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Spotify: Ikea for the ears

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Spotify went online in Germany ten years ago. The streaming service and data collector haven’t changed pop music, but the way we listen to it.

Good face, good business: Superstars like Ed Sheeran are the big beneficiaries of Spotify’s success. This is where the artist and streaming service celebrate Sheeran’s latest album last November in New York City. © 2021 Theo Wargo/​Getty Images/​Getty Images

There is little to complain about in the recording industry at the moment. Already in 2015, a change in trend began, and sales have increased since then, for the first time since 2001, when illegal file sharing plunged the business into a deep crisis. For Germany, the Federal Association of the Music Industry even reported at the beginning of March: ten percent growth in 2021, finally a double-digit result again, for the first time since 1991. Around two billion were spent euros in music in Germany. transmission is responsible for 68 percent of sales, even if you don’t include the influence of YouTube and TikTok image channels. At three per cent, downloads fall below the parliamentary hurdle, at six per cent, vinyl records have once again reached a critical mass of collectors, and CDs remain more popular than expected at 16 per cent. . But streaming will continue to grow. In the US, it already generates 80 percent of sales.

The dominant streaming audio provider and driver of this growth has been in the German market for ten years: Spotify. All the remaining major labels are involved in the streaming service, which is one of the reasons Universal, Sony and Warner also most of the success of Spotify. The distribution of their profits favors the ruling elite, with listeners always paying for Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Adele, Billie Eilish and the Beatles, even if they don’t listen to anything of the sort.

Even for the artists and bands who play a league between these absolute superstars, conditions in the age of streaming have worsened: big things money only the great ones do. Concentration is a general phenomenon on the internet because Google’s algorithm likes those pages that many others have already liked. In 2008, even then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt denied that the vast diversity of economic players would come online. Today we live with the consequences, a tendency to monopoly.

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