You have to look pretty hard for someone who doesn't have an opinion about Spotify, the Swedish music-streaming service that launched in 2008 and hit the States in 2011. It's hard to deny its ease, selection, and um, free-ness, but it's also been a magnet for controversy.
In both the controversial NPR blog by Emily White about "never owning any music" and Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery's gone-viral response letter, Spotify is called out for not adequately paying artists. White hopes that future Spotify-like services pay artists a higher percentage than current models, and Lowery attacks more pointedly, saying:
The Internet is full of stories from artists detailing just how little they receive from Spotify. I shan't repeat them here. They are epic. Spotify does not exist in a vacuum. The reason they can get away with paying so little to artists is because the alternative is The Net where people have already purchased all the gear they need to loot those songs for free. Now while something like Spotify may be a solution for how to compensate artists fairly in the future, it is not a fair system now. As long as the consumer makes the unethical choice to support the looters, Spotify will not have to compensate artists fairly. There is simply no market pressure. Yet Spotify's CEO is the 10th richest man in the UK music industry ahead of all but one artist on his service.