Why we’re cancelling Spotify…

After a family discussion yesterday, we all decided to cancel the family plan for Spotify. The Neil Young / Joe Rogan thing wasn’t the reason, but it was the event that kicked off the discussion and made it easier to say goodbye to a service we’ve used together and enjoyed for years.

  • We didn’t cancel Spotify because they carry Rogan. Any platform that carries podcasts without hand-selecting the podcasts is going to be full of podcasts we probably don’t agree with. The fact that Spotify sought out and paid a premium for an exclusive with Rogan, though, is explicitly Spotify saying “yep, we’re happy to endorse this.”
  • The emphasis on podcasts had made Spotify a worse service. I’ve used Spotify since Rdio folded, so about six years and change. For someone who uses Spotify for music and music discovery, Spotify has gotten objectively worse since the company started chasing Podcasts. I don’t use Spotify because “I’d really like something making background noise,” I use it because I want to listen to music I like and discover new music I might like. I’m fed up with getting podcasts shoved in my face by the app.
  • Use my money wisely or lose it. Spotify’s investment in Rogan over, say, choosing to invest $100m in music is an example of a company that is happy to abandon the customers that built it in pursuit of a new market. OK, they can do that, but I’ll put my money into a service that gives me what I want instead of half-assing what I’m paying for to try to embiggen next quarter’s bottom line.

Really, the Rogan thing just bubbled to the surface some other annoyances I already had with Spotify as a service anyway. They clearly care more about chasing the cheaper content than providing the music I care about.

I also find it annoying that Spotify is channeling huge dollars towards a single entity while it is simultaneously so stingy with the artists that got it this far. Lots of words have already been written about how little artists get each time their music is streamed, but I find it personally offensive that Spotify thinks Rogan is worth a $100m deal but the musicians who put it on the map are only worth pennies.

So, doing the math: Spotify has made their platform worse for my use case, wants to spend more money making the platform worse for my use case, some of that is my money, and the thing Spotify is trying to make “better” objectively makes society worse.

Given that equation, Neil Young decided to subtract his music and I’m deciding to subtract my money. Will it make any difference to Spotify? Maybe. Will it make a difference for me? A tiny one, yes. When the next payment rolls around I’ll have an extra $16 or so to spend on Bandcamp or something and I won’t be spending it with Spotify.

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