The South China Morning Post devoted an entire page about the thoughts on Spotify from, largely, Hong Kong musicians- but, jeez, the writer- one Charley Lanyon- missed the point by the proverbial mile that left many asking, Yes? And the point?

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Firstly, speaking to local “indie” musicians and companies that are part of a Hong Kong scene so financially insignificant was one glaring mistake and which gave space to people like some rapper named Master Mic, below, to moan about Spotify, “Man, how can you say you’re helping artists when the middle men are ripping us off?”

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Master Mic was explaining how artists cannot go directly to Spotify to make deals, but need to go through “aggregators” who get the money- what money?- to sell the music of artists. And the cow jumped over the moon as it seems that Master Mic has been sold a loada bad crack.

What “middle men” and “aggregators”? If this is really how it works, and a new artist needs to jump through these hoops when, used with a generous amount of brain power, one can be in charge of their own destiny through the use of other social media- and Spotify IS part of social media with a duplication of music fans.

Again, if looked at it objectively, Spotify is more clutter and easily discardable.

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The other problem was Charley Lanyon interviewing so many way way behind the eight-ball of reality and so naive about age-old music scams that they still play and give their music away for free and actually believe in “worldwide” music contracts where, often, nothing is even marketed.

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It’s all perception versus reality and Spotify, which, by the way, Li ka-shing, Asia’s richest man, was convinced to invest in along with his stake in Facebook, is a platform purely for music fans to exchange music.

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There are hundreds of similar platforms, the one difference being that Spotify co-Founder Daniel Eck went out, like Mark Zuckerberg did, and sold what, like Facebook is a new-fangled version of old slam books, his brand hard and dazzled many who swim with sharks and skirt the periphery of the music industry and with zero ideas about recoupable and non-recoupable advances, royalties on sales and one-sided contacts, which mean they are dazzled by bullshit and, like trained seals, clap, make loud sucking sounds that their equally dumbed-down followers join in just to belong and do their bidding.

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So, when, at a music conference around five years ago when Eck, below, was asked by myself how artists are financially rewarded, it was “being worked on.” It still is.

What did the other attendees do? Fawn as there were NO artists there- only corporate eunuchs.

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Today, well, the cat’s outta the bag, Spotify royalty payments have been made public- even by big artists like Lady Gaga- and NONE were paid more than US$300.

In fact, Gaga received a hefty $187 as her first Spotify royalty cheque. Wah!

This is where the SCMP’s Charley Lanyon moved bang into sophomoric territory and where dear Charley made a right old Charlie of himself.

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He hadn’t done his homework and interviewed a few “indie” artists who came across spouting naive soundbites that made one cringe.

Still, they can be probably be forgiven. They simply might have been deliriously excited to be interviewed and quoted and had to say something.

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Unforgivable, however, was when Spotify’s director of Asia, Sunita Kaur, was described as being “baffled by the criticism” of her product, and came up with this classic line: “We have seen artists literally launch themselves on Spotify and do very well.”

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Okay, let’s forget the visual of artists “literally launching themselves” as Ms Kaur next came up with this pearler: “A great example is Lorde who launched herself on Spotify, got huge, then got signed. We have lots of examples like that.”

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Really? Those with Universal Music New Zealand, in Australia and Lucien Grainge, the Big Poobah of Universal Music Worldwide would beg to differ as would Scott MacLachlan who signed the then-13-year-old to Universal New Zealand.

But, again, Charley leaves it like that without asking Ms Kaur, Okey dopey, let’s say you- Spotify- launched Lorde’s career and Spotify got her signed. How much did she- and there are more and more strange stories about this girl emanating out of New Zealand which is another story altogether- and her army of co-writers behind Royals get PAID by giving Spotify their CONTENT?

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Without this content by artists, what does Spotify have other than a very basic platform and music fans who have signed on for their services- services that are ALL content based?

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A few years ago, I was having dinner with an executive from a music company and talking about Spotify and Nokia and payment for his label’s music which was an annual lump sum- and not much. But, as he said, “It’s better than nothing”.

How was this lump sum and blanket deal divided amongst those artists signed to the label? It wasn’t as it came under their contractual deal and that whacked out and biggest scam word muttered by many in various seats of real and perceived seats of power associated with the music industry today called “Promotions”.

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Frankly, I call them pimps and blame artists and artist mis-management for allowing this to happen in the first place- this being the appalling idea to give everything away for free- and now wondering how to put the genie back into Pandora’s Box which all of them opened.

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Sadly, it’s too late for that as egos are at stake, these egos have become desperate, and there are new or very old artists happy to be finally signed by someone/anyone- for free- and give their music away for free- so as to self-promote themselves to friends who take everything at face value.

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Sure, it sounds great when it actually means nothing as these are all percentages and contracts that mean nothing and, no matter how one adds it up, nothing plus nothing equals nothing.

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Spotify, YouTube though now quickly trying to find ways for artists to monetize their content, publishing companies, music companies, organizers of music conferences etc walk briskly on the sunny side of the street giving nothing away for free.

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On the other side of the street and the poor side of the town are those artists- new artists- the oldies keep working the BS meter to those who believe everything they hear- who keep staring into their half-empty glasses having forgotten how to think for themselves and realize how much power they really possess.

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