The Playlist – Season 1 Episode 6

The Artist

The sixth episode of The Playlist sees the final piece of the puzzle coming to light – the artist. The talented women and men who make the music we want to listen to. Naturally, the show begins with a gorgeous stage show before jumping into Stockholm in the year 2024. We learn about what is happening with music in the age of digital has done to it and the impact Spotify as well as other services for streaming have on musicians such as Bobbi T. Do you remember her? It’s the lady we’ve seen snippets of throughout the seasons.

What do you think Daniel planning to exploit users even more?

Prior to this, Daniel meets with an investor named Jim who wants to increase their revenue with their latest company “Discovery Max.” No this isn’t a TV channel, but an additional aspect of Spotify that will lower the price of music. The new model will see record companies pocket 70% of the profits and half the royalties paid to musicians. Daniel will agree, tentatively however, he advises him to take it in a way that “keeps people on their side.”

This is a bit more difficult to accomplish in the case of protests against the impact of Spotify in the industry of music. Particularly, protesters discuss how oppressive the whole process was for the artists. Bobbi is among the artists who is feeling the impact of Spotify. She’s trying to support her kids. The more jobs Bobbi gets involved in, the closer she’ll be to providing her daughter with what she desires and that includes a brand-new iPhone.

Finally, Bobbi finally speaks out. She makes the video of her talking to the public and telling them that she’s recorded six albums in the past 10 years. Her songs have had many hits, and some of her tracks have been played more than 200k times per month on Spotify. However, she’s unable to afford her rent and has been working part-time gigs to make ends meet.

The irony is that record companies have a higher profit in the present than they did before and the industry brought in around 23 million bucks in the last year. And what is the amount the musicians earn? Peanuts are a good example.

Does Daniel make any changes to Spotify?

Bobbi calls Daniel personally asking him to discuss the new model that is beneficial to everyone. But, Daniel watches Bobbi’s video with apathy and decides to unfollow her. The video becomes extremely viral and the small protests at Spotify headquarters transform into a huge protest as artists and people are enraged by Daniel Ek and the others and #Scratchtherecord “Scratch the record” hitting the entire population.

The time for change is upon them and with the pay for Spotify executives topping six figures (all while musicians struggle to earn a living) is yet another sour illustration of the increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor. It’s not the best image. Daniel is advised by investors to avoid letting the company grow any further than it is already, but time is important, making the market extremely uncertain.

Daniel feels guilty for what he’s signed for, but he realizes that the power balance is once more shifting back to the people he had been trying to bind. Daniel arrives to meet Bobbi in the bar and asks to share the secrets of being prosperous on Spotify. Bobbi changes her mind and reveals all the other artist’s struggles and how, even though he’s the most important musician in the world currently, he’s making a difference in providing a platform fairer for artists to excel.

What is going on during the hearing in Washington?

Then, fast ahead to Washington DC in 2025, and with “Scratch That Record” still being a hit, Daniel Ek is brought into the senate to argue Spotify’s side. Bobbi T is there as well, and she watches the proceedings as Daniel Ek is brought before Senate to discuss the current state of finances for the various artists.

Spotify has a large share of the stake in a number of countries, and in some, it has 5 times the number of users as their closest competitor. However, some artists earn more than *checks notes* 12 bucks per month. However, these artists aren’t able to completely get off the platform since it will mean losing their visibility to the public. In all goals, Spotify is basically the sole source of revenue.

Senator Landy is comparing Spotify to a cartel which is a source of annoyance for Daniel Ek who realizes exactly the kind of thing he’s created. Bobbi is also adamant in her speech on the rights of musicians and how streaming has turned into an instrument of exploitation. And until the power balance is restored and made fairer for all, the people that suffer the most are those who produce the music.

What is the final word? Does the Playlist end?

Following the meeting, Bobbi, as well as Daniel Ek, discuss the matter. Daniel Ek admits to regretting not stepping out of negotiations and instead choosing to go through everything according to his own terms. If he had not listened to all the other participants and listened to the other side, things might be different. However, as of now… it’s not. And Bobbi leaves.

The Episode Review

The last episode concludes in a positive and thought-provoking way by highlighting the issues that musicians face in an industry that is slipping toward monopoly status every day. The chapter does an excellent job of illustrating all this, while also attempting to understand the root of the issue of how challenging it has become to earn an income as a musician today.

It was any better prior to record labels making a huge portion of the money, but it wasn’t as damaging as the situation is today.

The show is excellent to watch over all that effectively shows the origins and the current business model of Spotify and how it was created and all the failures during the course of the journey and the difficulty to make a living from this business.

The cinematography and the visuals overall have been quite good, and the end definitely wraps things up nicely and features Daniel Ek on one side and Bobbi on the other, on either one of them on the Washington Monument.

Although it’s not necessarily the best series that’s been aired this season, it is fun to the viewing experience and certainly a thought-provoking one!


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