Despite and because of its popularity, utility, and deep catalog, Spotify typifies the best and worst elements of the internet. Earlier today, Pitchfork released How to Be a Responsible Music Fan in the Age of Spotify, a short video (below) that details the finer points of how a service with 140 million active users and 70 million paid subscribers is essentially a corporation-friendly refinement of file sharing, and a perfect illustration of the folly of trickle-down economics. To say nothing of the damage the service and others like it have done to music culture and commerce as a whole.
The video is a good primer on the relevant issues that many good writers and critics have been raising for years now. If you're looking for a deeper and more damning dive, you should check out "Discover Weakly," a Baffler article by the brilliant music writer Liz Pelly (whose ongoing coverage of Spotify is essential reading) that takes aim at the negative influence of Spotify's playlisting practices. The question in the pull-quote is a good indicator: "Is streaming culture merely reflective of a relentlessly male-centric status quo, or is it shifting us back toward a more homogenous and overtly masculine pop music culture?"