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Spotify is a music, podcast, and video streaming service developed by the startup company Spotify AB in Stockholm, Sweden. Using a "freemium" business model, Spotify is free to use, though users can pay a monthly fee to remove ads and have an improved experience. It is available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux users, as well as Apple and Android mobile users. It is one of the most popular music streaming services online, with over 100 million monthly active users and 50 million paying subscribers.
Spotify AB was founded in 2006 by Daniel Elk and Martin Lorentzon, and the Spotify application was launched October 7th, 2008. After opening public registration to the free service to the United Kingdom in February 2009, registration surged. The service then launched in the United States in July of 2011, with US users able to access unlimited, ad-supported music. The free trial expired in January of 2012, and Spotify limited users to 10 hours of music each month and five song replays, but those restrictions were removed in March. In April, the service provided embeddable music players for blogs. In January 2016, Spotify and music annotation service Genius formed a partnership, bringing annotation information from Genius into infocards presented while songs are playing in Spotify on iOS playlists. In September 2016, Spotify launched Daily Mix, a series of playlists that mix the user's favorite tracks with new, recommended songs.
Spotify has come under criticism from artists who claim they are not being compensated fairly for their work. Spotify pays artists a "market share" per stream, which means that the amount paid is relative to the total number of songs streamed on the service. This is different than other models, which pays artists a fixed rate per physical purchase or download. Spotify then distributes 70% of the profits to rights holders, who then pay artists based on the individual contracts.
Prominent critics of this system include Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, and David Byrne of Talking Heads. In July 2013, Yorke removed all of his work under the Atoms For Peace moniker, tweeting: "Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples." His producer, Nigel Godrich, stated: "[Streaming] cannot work as a way of supporting new artists' work. Spotify and the like either have to address that fact and change the model for new releases or else all new music producers should be bold and vote with their feet.
Swift withdrew her music in November of 2014, "I'm not willing to contribute my life's work to an experiment that I don't feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music. And I just don't agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free." Several other major artists have delayed streaming their music on Spotify because of the platform's poor compensation.
In March 2014, the American band Vulfpeck released an album called Sleepify on the platform, looking to expose a loophole in Spotify's service. The "album" consisted solely of silence. The group asked their fans to have the album playing on loop as they slept. Before Spotify removed the album without giving a reason, the group had made $20,000 dollars in royalties.
On April 4th, 2017, Twitter user @errikkxa tweeted a Spotify playlist her older sister made for a boy she was no longer interested in seeing. When read in order, the song titled read "Do You Still Want To Kiss Me Because I Am Kinda Lovin Someone Else But We Can Still Be Friends." Her tweet gained over 14,000 retweets and 21,000 likes. The moment, including the sister's and the boy's response, was covered by Buzzfeed a week later and others.
The popularity of the moment inspired other, sincere posts using the format, which in turn led to joke variations.