Spotify’s Paid Promotion Tool Is Called Marquee and Artists, Indie Labels Can’t Afford To Use It

In October, Spotify announced the addition of a new “pay per click” ad placement that allows artists and labels to announce new releases to both free and paid subscribers as part of a new “two-sided marketplace” strategy. 

The placement marks the first time that Spotify has allowed paid promotion on its Premium service.

Details of the product, called Marquee, are starting to emerge including a price point that’s out of reach for most musicians and independent labels.

Marquee will cost 55 cents every time a use clicks on the release announcement, and Spotify is recommending a $5000 minimum buy-in. That means that for $5000, potentially 9000 people will stream to the new track or album.

Not 9000 99 cents track downloads, $10 album purchases of $30 concert tickets. 9000 people may stream the new music.

$5000 Ad Spend Nets $32.40 In Streaming Revenue

Using indie artist Zoe Keating’s latest Spotify payment rate of $0.0036 per stream, that $5000’s spent to earn $32.40. Let’s assume the release was an album and every one of those 9000 clicks resulted in a 10 track album being streamed, that’s a $5000 spend to earn at most $324.

“Spotify is saying, ‘we want you to pay us to display your records.’ All this does is continue what payola always has done – the major labels, which have the most money and the most frequent releases, get the most play, consolidating the amount of art that is put out there, ” George Howard, a professor of music business at Berklee College of Music told Rolling Stone.

Charleton Lamb, a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Spotify retorts: “We’re hopeful that our recommendations are useful, that we’re able to match [artists] with people who are going to be interested. But you’re not paying for streams. Every listener has the choice to either engage or not.”

Using Marquee To Game The Charts

One advantage of using Marquee is that clicks on the announcement mean more streams and more streams mean higher chart placement on Billboard and elsewhere.

That is until Billboard decides – as it did this Fall with YouTube – to stop counting streams that come as a direct result of a paid placement.

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