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Does feel a bit like the breathless reporting on individual indie labels leaving while thousands remain is missing the forest for the trees.




One thing Spotify could do is post what indie labels it has been paying money to. Artists only get paid when someone streams their music - as far as I know, they don't get up-front payments just for being on Spotify. If an artist's music isn't streamed, that artist doesn't get paid. Spotify could post the top labels streamed and we might see whether those who are complaining aren't getting streamed (much).

Michael J. Epstein

I do take issue with rates negotiated individually. I think this system NEEDS to be equal payment to all artists - based on number or songs or duration or some combination of those things. That is not something I feel comfortable budging on because ultimately, it means that big labels make a lot of money and smaller acts essentially have no choice but to join in at whatever rate Spotify decides is appropriate.

Matt D.

Why doesn't Spotify just open their books and show us who/what is getting paid? If I knew it was monetarily beneficial to musicians/artists everywhere this argument would be over! Why not be transparent instead of all these non-disclosing press releases?

Spotify is a supplement to any artists master usage anyways. Lets just find out right now, rather than later, if they're helping or hurting the future of music.


because they legally cant.


What's very strange is that if all payment were equal between major artists and indie artists then the majors would still make more because they are more well known and have a bigger fan base already.

Free album download at www.facebook.com/chancius

Michael J. Epstein

I'd hardly call it a supplement so much as it's primarily a replacement for sales. I am not going to buy music that I have access to on Spotify.

Chris Duncan

I think you're missing the point a little - they are paying every label/distributor that they're working with... it all depends on how many streams they receive.


"We have paid over $100m to rights holders since our launch,and the overwhelming majority of our label partners are thrilled with the revenues we're returning to them."

That may be true, but what's the breakdown? Who exactly is getting the money? The “label partners” are pleased because they are getting paid money from all of their artists, so their aggregate sum is probably a nice pile of cash. But what are the artists, the people who actually make the music, getting paid??? I'd like to see more bands/artists reveal the amazing amount of money Spotify is paying them…

Lewis Black

Spotify and $100m:

Sony: $20m +
WMG: $20m +
EMI: $20m +
Universal: $20m +
Select indies(Merlin): $5 m+

You gotta give majors credit, as they've figured out quite the scam, here.


Where are you pulling these numbers? They're untrue.


Yeah. Something is wrong with those numbers; too much money for the indies.


I think those numbers are accurate and in the form of advances, mostly.

Labels know there is only upfront money on streaming, not much backend money.

Crazy that this is happening not just at Spotify, but most other streamer websites: Rdio, Rhapsody, etc.


Regardless, 100m combined paid to EVERY provider and rights-holder divides to a very small amount for everyone involved. However, Spotify's low pay to all involved doesn't seem to be bothering the majors so the bulk of that 100m must be going somewhere.


You're right: I seem to be mixing Artist and Label/Distributor. I don't know whether a label/distributor passes the payment per stream to the owning artist or pays all artists for music streamed. In the case of Indie labels, I believe the former is actually the case: Spotify pays the label per stream, the label takes a cut and pays the artist, possibly in a combined payment for all the artist's tracks streamed.

In any case, what I am saying is that pay-per-stream is similar to popularity and the ability of people to discover that artist. I figured Spotify wouldn't post individual artists but it could post labels. What would invalidate my argument is that the most popular labels (and their artists) aren't making much money compared to, say, mp3 sales.


I guess that depends on your subscription plan with Spotify. For on-demand music services like Spotify, MOG and Rhapsody, I agree that the virtual collection replaces the real collection. For "personal radio" services like Pandora perhaps the user has no collection (or doesn't like maintaining long playlists).

Lawrence Genova

Gaining exposure but with lack of compensation on a popular website like Spotify is still better than gaining no exposure at all on a popular website like Pandora.


is this true?

Major record labels own part of Spotify - Sony BMG Music, Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI and Merlin all owners of Spotify.


Bruce Houghton

Yes the major labels are shareholders in Spotify.


1) $20m x 4 majors as above = $80m

+$5m for indies = $85m

So in your $100m model, where's the other $15m going? Paying $5m to Sean Parker for each time he looks Daniel Ek in the eye during their f8 interview?

2) For years the majors have controlled (about) 80% of the recorded music industry - mainly through releasing as many acts as they can with bigger marketing budgets than the indies, not to mention individual bands/artists. That's scale - not a scam. Lady Gaga and co will have more streams (and therefore a bigger pie slice) that Joe Bloggs and the Nobody Band because she has access to mainstream traditional media channels (TV / radio etc) that do still have a lot of influence - whereas Joe Bloggs has a couple of well-meaning friends and his mum listening, and nobody else.

The music industry, like life in general, isn't fair. If the next guy can reach more people / get more fans than you, he'll make more money from all his income streams. And to complain about it is akin to taking a fart to a shit fight, then bitching because you didn't win.

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