42% of 158M tracks on Spotify were played 10 or fewer times last year

67.1 million tracks were played ten or fewer times last year. That is 42.1% of the approximately 158 million tracks available on the top streamer.

38 million tracks on Spotify were not played even once in 2022.

These sobering stats came via a presentation at SXSW by Rob Jonas, CEO of entertainment data firm Luminate.

Why care?

Storing all those rarely listened-to tracks costs real money. So setting some threshold could save Spotify millions. Alternatively, Spotify could find a way to charge these underperforming artists directly or via their distributors something to keep their tracks on the system.

It’s an approach that the major labels, who have recently railed against clutter on the music services, would applaud.

But where does it begin and end?

Are 11 plays a year enough, or should it be 100 or 1000? And how will fans react? Will they migrate to a streaming service that kept its promise to “deliver all the music available for one month fee.”

Watch the full SXSW presentation here. H/T to MBW.

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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  1. Most of the music that is getting played has million dollar promotional campaigns behind the bands who created it – and their albums. Surely there should be a stronger effort to introduce Spotify listeners to alternative writers, artists, bands – rather than further penalize them with charges? If the indie artists leave – I promise you – Spotify will only further damage it’s reputation as a source for manufactured music.

    1. Those under performing artists DO pay a distributor to have their music on Spotify and all the rest. Maybe write a better algorithm.

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