Demand Spotify to Increase Their Pay-Per-Stream Rate!

Demand Spotify to Increase Their Pay-Per-Stream Rate!

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Anthony L started this petition to Spotify and

Artists need approximately 438 streams on Spotify just to earn enough money to buy a box of Kraft Dinner – because the average Spotify royalty rate is $0.00331 per stream, according to the latest survey by The Trichordist and many other reputable sources. Now Spotify, Google, Pandora, and Amazon are actually appealing a US Copyright Royalty Board decision to raise those rates – a move artist advocates have described as “suing songwriters.”

When the coronavirus pandemic shut down the possibility of touring for the foreseeable future, cash-strapped musicians lost their most reliable way to make money. Revenue from streaming has always been small for many indie musicians, but now it is one of the few income sources available, along with sales of merch, physical records, and downloads on Bandcamp—a platform that has proven to be vastly more profitable for many indie musicians compared to large streaming services. According to artists, the pandemic is only exacerbating the inequities of a system that is rigged against the people who make it run. Under these dire circumstances, musicians are organizing through unions and other advocacy groups to fight for larger payments from streaming platforms.

How do streaming payments work?
Artists receive, on average, a small fraction of a cent for each time one of their songs are streamed on a major platform. A seemingly obvious fix would be for the platforms to simply increase this number. But while these tiny per-stream payments are a useful concept for identifying the problem, they’re not particularly useful for solving it, because they don’t reflect the mechanism by which the platforms actually distribute money.

According to a detailed survey of streaming payments by the music industry analytics company Soundcharts, streaming platforms pay out roughly 60 to 70 percent of their annual revenue to “rightsholders,” a group that includes musicians, record labels, songwriters, publishers—anyone who has a financial stake in the sales of a given record. Spotify, the most popular platform in the U.S. and globally, projected a total revenue between roughly $9 and $9.5 billion for 2020 in a recent letter to shareholders, which would make the total rightsholders’ take something like $6 billion for this year. That huge pile of money is then divvied up to artists (and their associated labels and so on) according to their stream counts as a fraction of the total streams on the platform for a given period. A single stream does not entitle a musician to a payment of some fixed amount; it entitles them to a slightly larger piece of the total rightsholders’ pie.

To understand why per-stream payments can be an unrepresentative metric, imagine no one streamed anything on Spotify for all of 2020, except for a single person who played, say, 100 gecs’ “Money Machine” a single time. As long as those hypothetical non-listeners didn’t cancel their subscriptions, and money kept rolling in to Spotify, that one play could earn 100 gecs millions of dollars, because it would entitle them to the whole pie.

Soundcharts offers another way of looking at it. Each time Spotify introduces a new feature aimed at keeping people listening for longer, like autoplaying similar artists after you finish an album, it sends the average per-stream figure down. That’s not because Spotify is suddenly skimping on payments, but because people are streaming more songs—and when people stream more songs, a single stream is equivalent to a smaller pie slice. That’s fine for established artists whose music is regularly recommended by these listener-retention features, because the dilution in value of a single stream is offset by an increase in streams. But for artists who aren’t being recommended, it means their streams are worth less. Spotify should absolutely treat their artists as something more valuable than a statistic within their company.

There’s no question music streaming services are raking in billions in revenues while paying next to nothing to the artists their businesses rely on – all the while cannibalizing what was left of the market for recorded music.

In conclusion, Sign this petition if you want the CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek to increase the payout per stream as artists are struggling to make it in this industry! We have the power to change the world, so how about you take action TODAY!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!