Spotify’s attempt to use the Facebook playbook over Joe Rogan won’t wash

This morning’s Observer column:

Two decades ago, the late and much-lamented David Bowie said something that was eerily prophetic. “Music itself,” he observed, “is going to become like running water or electricity.” His point was that in 2002 we were still carrying our music in little bottles called iPods, just as Victorian travellers in India carried bottles of drinking water because you couldn’t rely on their being a safe and sanitary public supply.

Spool forward 20 years and Spotify, the Swedish audio streaming and media services provider founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, is, in Bowie’s terms, the global music authority, providing sanitised recorded music everywhere, on demand. At the moment, it has something like 406 million active monthly users, of whom more than 180 million pay for its “premium” (advertising-free) service…

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