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As Spotify goes public, we look at how the streaming service rocked the music industry

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek speaks on December 11, 2013 in New York City.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek speaks on December 11, 2013 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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With little fanfare, Spotify is expected to go public today, Tuesday, on the New York Stock Exchange through the unusual move of a direct listing.

Spotify’s streaming music service has nearly 71 million paying customers, almost twice as much as its nearest competitor, Apple Music. Still, it’s unclear how going public will affect the company.

This latest news gives us a chance to step back and look at how Spotify has affected the music industry on a larger scale.

A few decades ago, some thought that MP3 encoding and then subsequent methods of pirating songs, for example though Napster, sounded the death knell for the music industry. But streaming has changed the game, though there are still questions about whether services like Spotify benefit artists, labels and consumers.

If you are a musician or work in the music industry, we want to hear from you. How has Spotify changed the landscape?


Steve Knopper, music journalist and contributing editor for Rolling Stone; author of “Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age” (2009, Simon & Schuster), which was updated in 2017 with a chapter on Spotify; he tweets @knopps