Mike’s and Kevin’s Week in Tech: Streaming Music and Harassment in Venture Capital

Mike: Hmm, I may come to regret this decision. O.K., on with the show!

So this was kind of an insane week in tech news, which is something I’ve grown accustomed to saying regularly in 2017. Over at Pandora, the chief executive stepped down, marking the end of an era for the struggling music company. It’s hard out there for a streaming music service when Pandora’s original offering has already been overtaken and subsumed into the stuff Spotify and Apple Music offer, but with even more perks alongside of it.

An aside: Jay Z dropped his new album, “4:44,” on Friday at midnight. Half my Twitter feed was filled with people lauding it, so I decided to sign up for Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Jay Z, to listen to the album. Right now, Tidal has an exclusive on the album, which is a smart way for Jay Z to get more people to sign up for his service, which is far less popular than Spotify or Apple Music.

But then I got this notification, which told me that I couldn’t listen to the new album if I signed up for a free trial of Tidal after the record was released. Apparently you have to be either an existing subscriber or a Sprint customer to listen to it.

It made me so mad I immediately canceled my subscription. Why is the music industry so broken, man? I can’t deal with it.

Kevin: I believe the technical music industry term for what happened to you is “playing yourself.”

But you’re not wrong — the entire business model of music streaming services is wild, as evidenced by the fact that even Spotify, the most successful streaming service in existence, lost more than $600 million last year. $600 million!

The only reason this business works at all is because investors keep pouring billions of dollars into it, in hopes these companies will eventually make money and pay them back. So basically, we have venture capitalists to thank for our infinite supply of Justin Bieber covers.

Mike: Well, I still feel awful, but at least I know I can still blame V.C.s for most of my life’s problems.

In other news, an insane and scary new malware attack spread quickly to infect many institutional networks this week, which makes me want to abscond to living in a cave in the woods. Kevin, tell me what I should do.

Kevin: Well, we work at The Times, which — as I’ve learned in the process of setting up various accounts and devices on the corporate network over the past…

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