Spotify is testing a brand new function to show artists
Spotify gives artists the ability to get less per stream for more exposure – by promoting their tracks in your personalized playlists.
The platform introduces its latest feature in a press release and describes a “complicated” system that artists use to gain control of their music. For a fee, Spotify will begin shopping for an individual and pull them into a number of playlists, including the popular and evolving Discover Weekly. Whether the music starts or not is up to the listener.
If the songs resonate with the listeners, we will continue to try them out in similar sessions. If the songs don’t do well, they are quickly withdrawn. Listener satisfaction is our priority – we don’t guarantee placement with labels or artists, and only ever recommend music that we believe listeners would want to hear.
The new algorithmic feature is a breeze for artists and labels looking for more streaming – as long as they don’t mind cutting their salaries. Spotify states, “Labels or rights holders agree to pay an advertising revenue license fee for streams in personalized listening sessions in which we have provided this service.”
Spotify justifies the process as such:
Artists tell us they want more ways to connect with new listeners, and we believe our recommendations should be informed by artists too – their priorities and what they have to say about their music. And soon we’ll be launching a test of a service that gives artists a say in discovering their music.
While still testing, Spotify has a lot to learn about the new initiative, this could absolutely change everything about music discovery. Sure, this could be a great tool for artists of all levels hoping to be discovered through the platform – but at what price? Shouldn’t Spotify give artists these opportunities to make the platform as sophisticated and algorithmic as possible? We’re not saying we have the answers, but we have to ask the questions.
And, at best, this new feature could really help independent artists looking for more notoriety, and ultimately earn them more royalties overall. Spotify, however, is already notoriously paying its rightsholders fractions of cents per game (roughly $ 0.00331- $ 0.00437) – and sometimes that figure gets further between the label, producer (s), writer (s) and artist (s) divided up. More about the wage rates here.
In the worst case scenario, enough artists choose the new feature that it becomes a situation where “if everyone is special, it’s nobody,” resulting in a nearly identical listening experience and Spotify pays lower overall royalties.
Interestingly, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers recently launched their “Justice on Spotify” campaign, which introduced a new payment model and called for at least one cent per stream. The open letter read: “… we artists continue to be underpaid, misled and otherwise exploited by the company.”
It should also be noted that there are many other factors that go into Spotify’s personal recommendations – “artist input” is just one of them. More about it here.
Source: The Fader, press release: Spotify | Photo illustration by Thomas Trutschel / Photothek via Getty Image