Neil Young gave Spotify an ultimatum, either they get rid of Joe Rogan for spreading misinformation, or he would remove his own songs from the Spotify platform as a protest. Spotify sided with Rogan.
Platforms that start to take on the role of content creators put themselves in a strange position.
- On one hand, Spotify shouldn’t “cancel” one creator because another creator doesn’t like what the first creator said.
- But on the other hand, Joe Rogan – isn’t just a creator. He is an extension of Spotify itself. Spotify can’t claim the high-ground because they stoped being a platform and become a creator when they signed Rogan to a multi-year, 100M contract.
If Spotify was a pure platform they would create their policies and perhaps things would be simpler but as soon as they start hiring/buying creators, the creators become part of the platform.
This happens a lot to platforms. Microsoft Windows started out as a platform but soon Microsoft was shipping its own product (Internet Explorer) within the platform. Netflix started out as a platform but soon they started releasing their own movies and shows. Apple, Google, Facebook, and other platforms have all taken a similar approach.
- Act one. Release a platform for other creators, developers, artists.
- Act two. Release a few house brands, apps, products.
- Act three. Slowly push your own content displacing more and more of the creators who initially helped grow the platform.
Artists and listeners can take their music to other platforms but it’ll be the exact same problem. Platforms have an incentive to create their own house brands in act 2 and displace creators in act 3.
I don’t think much will change until the platform and the content is bifurcated. A few web3 startups are exploring this idea. If we can truly split the ideas of content creation and monetization the incentives change. This isn’t just a problem with music, this problem exists with every content platform.
The solution isn’t ready for prime-time yet but in the future we will buy and stream our music directly from the musicians and artists who create them. We’ll be able to support artists directly, and artists won’t be tied to the platform, they will be bound to their fans. NFT’s are just the beginning, get ready for the new act 1.