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Who Needs Another Music Streaming Service?


Music streaming had become a mantra for the music biz by 2018, as the industry flooded the media with upbeat stories about how the technology was saving the fallen record labels. As usual, the model was based on greed for the few and crumbs for the many. Artists got fractions of a penny for every spin while CEOs of the major record labels made millions off large music libraries that could now be accessed for $10 per month.

The market was already stacked with multiple streaming services, each playing "follow the loser" with Spotify, a money-losing corporation based on big biz loans. The company's IPO initially thrilled the music biz in April 2018 but by the company's awful first earnings report a month later, the labels were selling off huge blocks of shares. The CEO bragged how he wasn't concerned about competitor Apple Music, but the market reaction didn't lift the volatile stock above its IPO price.

A new player came on the scene in May, at least in the fictional world of PeerAmid Island. Daniel Ekcentric met with venture capitalists to pitch his idea for a new service called "Suckify," despite the Spotify fiasco. It was loosely patterned after another streaming service available only to PeerAmid Island residents called "Horrify," which could easily be rigged by well funded players with thousands of fake accounts.

On the surface, Ekcentric appeared to be a wacky hipster, with his rainbow-dyed hair. His idea for Suckify was a service that targeted disgruntled amateur musicians who were sick of pop music from the major labels. The revenue model was to charge novices $10 per month to upload as many suck songs as possible, so that hosts could joke about how bad the music sucked. He figured there are millions of people who want to be rock and rap stars yet suck, so why not exploit these segments of society?

Suckify would also include rudimentary software that allowed users to create and record songs on the spot. It did not matter to Ekcentric if the music turned out good or bad. All that mattered to him was to keep the subscriber base growing. Despite his ridiculous appearance in the public eye, behind the scenes he was very business-like with investors, trying to impress them that he was an old school conservative.

The venture capitalists decided to take a chance on Ekcentric's idea, so that it could be set up as a IPO. It didn't matter at all to investors if the stock price plunged after the IPO, since all they cared about was getting in early at a low price unavailable to the public. In Ekcentric's business plan, he called for his own annual salary to start at $1 million with stock options and a nice retirement package.

To kids hypnotized by both mainstream and underground music, Ekcentric seemed like a folk hero. But as time went on, they began to realize he was only in it for selfish reasons and clearly didn't care about music or musicians at all. As they read more about him on conspiracy theory websites, they learned he started out as a rip-off con artist in the 1990s, selling simple clunky web design services to ignorant business owners for $5,000 a pop.

Created by Alex Cosper