Spotify presents familiar difficulties with classical music

Posted on: August 29, 2011

In Sunday’s (8/28) New York Times, Steve Smith writes, “For innumerable music lovers in America, the world changed on July 14. That was the day that Spotify, a Swedish Internet music-streaming service founded in 2008 and eagerly adopted by millions of registered users in Europe, began operating in the United States after years of arduous negotiations with the big four major recording companies: Universal Music, Sony, Warner Brothers and EMI. … Classical-music lovers have been conspicuously absent from the general hullaballoo that has greeted Spotify’s arrival on these shores. … The problem, as usual, comes down to data, specifically, metadata, the information that tells a computerized player what content the files on a compact disc contain and how to organize tracks you’ve downloaded from the Internet. … Like most of the business models that have arisen since music first started migrating to the Internet, Spotify and its competitors work from a pop-music mind-set, as do most of the record companies and distributors that provide it with music and metadata. The results are baffling searches and chaotic returns. … If you can resign yourself to the effort involved in rooting out the recordings you want—which isn’t so different from scouring through secondhand record stores looking for specific gems and finding unexpected treasures along the way—then Spotify quickly becomes addictive.”

Posted August 29, 2011