In the past few months, I’ve been wrestling with a gravely serious moral quandary: should I pay for Spotify, the music-streaming service, or just listen to the ads?
One reason I characterize my indecision as a “moral” problem is that I feel a personal objection to the idea of paying for something so it will cease to annoy me. The commercials on Spotify are really, really annoying, and sometimes even objectionable. My theory is the ads are chosen specifically to get you to pay for the service in order to avoid them, rather than to allow you to sit through them if you choose. I find Flo the Progressive Insurance lady as charming as the next person, but she raps in one commercial. In another she does a robot voice. It’s pretty painful. Another ad is for one of those services that gives confused young men tips on how to “seduce” women, the kind of thing that used to only be advertised in the back of Playboy because it was so embarrassing and obnoxious. Spotify is helping pick-up artist culture--which is often amoral, misogynistic and tasteless--move into the public forum towards acceptance. Other ads I’ve heard on Spotify have been similarly “geared towards men” and pretty much equally offensive.
This kind of rationalization of cheapness by turning it into a moral stand is one of several personality traits I’ve noticed myself developing lately which I would characterize as “dad-like”: if not like my own father, then like many dads, despite that I don’t have kids. Another such trait is getting big into succulents, and pointing out cool-looking ones I see in people’s front yards, despite being fully aware the person walking with me doesn’t care all that much.
Or maybe it’s not dad-like—maybe it’s more like I’m spoiled about ads because I grew up on the internet. I don’t bat an eye if an ad pops up in my face, but having to sit through one makes me squirm.
Either way, there’s a second, probably more significant reason I’m hesitant to pay for Spotify: Sean Parker, a major force behind Spotify and the guy who makes most of the money, is not that great (understatement).