By Hanna Silver
Apparently, someone from Spotify has read my review and has called it “grossly misleading”. They told me to look at spotifyartists.com , so I did. I read the section on how artists are paid, and have not found anything contrary to what I have written – only that it is spun differently. Whilst my article looks down upon Spotify’s shitty payouts from the artist’s point of view, their corporate website is written in an ALL HAIL OUR GOD, SPOTIFY, SAVIOUR OF MUSIC sort of way. One must be careful to realise that the entire website is trying to sell you something.
Currently, Spotify pays artists less than 70% of their total revenue. (On their website, they say “nearly 70%”. See how you can spin things either way?) They argue that as their subscriber numbers increase, so will the amount they will pay artists. They say this:
“Recently, these variables have led to an average “per stream” payout to rights holders of between $0.006 and $0.0084. This combines activity across our tiers of service. The effective average “per stream” payout generated by our Premium subscribers is considerably higher.
Again, we personally view “per stream” metrics as a highly flawed indication of our value to artists for several reasons. For one, our growing user population might listen to more music in a given month than the month before (resulting in a lower effective “per stream”), while generating far more aggregate royalties for artists. As with any subscription service, our primary goal is to attract and retain as many paying subscribers as we possibly can, and to pass along greater and greater royalties to the creators of the music in our service. Theoretically, another service could generate higher effective “per stream” payouts simply by having users who listen to far less music. We believe, however, that our service and the lives of artists will both be best if the World’s music fans enjoy more music than ever before in a legal, paid manner.”
Spotify are a corporation. If their business model cannot pay artists what their music is worth, then it is a flawed business model.
Imagine the food industry suddenly told farmers, “from now on we will only pay you one hundredth of what you were paid before.” Gradually, farming would cease to be a viable business. And then our food would come from where? How could it be made so cheaply, if the return is only one hundredth of what it once was?
Music is a basic human right. Fund the artists who make the music you love, so that they can keep doing it. Don’t fund the man who tells you you can have all this music because it is “legal”.