I don't have a great deal of faith in most commentators. I tend to believe that if they had true insight they'd be commented on rather than commenting on. But the Christmas/New Year break forces the meeja into its annual seasonal bout of airspace-padding prognostication, and this year, whether or not the music industry has come to terms with the digital world featured in several discussions.
I've never found Spotify particularly welcoming, and I'd deleted the apps and not used it for the past 18 months or so, but the discussions prompted me to give it another look. As I was dipping my toe in the water again, Martin tweeted a link to his Best of 2013 Playlist, so I gave that a spin. My gut feeling is that Martin's list reflects the dire god-awful mumfordandsonsness of the 2013 music scene rather well, but buried in there was a gem - Public Service Broadcasting.
After my recent disappointment with the vacuousness of The 1975 this was a pleasant surprise. Which is where Spotify kicks in. Following the link to the artist page allowed me to listen to several more tracks (after which I was sufficiently interested to go over to YouTube to check them out). For me, YouTube still beats Spotify for music discovery (because it's more open - I'm sure Martin will have something to say about that), but the artist page took me to their gig listing without a Google search (which should worry Google), and presumably gave Spotify a slice of the action when I found out they are playing the O2 on 16th April and bought tickets. This is real engagement - gigs not facebook likes. I'm not under the illusion that Spotify is any less evil than Google, and renting music rather than buying stuff I like is too expensive for a tightwad like me. I am slightly surprised that Spotify has survived, and that makes me think the music industry maybe is coming to terms with digital. And that maybe the commentators got this one right.
And what does all this have to do with the disintermediation of higher education? Not much, apart from the obvious parallel between artists and teaching adjuncts. But unlike bands, our new generation of pedagogic troubadours cannot easily sell their art to the highest bidder via iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. Indentured servitude is still the way of the ivory tower.