Spotify's increase in popularity is seen throughout UNH campus and beyond

Bret Belden

In recent years, Spotify has proven to be a popular, convenient music streaming application for for many people, especially college students. However, it has also created a threat to the recording industry. In June 2015, the company had more than 75 million active users, signaling a heavy increase in population. According to The Verge, Spotify reached 30 million subscribers in March of this year,
The music streaming industry is nearly a decade old, but the market is becoming more competitive, with numerous options such as Apple Music, Pandora and YouTube Red.
Spotify has over 30 million tracks available, but artists like Taylor Swift have made the choice to not make their music streamable. In the case of Swift, it doesn’t appear to be affecting her much, as her latest album, “1989,” sold over 1 million copies in its first week alone.
According to The New York Times, Spotify “generally pays 0.5 to 0.7 of a cent a stream (or $5,000 to $7,000 per million plays).” However, once royalties get divided up to the record label and the producers, the artists get very little. But what does that mean for the independent musicians who aren’t signed to record labels?
Dave Drouin, former guitarist of The Brew and now frontman of Cold Engines, has recently released “Better off Dead” in January with his band. He frequently plays in the Portsmouth-music scene, but has played nationally, opening up for such bands as The Allman Brothers Band and Little Feat.
“Spotify has impacted my album a lot where music is almost worthless now,” said Drouin. “When you have access to millions of albums and can pay $10 for it, why would you buy my album for $10?”
Drouin does claim to be a Spotfiy user, but still goes out and supports local bands by buying CDs and records.
“The physical CD was a way to make a living, something you can sell, it makes it a job, and now that’s going away. I remember when a record made it into my house; we read every word, who was the producer, the engineer, and the artwork. We consumed the record inside and out, while actually obtaining knowledge from that record,” said Drouin.
Loren Copp, a Spotify enthusiast and UNH student, said, “It has been one of the biggest game changers of my college career. I can organize playlists; I can share them with friends, and people who I am normally not in touch with. Just to hear the music they are listening to makes me feel more connected to them.”
“The amount of time I listen to music now is huge, it’s way more than [it] used to be,” said Copp. “It has expanded my taste in genres, I can so easily now go through different artists and playlists.”
Emily Schultz, a French-horn player in the UNH Orchestra and Wind Symphony, said, “Spotify lets me listen to music that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to exposed to unless I bought the albums or were told about the music.”
Spotify is providing an experience that is both connecting listeners to their favorite musicians and further expanding their tastes, so isn’t that a good thing?
On that topic Drouin said, “It’s a double-edge sword, it provides an unbelievable resource to have the majority of records instantly streaming, without downloading or uploading. It’s ridiculously convenient, but I believe it’s made the value of music completely diminish.”
According to an article published by Micah Singleton in The Verge, there has been an average of 10 million paid customers joining a year, when in 2014 it only had 10 million subscribers total. Though the music industry might be different with the absence of CD’s in the future, it will surely adapt to ever-changing industry of streaming music.
“Making an album is a labor of love,” said Drouin. “We do it to continue on the tradition of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”