Well played, Spotify!

Spotify – a music streaming services promising to offer ‘Music for everyone’, particularly if ‘everyone’ pays a £9.99 monthly subscription (Spotify Premium) in order to gain access to the entire track collection available on the podcast. It’s a justifiable move considering the content available on Spotify is subjected to strict copyright restrictions – every time a song is being played on the podcast, the artist/owner of the song receives a sum of money.

Apart from the full access to the podcast’s music library and few other perks, Spotify Premium has a special feature: it allows users to download for free and listen offline any track available within the streaming service (3333 tracks, to be more specific). Wait a second. You can download for free any song without infringing the copyright law? How? Let me enlighten you. While the podcast offers this opportunity, the downloaded music files are encrypted in a way they become playable only on Spotify. And as I’ve mentioned before, anytime a song is played on Spotify, the performer of the song receives money in return. Fair enough, Spotify.

But what would happened if Spotify would share music under a Creative Commons licence? According to the Creative Commons licences, the songs would be redistributed (commercially or non-commercially) as long as the artist is being credited and his/her work doesn’t suffer any changes. If a track is used for commercial purposes, it is compulsory to be distributed under the same licence terms as the one used by the artist.

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Spotify

Spotify is the world’s most popular on-demand music streaming service, with around 75 million active users every month. It’s based around the concept of creating and sharing playlists. Like other streaming services, Spotify allows its users to access content via the internet, streaming music directly from Spotify’s servers rather than downloading it locally.

Spotify costs £9.99 per month (or £4.99 if your a student!) this covers the copyright costs of streaming the music and pays the royalties to the artists. However, it has been argued that these royalties aren’t enough, a Guardian report suggests that the average payment a signed artist gets after their label takes its share is a mere $0.001128. Meaning they need approximately 1000 streams to get just $1. This had led to high profile artists like Taylor Swift removing all their music from the service.

I believe Spotify is a great service for reducing piracy, being able to stream music as much as you want for a single fee per month is much cheaper than having to pay each time you want a new song. Do you think streaming services have helped reduce piracy?

New York Times

I must say that it took me a while to understand what the Creative Commons License is and to be honest; I still don’t quite get it. However, this week I want to write about New York Times which have devised a smart marketing strategy which operates under both creative commons and strict copyrights. So basically, I am a news junkie and have about 10 news apps on my phone. NY Times is easily my favourite but uh-oh I have to pay for it! So I resort to other sources such as Guardian, Sky, BBC, Politico, etc.

But did you know? You can access first 10 news articles every month, for free on you NYT app on mobile. After you’ve read these 10, you need to subscribe to NYT to read further. How smart is this? In terms of a copyright model, New York Times let’s us read any 10 articles for free under the Creative Common license after which it imposes strict copyright on what we read as we have to subscribe and pay for it. The limit of 10 articles is renewed every month, i.e. you get 10 free articles a month, which are 120 articles per year!

This is a great marketing strategy as these 10 articles lead to a lot more business for NYT. The reader is hooked to YT after they finish their free limit and want to read more. This helps NYT to increase their reach (as people read free stuff) and then, increase their business and protect their quality (as people want to continue reading and end up subscribing). The truth is this model works for New York Times because they are a huge brand and people trust it due to their quality. This is a great example of how a media organization exercises strict copyright while using the Creative Commons to compliment their model.

If you ask me, I just wait for the next month to read the next 10 articles but I know that if I weren’t broke, I would subscribe to NYT no matter what the charge. For now, 10-a-month is as happy as I can be!

 

The New Yorker

The New Yorker is a weekly print and online magazine. It covers everything from reporting on  politics, to fictional love stories to humorous cartoons. What is does offer is a distinctive style and absolutely fantastic writing. I will concentrate on the online edition for the purpose of this post. What frustrated me when I first came across The New Yorker was that was that I could only read ten articles before it asked me to subscribe and pay to read (12 weeks for just $12!). I know this is a relatively cheap price (I’m not sure how that would work out paying in English pounds!), but the problem was that I was used to reading news and pop culture articles online for free so why should I pay? I know that the people working on the magazine  need to be paid so I understand why there is a fee and that it is original work that is being paid for but I was just not happy paying it. I wonder if The New Yorker was shared with fewer restrictions under a creative commons  license it would prove more of a useful tool and an inspiration to all aspiring writers and journalists. I feel by limiting their audience they may be limiting their creativity also. As there are lots of alternative free magazines out there, are they scaring away their younger audience?

I’ve got the money, now give me the… knowledge?

knowledge

This image might be understood on its own. However, I suggest to look at the place this little girl is walking towards, not only as a classroom but as knowledge, in the broader meaning of the world.

It leads me to think about one of my recent experiences with paid content: my subscription to The Economist. This news magazine is extremely interesting, in my point of view. It stimulates the readers to think critically, to analyse, for example, a current world issue through various angles. Besides that, the content has always seemed to me to be really accurate and the opinions, very clever. However, it is not that easy for us to be well-informed. Why is the access to knowledge, even on the internet, still something so hard and expensive? News, information and opinion sources such as this magazine should be something everyone has access to, not an exclusive elite who choose to and can afford to subscribe.

This is one of the Creative Commons’ intentions. This organisation that “enables the sharing and use of creative and knowledge through free legal tools” believes that community, collaboration and sharing are at the heart of human advancement.

Having highly regarded content such The Economist’s articles, under Creative Commons, would maybe encourage these ones that today are excluded from obtaining accurate news to start looking for better quality ones. Therefore, we’ll all be able to acquire more knowledge and critical thinking regarding the world’s current issues.

I afforded a super promotional subscription of The Economist for £ 12,00 for 12 magazines and for free access to all its online content. Now that this promotional term has ended, I can’t read the magazine anymore, because I simply cannot afford £ 46,00 a month. How fair is the relation between knowledge and money?

SoundCloud

 

 

Sound Cloud is the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create and share sounds. Sound Cloud is a free app and website, so anyone can listen to music anywhere and everywhere. This has helped shoot many great artists into stardom, a good example of this would be Bryson Tiller, 2 years ago nobody knew who this man was but since he released his song Don’t on Sound Cloud, this propelled him into the music business and now Bryson Tiller is a renowned artist and is landing amazing opportunities, such as performing at Wireless 2016.

If Sound Cloud became restricted, the company would definitely benefit from this financially, but the meaning and the essence behind Sound Cloud would be gone forever. Sound cloud to me is musicians and listeners coming together sharing and create music. I know when I stumble and come across a great artist on Sound Cloud , it makes me extremely happy ,that I have the ability to share this with my friends and families without them and myself having to pay for It. I know If Sound Cloud decided to make us pay for their streaming services , I wouldn’t after all YouTube is still free , I think if YouTube wasn’t free then I wouldn’t have a choice in the matter and then would I consider paying for Sound Cloud.

 

GIFs

The Internet is such a wide tool. It has infinite information, images and videos. One of the most famous and lovable things we can find online is GIFs. The GIF, or graphics interchange format, was introduced to the world by Compuserve in 1987. The compressed format was the ideal for performing image transfers across the slow modem connections of the time. Nowadays GIFs are almost everywhere: you can find them on a Google Image search; it is one of the main elements in Tumblr; it can be a tool to tell jokes on 9GAG; and recently added, it’s one of the most famous features on Facebook. GIFs can be about anything, and can be created by anyone. The most common theme of GIFs is TV shows, movies and viral videos. We can see GIFs of basically every single scene of these media products. But after giving it some thought, I came to the following conclusion: these type of GIFS are all over the web but no one seems to be bothered about the fact that their media content is being used so freely. So my question is, wouldn’t the use of these scenes turned into GIFs be copyright infringement? Don’t the owners of the content deserve credit on what they do at all times?

 

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