Spotify paying a pittance to its artists is nothing new. Various personal anecdotes have arisen decrying the service for paying out far too little to its artists, despite a staggering number of streams. Though this isn’t the only platform guilty of paying out too little, Spotify’s place as the top streaming platform and its recent valuation of over $8bn would suggest that it has the funds to pay out fairly. However, it still has yet to turn a profit, anyway.
Electronica act Portishead recently came out and revealed that they made approximately £1,700 after tax from over 34 million streams.
TIDAL prides itself on paying money to the smaller artists, but Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard would disagree.
“I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid”
It seems that as of right now, no one is doing it right, but everyone is giving it their best shot. The state of music streaming and revenue creation is in an extreme state of flux, where consumers don’t want to pay for piecemeal content, and artists feel like they’re not getting a fair piece of the pie. The labels are seemingly the only ones profiting from all of this, but I imagine that a financial report might reveal some losses on their side, too.
There was a shift at some point where music was seen less as an art and more as a commodity, and a cheap one at that. CDs cost approximately $12 per disc, single track downloads from iTunes cost $0.99, Beatport downloads cost $1.29, Spotify premium costs $10/mo for unlimited streaming without ads – until music regains its sense of value from consumers, I feel that this downward trend of paying for music could continue unabated. And what’s bad for artists will ultimately be bad for consumers.