Dave Allen blog-debates David Byrne about Spotify

The asynchronous debate about Spotify (good or evil?) continues, most recently with Dave Allen (Gang of Four) responding at length to David Byrne’s OpEd last week in The Guardian (RAIN comment here).

If these dueling disquisitions were an endurance contest, for both the writer and reader, Allen would take the lead in his blog post, which runs 2,600 words. In it, he flatly disagrees with Byrne’s thoughtfully considered but apocalyptic conclusion that “…the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left.”

Dave Allen contrarily reasons that the rise of Spotify is a natural evolution of markets and consumer preferences. He likens the emergence of streaming music, and the erosion of physical music sales, as comparable to the marketplace disruption which caused destruction to Polaroid and BlackBerry. Allen cites the paramount consumer demand when it comes to music, which is to personalize programming. He also incisively brings YouTube into the argument, wondering why musicians don’t protest that service. Along the way Allen questions FM, too, drawing a parallel with Spotify as a no-charge, ad-supported medium.

The weighty blog post wraps up with a double swipe at complainers and the major record labels: “Appearing to be elitist and Luddite is not a good way to win over today’s music fans to one’s cause; let’s leave that to be the historical legacy of the RIAA.”

Brad Hill