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Comedy rapper on Spotify fence

David Rosen’s conflicted about the dust currently gathering on his record collection in a soot of neglect.

It’s been accumulating of late thanks to the recent U.S. introduction of a music streaming service Spotify, which allows listeners unlimited access to a broad library of tunes.

“Since Spotify came out, I honestly haven’t touched any of my CDs,” Rosen says. “I just listen to it nonstop. I definitely do love it.”

But Rosen doesn’t just consume music, he creates it as well in a variety of tongue-in-cheek rap troupes such as FA-COCK-TA, D-Mize & Dee. Rockz, and MC Randumb & Jewish Dave.

And here’s where the ambivalence comes in.

Rosen’s had a half-dozen of his discs on Spotify since April 2010, when it was still available only in Europe.

Since then, Spotify has been embraced by millions of music fans for its convenience, breadth of offerings, low cost (you can listen for free if you so choose, though there are pay options for higher quality, commercial-free streams) and its legitimacy, with music officially licensed from labels.

But what of those who create said music to begin with?

There are benefits, namely in the spreading of an artist’s catalog to a potentially massive listenership.

“When I look at the charts of how many plays I’ve been getting, clearly it’s out there and people do listen and they’re from all over the world,” Rosen says. “It’s cool to have a channel that kind of just feeds itself in a way where people just discover it one way or another.”

But while Spotify does pay a small royalty per stream — a fraction of a penny per spin — it would take 4 million streams a month just for an artist to earn the equivalent of minimum wage.

And so in a time when it’s increasingly hard for musicians to make money off their music, Spotify doesn’t seem like it will help much, though in theory, hearing a song in that context could spur listeners to then buy an artist’s CD.

“It does suck in a way that you could be making your 5 to 10 bucks for selling the album versus 40 cents for listening on Spotify,” Rosen says. “It’s going to be a huge change for the music business. I don’t really think there’s a choice. We all just kind of have to find some way to embrace it and make the most of it.”

But while Rosen may remain on the fence about Spotify as a musician, the comedy rapper does manage to get a little extra use out of the service, turning it into his bread and butter: a punch line.

“I really did make a million dollars on Spotify,” he raps on “Murder is Reality” off a forthcoming MC Randumb & Jewish Dave disc. “But I took the money, bought some weed and then sat around and just got high.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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