage.  The risks of the marriage have to be brought to our attention, but the third parties who would govern our love don't have a very good reputation, historically.  The Priestatollahs have a way of dressing up to protect us from our sharing of music, our sharing of weed, our sharing of good-enough aftermarket surplus devices, and raising the bar constantly on value entering the public domain.

Who owns music I paid for?  Did I buy a piece of plastic, or the music, when I bought a record album for $14 in 1979?  Technology and internet have turned the bards of the street into billionaires.  They were also-rans for the social position of waste tosher and rag picker.   I see many social pariah jobs changing.

That's ultimately the problem with socialism and communism, the "authority" doesn't have balance from the corporations, and the social leverage of priests and pariahs is at some level a king-of-the-hill pissing match.  This is all a massive balancing act, and the ethics of the standards we set are leveraged by how we assume others will act given the same categorical imperative.   (I have recently written a blog on Immanuel Kant which is so obtuse and inside-baseball that I'm quite afraid to post it).

The musical selection above, Grateful Dead covering both Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy and the Beatles Hey Jude, found on youtube, is a window on Robin Ingenthron.   It's distinctly grateful dead, but its cover of other musicians works, and it was allowed to be freely cassette taped by the audience during the Dead Concert reign.   The Dead are Way More Popular than Metallica, the arch enemy of sharing and I will always click "dislike" on any Metallica tune I didn't pay for, so I won't hear it, just as they like.  They can sell their skittles elsewhere.  That's not a boycott of Metallica, or a law keeping other people from listening to them.  I just have a hunch the Grateful Dead will do better in the wiki-free-Market.

A digression about the growing popularity of South Korean trance rock bands awaits... I hear a buzz in the discos of Lima...

That's enough for now.  What I really like is how economics, attraction, social sharing, and ethics interact in the formation of policy.   A certain percentage of (non-readers generally) find it banal to connect ideas philosophically which are distinct.  A certain percentage don't understand the connections.  For me, I feel like digression is the difference between swimming in an ocean and swimming in a pool.   There is danger in the ocean, but it's also just a wild and wonderful experience that you don't find a the pool.  I like thinking in the ocean.

No comments: