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Spotify Ad Draws Criticism over How It (Under)Pays Musicians

11 April 2019

From TNW:

Spotify tweeted an ad for its new partnership with Hulu, along with a comment about “budgets.” Several people, including one particularly savage songwriter, pointed out the company shouldn’t be the one to talk about money when it offers such a paltry sum to the artists whose music it hosts.

The ad itself isn’t anything terribly insensitive. Spotify announced its new bundle a few weeks ago — which gives Premium users a free Hulu subscription — and the ad was promoting this. It shows two different shows and songs for “Payday” and “Rent’s Due,” and then says “Feel more of what you’re feeling.” The tweet itself says “What’s a budget, anyway?” which is a bit of an odd caption considering you’d think this deal would be perfect for those with a budget.

. . . .

But as several users responded, Spotify should really think twice before mentioning budgets, considering the price artists’ pay for the company’s low prices.

. . . .

As he pointed out, Spotify streams earn artists exceptionally little money. Spotify, in Lowery’s words, spends a great deal of its money on things such as its pricey offices, and it’s currently appealing the rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board in an effort to pay even less.

. . . .

Lowery and singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick both sued Spotify in 2015 for distributing songs without paying the proper licensing fees. Spotify’s go-to defense at the time was that it was putting aside money to pay rightsholders — it just had insufficient information on who the rightsholders were in this case. The lawsuit was settled in 2017, with Spotify setting up a $43.4 million fund to pay for those whose rights had been infringed.

Link to the rest at TNW

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6 Comments to “Spotify Ad Draws Criticism over How It (Under)Pays Musicians”

  1. This is another easy fix. If the rights holders to 90% of music withdrew it from the market, pay for the remaining 10% would increase.

    Competition holds down prices. The competition for musicians is all the other musicians. Just like widgets.

  2. Hmm, I’m scratching my head over the problem here …

    “As he pointed out, Spotify streams earn artists exceptionally little money.”

    If Spotify isn’t offering/paying enough for your songs – tell them not to offer your tunes.

    “Lowery and singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick both sued Spotify in 2015 for distributing songs without paying the proper licensing fees.”

    If Spotify offers your tunes without the rights to – sue them.

    Of course like Amazon’s KU, many of those claiming to have issues won’t ‘vote’ by dropping out as there is ‘some’ money coming in …

    (As I can’t carry a tune in a bucket and don’t stream I don’t have a lame horse in this race, 200 CD changer just switched to a Billy Joel disk – which I paid for only once – secondhand …)

  3. Try comparing streaming music payout rates from Spotify, Amazon, Apple, et al to the payouts from Radio. See how they compare. (Hint: they’re comparable. If anything, streaming pays more than radio ever did.)

    Also, this:

    https://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2019/02/2018-streaming-price-bible-per-stream-rates-drop-but-streaming-volume-grows-plus-youtubes-value-gap-.html

    • There is admittedly a difference between the radio and one of the streaming services. Artists got paid for radio airplay, but it was also a form of advertising: people would here the song on the radio, then go out and buy the single or the album so they could hear it whenever they wanted. With a streaming service, however, people stream the song so that they don’t need to go out and buy it. It costs the artist sales rather than promoting them.

      This isn’t to say that Spotify is necessarily cheating the artists or that it doesn’t work out to be a good deal for many of them; I have no idea how that calculation works out. But I do think that radio and streaming services can’t really be compared in that way.

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