Music Business

Debunking the 60,000 songs uploaded to Spotify a day myth [Bill Werde]

Bill Werde is a former Billboard Editorial Director and Director of The Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. So when he sets out to debunk a statistic that we’ve (and almost everyone else) have been sharing as fact, we listen.

Bill Werde

by Bill Werde. A version of this essay first appeared in his free, weekly Full Rate No Cap email.

This has become my pet peeve – a number that would seem to be nowhere close to true, yet repeated constantly. Debunking lazy conventional wisdom – especially when it’s passed off by credible media outlets as reporting- is part of why I’m at my keyboard each week. So let’s dive in. 

The “60,000 songs a day” phrase has become a mantra. 

Ed Sheeran said it when he took to social media to celebrate his court victory (:26 mark) a couple weeks ago. At around that same time, Rob Jonas, the CEO of Luminate, which used to be Nielsen Music, was paraphrased saying it to MarketWatchFreaking everyone says it all the time.  (Note:Jeremy Ehrlich, then co-head of music for Spotify (now full Head) confirmed 60k a day at Spotify’s “Stream on” event in February of 2021.) In fact, this has been on my mind because I published that number in this newsletter a couple weeks back.

And the number would appear to be nonsense.

This isn’t all that complicated. Today, on its website, Spotify says it has 82 million tracks, “including more than 3.6 million podcast titles.” Meanwhile, in November of 2020, Spotify was at 70 million tracks. Even if we include podcasts as tracks (which is kind of lazy, considering that everyone uses the “60k a day” figure to show how hard it is for artists to break through, but still…), and omit the starting month, that means that Spotify grew its catalog by 12 million tracks in 17 months. That’s 706k tracks per month.

At best, that comes out to be ≈ 23,000 tracks uploaded a day – a pretty far cry from 60k.

The rate may be accelerating during this period, but I find it essentially impossible to get the math anywhere close to 60k daily uploads. I encourage any of you, dear readers, to show me my mistake, and I will happily print it in my newsletter next week. Until then, let’s lay off the 60k/daily references.

Now see? Don’t all of you artists struggling to break through feel so much better? I just made it almost three times easier for you!

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