Depending on who you’re asking, Spotify is either a big green exploiting machine or a shiny, wonderful innovation.
After our years of torrenting music the idea of giving $9.99 a month to a bunch of megalomaniacs born with silver spoons in their mouths should justify a fair deal for the artists you’re streaming. However, Spotify currently pays signed artists $0.0044 per stream. That microscopic number isn’t going to make a dent in a band’s drug fund and even if you times it by 1,000 you’d have just enough for a McDonald’s meal from the saver menu.
Whilst DIY bands are rooting down the back of the sofa for a few quid to release an EP, Spotify is paying millions in lawsuits after making a dick move and not paying mechanical royalties. Unsigned bands get the shittier end of a shitty deal, bands at the bottom of the food chain earn $0.0038 per stream. So unless you’re Drake and earning $15million from the service, you’ll have to ask your mum for the drug money or work part-time in Pizza Express.
Not all doom and gloom.
Spotify can help not hinder new talent and unsigned bands. In spite of the seemingly unfair revenue from streams, it is a crucial platform for content distribution and with global reach. In hindsight maybe Spotify isn’t completely sucking the soul out of the industry after all. In 2016 ‘IFPI’ reported that the global music industry grew by 5.9%- fastest since 1997. [https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7775019/ifpi-global-report-2017-music-industry-highest-revenue-growth-decade] Taylor Swift might still be throwing a tantrum from her yacht in Maui but streaming is held accountable for 59% of music consumption and Spotify is the front runner.
So has it saved the industry? Slightly.