Music Business

New Spotify Tool Gives Artists Less Money For More Promotion [VIDEO]

Spotify’s new tool offers artists the option of giving some of their songs preferential algorithm treatment, making the songs is more likely to be heard – unfortunately, these priority songs will also make the artist less money per stream.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Boasting the promise of greater algorithmic consideration, the latest Spotify tool appears to be a modern ‘Pay 2 Play’ scheme.

On Monday, November 2, Spotify announced a new tool for artists that promises preferential algorithmic treatment for songs dubbed ‘priority.’ That is all good and well, as most artists would love more people to hear their music platform. However, the offer comes with a MAJOR catch. 

“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 personalized listening sessions,” the statement reads. “This allows our algorithms to account for what’s important to the artist.”

Every song marked as priority will have a lower royalty rate. Artists will make less money per stream for songs that participate in Spotify’s new program. That’s a significant problem when you consider that the company typically only pays $0.004 per stream (on average).

To quote the company:

“Labels or rights holders agree to be paid a promotional recording royalty rate for streams in personalized listening sessions where we provided this service.”

The company also adds that the new program “won’t guarantee placement to labels or artists.”

In this Music Biz update, host James Shotwell breaks down Spotify’s latest offer. He weighs the pros and cons of participation in the ‘priority track’ promotion and what this development tells us about the company’s future. Check it out:

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Just last week, over 4,000 independent artists in the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers presented a new campaign demanding that Spotify pay at least one cent per stream, among other requests for a more equitable streaming environment. “Music workers create all of the enormous wealth Spotify accumulates for its CEO, its investors, and the major labels,” the Union wrote in an open letter. “But we artists continue to be underpaid, misled, and otherwise exploited by the company.”

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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  1. This is extremely stupid. You don’t understand the point and your only argument is “gimme more money Spotify”. First, how else you promote your music? You know “promotion” is the thing we do to let people know about our music. Promotion costs money, are you aware of that? You are clearly not. So your alternative is PAYING for ads (for example, on Facebook) to get your music heard by potential fans. This idea from Spotify is totally cool because you get EXTRA plays without ANY effort!!! You don’t need to learn how to run ads and create the ads and test the ads, etc. Those extra plays are literally bringing you new plays, potentially new fans. Spotify is not taking away anything, it GIVES you a promotion service, and they even found a way to make it accessible for literally every musician. It’s just really stupid to presume that it won’t bring you new fans. If you are running Facebook ads, it’s also not guaranteed that people who see your ads will be your fans. This is called PROMOTION or MARKETING. YES, IT COSTS MONEY. Big news: It ALWAYS costs money!!! There is literally NO WAY to promote ANYTHING for free today. Don’t get me wrong, I do want us to get more money per stream, instead of making the CEO richer, but this video is stupid because you don’t understand the point. This new service has NOTHING to do with how much money we get for a stream.

    1. John,
      You write like a 9-year-old with severe ADHD. Grab a couple valium and head back to school buddy. Literacy takes time and hard work, but you can do it!

  2. John,
    You write like a 9-year-old with severe ADHD. Grab a couple valium and head back to school buddy. Literacy takes time and hard work, but you can do it!

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