[Announcement] Removing my Music from Spotify, etc

[Full text below]


So I’ll be pulling my personal music releases from Spotify, Apple Music, and the other streaming services that Distrokid ships to in the next month or so. I’ll explain more below.

You will still be able to do the following:

  • Listen to my video game OSTs on streaming platforms, as it is not just me that those affect.
  • Download my music for free from johnoestmannmusic.com
  • Download my completed personal albums from Archive.org
  • Find my music being uploaded on this YouTube channel, as I completely control those uploads.
  • Download and support albums on Bandcamp.
  • Possibly support and download my music from Patreon in the near future. More to be said on that..

So.. some explanation:

1) The precedent Spotify has set is a toxic swamp of a music ecosystem

  • You’ve heard this from a thousand artists, so you don’t need to hear it again. But it is pretty true.
  • While Spotify, and all the streaming services that have followed suite ARE providing a very convenient way to find and listen to music, there are some major issues.
  • For example, you don’t own the music, and the services can simply pull it without you or the artist’s consent.
  • The artists definitely don’t get paid fairly. I am in no ways a big artist, but according to Distrokid, for my 166,000 streams, purchases, and impressions, I have earned:
  • (Update 27/5: I would like to acknowledge that it was not fair of me below to use Daniel Ek’s history with μTorrent as an example of not valuing digital music. Torrenting is not inherently bad for digital media, and is often a great mechanism for the spread of culture.)
    The CEO of Spotify has made it very clear that he disregards the health of the artists and community around the platform. I won’t say too much more on this, but take a look at his history on Wikipedia or elsewhere. It isn’t totally surprising that one of the main people behind one of the biggest torrenting softwares can’t quite grasp the value of digital music.

2) There is real joy to be rediscovered off of these streaming platforms

  • Specifically, when you go exploring the internet yourself, outside of content feeds, outside of recommendation algorithms.
  • A silly metaphor, but a true one: we can give our pets the best food, but if we don’t give them any “enrichment” then they end up unhealthy and depressed.
  • Enrichment is basically having to work for reward. Exploration is one of the best kinds of enrichment. Our brains work this same exact way.
  • If we are only consuming what the content algorithms serve up, then our brains do not get the enrichment stimulation they need.
  • When you experience finding new music, new videos, new games, new media, anything, as the fruit of your own exploration on (or off) the internet – you realize how much sweeter it tastes.

3) I don’t really want to support the platforms that don’t support artists

  • I mean, first of all, I have spent around $500 AUD on Distrokid over the last 5 years. With that $50 earnings back, it means I am losing more money through Distrokid than I lose when you download or pirate my music.
  • My music is completely free, so I actually want you to download it from my website! Why should I stick with Distrokid then? I am serving them. And I’m paying plenty of money to serve them.
  • We could argue about issues with all platforms, but the streaming subscription model, with the current payout schemes, has been tried and tested. And to be honest, where we gain convenience, everyone loses out on where it matters: deep connection with the music.

I’ll leave it there, but just know you can still find my music very easily through this channel and through my website.

Download it! You can listen to it wherever you want, remix it, use it in your own projects! Anything with the Public Domain / CC0 license is yours to do with what you want!

And if you aren’t currently doing it, I highly recommend spending some time exploring the internet again without content feeds, and without recommendation algorithms. It can feel like more work at first, but when you discover those gems for yourself, it is SO WORTH IT!


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