Spotify is here to stay for the moment, but I think the more screwed over larger artists get by the platform and the more they feel they have to bend over backwards to please its algorithm, the more they’ll grumble in public about it and the tide could turn. Everyone’s playing happy families at the moment but I don’t think it’s going to last.
I think, particularly in ‘alternative’ communities that still use the likes of Bandcamp, there’s a huge market for a very transparent and very fair streaming service that rewards number of plays to royalties paid out (eg if you’re streaming Ryuichi Sakamoto or Forest Swords or whoever for an hour a day, they’ll get x percentage of your subscription – your money doesn’t go towards anywhere else). As I said before, Spotify isn’t set up like this and so even if you stream an artist all day it might not correlate to the royalties they get. It’s very confusing, and I don’t think consumers even understand that.
Unfortunately licensing seems really complex, but I think if there was an indie-focused that had all the larger and smaller ones on board (eg Warp/Ninja Tune/Sub Pop/Kobalt as well as bedroom labels) then it’d be an absolute gamechanger. I would sign up in a heartbeat.