One bloody week after a campaign was launched to pay artists better royalties, Spotify have decided to incentivise artists to accept lower royalties in exchange for a ‘boost’.
In a statement, Spotify said that the boost will apply to the algorithm that determines radio and autoplay on the app. So basically, an artist can say I want this particular song boosted, and the algorithm will prioritise it in Spotify radio and autoplay sessions.
“In this new experiment, artists and labels can identify music that’s a priority for them, and our system will add that signal to the algorithm that determines personalised listening sessions,” the statement reads.
The worst part is that even with the boost, accepting the lower royalties “won’t guarantee placement to labels or artists.”
The news has caused a fair bit of upheaval on Twitter, as it’s a bit like dangling a carrot and then pulling it away.
Oh, you want higher royalties? What about exposure and lower royalties instead?
A more accurate way to describe this is “if you don’t give up part of your royalties Spotify is gonna throttle your exposure” this shit basically artist extortion https://t.co/9g07J2lCOZ
— Trip Rexx (@triprexx) November 3, 2020
Hey @Spotify, stop trying to pay us less. Seriously. What the fuck is this payola bullshit???
Exposure? Really bro? How about not taking your employees on luxury vacations.
We need the money after our songs.
– every musician
— Myon (@MyonMuzik) November 3, 2020
In the not too distant future all artist royalties paid by Spotify will look like this pic.twitter.com/sEkBjTNQGI
— Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) November 3, 2020
We can also look at this as Spotify essentially throttling artists visibility if they don’t agree to let Spotify keep more of their money.
This is literally extortion.
— Braydon Stachel (@braydonstachel) November 2, 2020
Last week, a campaign was launched by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers demanding that Spotify pay artists at least one cent per stream. The petition currently has 15,000 signatures.
To put it into perspective, artists are only getting paid around $0.004 to $0.007 per stream, according to Business Insider. That means you’d have to be hitting about 632,656 Spotify streams per month to hit the pre-corona JobSeeker wage of $500 a fortnight. YIKES.
When you think about the amount of work that goes into making music, working with record labels, music distribution, playing gigs, publicity etc it seems like a really, really shitty deal.
According to Music Australia, the Australian music industry contributes $4 to $6 billion to the Australian economy. But did you know that 56% of all Australian musicians earn less than $10,000 for their creative income?
Musicians have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, many have lost their incomes and even their livelihoods.