Monday, August 19, 2013

Spotify and My Embryonic Opinion

The evidence suggests I'm
still in process, darn it all.
So here's the part where I eat my words.

A few weeks ago, I posted what I now understand to be a goofy,  superficial, and needlessly brittle opinion about the music streaming service called Spotify. Shortly thereafter, some of the wisest friends I have suggested that I rethink my position.

Spotify, I was reminded, is a market-driven and very popular resource for listeners as well as artists. Listeners enjoy the benefits of a cost-free music streaming service, and artists enjoy broad exposure to those listeners.

My Libertarian friend pointed out that Spotify is the future. Freed of government censorship, freed of the constraints of Madison Avenue, Spotify is something like the Wild West of music. Wide open spaces. The blue yonder.  I didn't argue--she is way, way smarter than me. Cuter too, so I listened attentively.

And she's right. Spotify probably is the future. It disregards social constructs. It carries a world is flat, long-tailed purple cow sensibility that will endure.

I had hoped by age 48 I would know better than to run my mouth without fully thinking through my ideas.

No such luck though. Apparently, I haven't arrived yet. The work of growing into thoughtful consideration remains yet before me.

I intend to persist in this growth. And while that's happening, I will create a suitable Spotify playlist to enjoy.

(Reminder: I do not know Chely Wright personally or know anyone who knows her personally. The musings in this blog are mine only and represent no one else. I promise.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hee Haw Salutes...Latvia!

Population 2,070,371
Evidently, Chely Wright has at least a handful of fans in Latvia.

The "analytics" thing that Google sends me indicates that about twenty separate Latvians are checking my blog regularly. I understand that I could be misreading or misunderstanding the report, but the twenty separate individuals part is pretty clear.

Interestingly, this blog's readership in several parts of Eastern Europe has increased in tandem with Russia's unlawful treatment of their LGBT citizens. Perhaps there is a connection. Perhaps I am imagining things--remember, an "increase" for my hapless blog involves modest numbers indeed. (ie, 20 Latvians is about 0.00001% of the total population.)

I'm not sure what this means. I have to wonder, though, if Chely Wright's documentary Wish Me Away has managed to find it's way east of the Baltic Sea. Perhaps the film is inspiring and comforting those whose basic rights are being legislated away. Stranger things have happened.

And P.S. Here is one group's effort to change the situation in Russia. The link will take you to the White House's website: Use diplomatic pressure on Russia to change their laws against their LGBT Community.

**If you don't quite understand the "SAAAA-LUTE" reference, please read here and here. If you do understand this reference, you must be pickin' and grinnin'. (wink)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Well, Spotify, this is embarrassing.

Oops. For a musician to earn minimum wage from Spotify,
they need 130,745 plays per day.
(Reminder: I do not know Chely Wright personally or know anyone who knows her personally. The musings in this blog are mine only and represent no one else. I promise.)

NOTE: Since posting this piece, my opinion has evolved. I no longer agree with what I wrote in the following paragraphs. Spotify, I now understand, is a market-driven and very popular resource. I regret that I so strongly stated a very embryonic and uninformed opinion. But, oh well, you'll have that with humans, I suppose. Onward and upward.

I have two childhood friends who took a spin in the world of fame and celebrity.

They both ended up hating it and walking away when they could, turning their backs on potential fortunes for themselves and their loved ones. I'm not going to tell you their names; I don't think you would remember them anyway. One had her 15 minutes in the Contemporary Christian Music world, and the other had a following on those "decorate my house" shows on cable. Both had fan clubs, fan mail, and creepy fans who showed up unannounced at their homes.

As previously stated, they hated it. Understandably.

Perhaps because of my connection with these two friends, I tend to see "celebrities" as vulnerable, usually unhappy, and forced to endure immense pressure.

The songwriter friend told me stories of being yelled at in the studio, humiliated and insulted by mercurial music producers wanting instant and constant perfection. When she tried to back out of the recording contract, she was threatened with a staggering lawsuit. She fulfilled her contract and never, ever went back. Her CD's are still available for purchase, but she is not.

The friend who was on TV had an ability to make viewers feel a personal connection with her; consequently she received heartbreaking fan mail from lonely and needy people. The producers of these shows began manipulating the content of the shows in order to capitalize on this artificial "connection." When my friend suggested this was a cruel way to treat people, they laughed. They offered her a lot of money to expand her influence, but when her contract was fulfilled she was out of there.

Yesterday, Chely Wright tweeted this: "@GoogleFacts: A musician would need to get 130,745 plays per day on Spotify just to earn minimum wage." This gave me pause--I had no idea that's how it works. I just listen and enjoy, while unknowingly supporting an industry that takes profits from those who create the product. I don't get it--are artists not worthy of decent wages in return for their efforts? Do we expect them to work pro bono?

My shame and dismay reminded me how I felt when I learned that my clothes were made by children in Bangladesh, working fourteen hour days.

I am repentant; artists are worthy of fair wages, particularly when they produce work in environments such as my friends described.

People need to know about this. Maybe they already do, and I've been out of the loop. Either way, I won't listen to Spotify again until this changes.