$$$'s In The Stream Part 3: Attempting to #MakeSpotifyWork

$$$'s In The Stream

My larger mission when I started to write this blog was to bring more attention to independent and alternative artists.

Today, as part of this mission, I am calling on anyone who reads this to start sharing and RT things they see with the hashtag #MakeSpotifyWork

Let me make a quick summary of what I am trying to do:

For once, I would like a really great album to win the week. 

That's it.

I am asking everyone to listen to one album on the streaming service of their choice (I use Spotify so I chose Spotify). 

If you like the album, I am asking you to share it through your social media channels using the hashtag #MakeSpotifyWork (or #MakeiTunesWork or whatever you want to use).

The goal is to help Car Seat Headrest make some money and get some people to listen to new music. 

It just occurred to me that when I was a young punk, we would share information and everyone would listen to the music we shared. We went to the record store and purchased albums, we went to shows, and we made each other tapes. 

People still share the information now, but it seems people rarely move from reading to listening (at least not like they used to).

I picked Car Seat Headrest because I have  not read one person that I respect that didn't like the album.

Look, I don't know Will Toledo (the guy behind Car Seat Headrest) and Matador Records has never even given me one RT (or like that I can remember).  I have not even put any ads on this post. 

$$$'s In The Stream has been my series of articles trying to sort out how bands and musicians can survive (thrive) in a post-streaming economy.

Part One was an interview with Alan G. Bargfrede from the music school at Berklee about his study on Streaming economics.

Part Two was an interview with Rain Perry, the Director of the documentary "The Shopkeeper" which is about streaming economics from the perspective of musicians.

Part Three was an interview with Benji Rodgers of Pledge Music and the Blockchain Project about using Blockchain to revolutionize artists rights. 

Sometimes soon I will do Part 4 (record labels) and Part 5 (independent Artists) 

Anyway, this is part four, where I present a crazy idea. It probably will not work, but might be worth a try.


Spotify, and other streaming services, apparently work for about 150 total artists on major labels (who still complain despite being the only beneficiaries of a bad system) 

This happens because there is synchronicity between the laws that allowed corporations to consolidate ownership of radio under the Telecommunication Act of 1996 and the decision by the major labels to consolidate around small numbers of artists after the death of record stores (and the advent of piracy).

The end result was that the labels and radio agreed to exclusively push an ever smaller group of artists. Most consumers of music, despite having more music than ever at their fingertips, started to listen to a smaller and smaller pool of new music. Now, it seems like Rihanna, Beyonce, Maroon 5, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are the only artists who exist. Every award show, radio program, and corporate news outlet exclusively covers only the most successful artists now.

I hear two things over and over again "I don't know who the hell that band is (which apparently means that they can't be good)" and "Nobody makes 'good' music anymore (which apparently means that people yearn for music but are afraid to search it out without official sanction)."

But, this is not universal, I talk to 100's of people on social media who care deeply about alternative music and independent artists. What I am proposing is all of us working together to become a collective alternative to industry consolidation. 

I want us to use our social media to promote independent and alternative artists using the hashtag: 


So, Spotify allocates money based on the number of plays (streamed songs) an artist gets through the service. So a popular and supported artist like Drake had over a billion streams on Spotify (and probably made a gigantic amount of money).

I doubt that we can push numbers like that, but what I am suggesting is that we should use our network effects collectively to help good albums get listened to. If people all RT the same content, and people start paying attention to the link it contains, good things can happen for the artists involved.

In fairness, this probably won't work at all, but who knows. Why not try.

My suggestion is that if we work together to collectively RT and share (not like) content with #MakeSpotifyWork attached to it we might begin to create new listening patterns. 

My only request is that when you see #MakeSpotifyWork on Twitter or in social, RT, share, and listen.

The first band that I am promoting is Car Seat Headrest. Their most recent album is "Teens of Denial" and it is widely heralded as great by everyone who has reviewed it. Despite that, Drake, Selena Gomez, and Ariana Grande suck all the oxygen out of the room.

Fight the power #MakeSpotifyWork

So let's change the room. Here is a link to "Teens of Denial" - by sharing, giving RT's, and most important listening - you transfer social proof and money to the band.


Look for Tweets like this:

#MakeSpotifyWork for .@carseatheadrest all day - listen to "Teens of Denial" on #Spotify 

I will try to put versions of it out on and off all weekend.

What do you think of my idea? Let me know (as long as you are civil) leave a comment!