Spotify

Spotify Will Not Be Offering Penny Per Stream Royalties To Artists

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(Hypebot) — In the wake of massive global protests by artist rights advocates at the company’s many offices, it appears Spotify is still unwilling to offer the much demanded ‘penny per stream’ royalty increase to artists.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Following massive global protests at the company’s many offices, Spotify has responded to demands that they make a significant increase to their per-stream royalty payments.

Artists everywhere rely on streaming revenue to pay their bills. That is more true now than at any other point in time. With touring still on hold for most of the world, streaming revenue makes up the bulk share of an artist’s earnings from recorded music. Demand for higher royalty rates will probably always exist, but recently, one such demand actually received a response from the leading music streaming service.

In March, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) organized the protests for higher royalty rates and additional transparency, including a demonstration outside of Spotify’s World Trade Center offices. Many individuals turned up at the latter event, photos and footage show, with the vast majority of the participants appearing to have either played an instrument or carried a sign.

Among the many demands being made, the loudest and most widely shared is a drastic increase in per-stream royalty payments. The current model offers musicians roughly $0.004 per stream, which many believe is too low. Artists present at the protest want that rate raised to $0.01 per stream. It’s a rate anyone can understand, but it would mean a significant hit to the streaming giant’s revenue.

In a response to UMAW, Spotify denied the request. 

The UMAW detailed the company’s formal follow-up in a lengthy chain of tweets, indicating first: “Spotify has issued a response attempting to address some of our demands. We are pleased that Spotify has recognized the legitimacy of UMAW and the artists around the world who are demanding better payment and treatment.

The union’s response continues: “However, Spotify has failed to meet any of our demands. The company consistently deflects blame onto others for systems it has itself built, and from which it has created its nearly $70 billion valuations.”

Spotify also responded with the launch of a new site aimed at increasing transparency. That site — Loud And Clear — provides insights into how the company works and how many artists earn a livable wage through the platform.


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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