Wait for a digital code to be sent to the email address linked to your Best Buy account.
Once your trial ends, your Apple Music subscription will auto-renew for $10 a month. It’s not clear how long Best Buy’s promotion will be available. It started back in May 2021, and is still running now.
It’s an easy and rare chance to snag an extended Apple Music trial, so don’t miss out.
When the pandemic struck, the floor was promptly ripped out from under working musicians. With the closure of venues and touring off the table, the bleak reality of declining recording revenue – which has nose-dived in the streaming era – began to sink in as artists faced an uncertain future.
Although the recording industry has always been a predatory and exploitative force (especially to non white people and women), the inequalities within music have become more acute since the onset of COVID-19. According to The American Prospect, “Spotify has outperformed Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google between January 2020 and January 2021,” boosting CEO Daniel Ek’s net worth to $5.3 billion, and leaving musicians – who earn a paltry $0.00348 per stream – without a foothold.
As musician Damon Krukowski told the Prospect’s David Dayen, “Last year, the COVID year, [my band] Galaxie 500 had 8.5 million streams on Spotify. We also released a 2,000-copy, limited-edition LP. They raised the same amount of money. Neither is enough to live on.” Krukowski told Dayen that he added up the amount of monthly streams that would amount to each band member earning $15 an hour from Spotify. The number was 650,000. According to MIT, the living wage in Boston, where Krukowski’s band is based, is $19.17 an hour.
Streaming companies’ rapid devaluation of recorded music has been a long-term project. As music piracy took off in the late 90s and early 2000s, the music industry created a narrative that such platforms were stealing from artists, despite the fact that many indie musicians owed their careers to piracy. One North Carolina State University study even suggested the piracy boosted album sales. Krukowski told Dayen that his band was able to reach people through piracy and sell out shows in countries that they could never reach through traditional channels.
The Recording Industry Association of America worked tooth and nail to sue pirate sites like Napster and Kazaa out of business and mounted a counterrevolution to piracy that would eventually evolve into streaming. Of course the modus operandi of the tech industry is to “innovate” via consolidation, new technology and legal justifications that works to funnel wealth upwards to investors while devaluing labor. According to Rolling Stone, “65% of Spotify was owned by just six parties,” including the company’s founders and Wall St. firms like Morgan Stanley. Other owners include the major record companies, who, according to music writer Liz Pelly, use their leverage to promote their artists on the site at the expense of those with fewer resources.
As Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, a musician and organizer from Providence, Rhode Island, told me in a phone interview, “Streaming has simply seen an exaggeration of the trend of more and more resources being directed to an ever smaller number of people in the music industry.” Pelly noted in The Baffler magazine that “a study released by Citigroup showed that in 2017, only approximately 12% of the music industry’s revenue went to artists, which speaks to the financial precariousness faced by many musicians.”
DeFrancesco spoke to the similarities between Spotify and other tech companies. “What’s happening at Spotify is very similar to what we’ve seen happen in other industries, like with rideshare companies. …The companies themselves say, ‘Oh, we can’t pay people more, we’re actually operating at a loss,’ but it’s this confusing array of venture capitalist firms who are investing in these companies and artificially propping them up to create monopolies to drive down prices and to drive up competition, making it increasingly difficult for workers to mount in opposition.”
But with COVID, everything changed.
Organizing against Spotify
“Things were growing more and more unequal in our industry, and the pandemic pushed everything over the edge and allowed music workers the time to start talking to one another,” DeFrancesco said. Once off the road and grounded at home, DeFrancesco and other musicians began sharing their stories over Zoom about industry practices, streaming rates, and other issues facing artists.
From there, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) was born. Today, the group has 25 steering committee members and 80 subcommittee members that work on a myriad of issues facing artists such as labels, venues, immigration and police abolition. The group’s mission statement states: “UMAW has mobilized thousands of music workers to take part in our first actions around the COVID crisis, and we will continue to organize around issues such as demanding fairer deals from streaming services, ensuring musicians receive the royalties they are owed, establishing more just relationships with labels, and creating safer guidelines for venues.”
On March 15, masked-up musicians and their allies took to Spotify offices all over the world to hand deliver their demands to the streaming giant as part of the group’s Justice at Spotify campaign. They called for a raise to a penny-per-stream (approximately three times the current rate), the adaptation of a user-centric payment model that pays musicians proportionally to the amount of streams they receive, transparency about contracts and the removal of payola, proper attribution credits for work on recordings, and an end to “legal battles intended to further impoverish artists.” Nearly 28,000 signed onto the demands that were delivered in 15 cities around the world including in New York, Berlin, São Paulo, London, and Nashville, highlighting the Swedish company’s role in global music distribution and labor exploitation.
As soon as the campaign took off, Spotify quickly launched a website called Loud & Clear, which was designed to offer transparency about the company, or act as a PR smokescreen, depending on who you ask. As UMAW retorted, “This website answers none of our demands and even further obfuscates transparency. The company simply deflects blame onto others for systems it has itself built and provided no further information on their per-stream rate.”
DeFrancesco told me that although the company didn’t mention UMAW’s campaign directly, “the fact that they felt the need to [create the website] and move to the steps that we see a lot of companies do when confronted is telling. They moved from just ignoring protest to beginning to lash out back at the activists and workers. That means we are making inroads.”
UMAW plans to keep building their union. “The only way to counter the power of these major companies and venture capitalists is to build an opposing worker power,” DeFrancesco said.
“With new tech solutions, we’re just going to replicate the same power inequities, unless we actually organize power. So you know, we need to get musicians together and organized so we can, like the rest of the labor movement, demand power and resources from the people who own the means of production, which is these monopoly tech companies. This way we can build a political force so that we can lobby for regulation and get public resources to arts workers like they have in other industrialized countries.”
Will Meyer is a freelance writer and co-editor of The Shoestring in western Massachusetts. His writing has appeared in The Baffler, The New Republic, CJR, and many other publications. Find him on Twitter @willinabucket.
If you’ve used Pandora for a while, you know that you mark songs or artists that you like by giving them a thumbs up. Once you’ve thumbed-up enough tracks or artists, Pandora will automatically create a Thumbprint station for you.
The Thumbprint Radio station includes all of the music that you’ve thumbed-up. It’ll also feature tracks and artists that are similar to what you’ve liked in the past, which makes Thumbprint stations a great way to find new music.
Here’s how to add a Thumbprint station to your Pandora account.
What is Pandora’s Thumbprint station
Unlike your Thumbprint Playlist, which only features your thumbed up songs, the Thumbprint Radio station is a mixture of content from practically any station type you’ve listened to.
This tailored radio station includes all tracks you’ve thumbed up for as long as you’ve had your account, as well as similar tracks and artists that you might also like but haven’t yet discovered.
If you want to access this specialty station, you’ll need to have added at least three stations and have four thumbs upped tracks on each.
Once you’ve met the requirements for a Thumbprint Radio station, here’s how to add it to your Pandora stations list.
How to add Thumbprint Radio to Pandora on the desktop site
1. Open Pandora in your chosen web browser and sign in, if you haven’t already.
2. Using the search bar at the top of the player dashboard, type in “Thumbprint Radio.”
3. In the list of results, run your cursor over the Thumbprint Radio icon, and when the Play icon appears on the station art, click it.
4. If the station begins to play, it’s been added to your “My Collection” list.
How to add Thumbprint Radio to Pandora on the mobile app
1. Open the Pandora mobile app and log into your account, if you haven’t already.
2. Tap the Search icon located in the app’s bottom menu bar.
3. Type in “Thumbprint Radio” and wait for the station to appear in the results.
4. Tap the play icon to the right of the station result. It will automatically be added to your “My Collection” station list. If it doesn’t play, then you haven’t met the criteria for adding it.
Spotify has become one of the most popular streaming platforms thanks to its near endless amount of curated playlists.
Personalized playlists like Discover Weekly and Wrapped are different for each user, based on algorithms that track listening habits. Editorial playlists are curated by Spotify employees, who carefully sift through the music library to craft playlists for moods, holidays, and more. Listener playlists are made by users who have complete control of what they add and are offered recommendations based on that.
You can share these playlists with family or friends, or save them to your Library to listen to anytime. You can also collaborate on these playlists with other Spotify users.
But with so many playlists to choose from, it’s easy to end up with a clogged Spotify library. That’s why Spotify makes it easy to delete any playlist.
Just note that when you delete a playlist that others have subscribed to, it’ll only be deleted from your Library – your subscribers will still have it. You can fully delete it for them too by removing all the songs.
Thanks in part to its dynamic listening and discovery features, Spotify has become one of the most popular ways to enjoy your favorite songs, artists, and more.
Now, Premium members can take their Spotify experience to another level with Group Sessions. Launched in July 2020, the feature allows users to simultaneously listen to the same playlist or podcast from wherever they are via a unique link.
In group sessions, listeners can pick tracks and add them to the main queue running via the device that initiated the session. Anyone invited to the Group Session can listen from their device or listen on yours while controlling it from their own.
A group session can feature two to five users and is available via the desktop or mobile app. And you can choose to leave or end a group session at any time by tapping the appropriate option at the bottom of the page.
If you want a truly shared listening experience, here’s how to launch your own Spotify Group Session.