New Spotify royalty payment structure. All I can say is “I told you.”

Photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash

I used to do a music industry commentary segment called “The Beat Goes In” that aired live every week on The Mixtape Show hosted by DJ Kawon. In said segment (circa 2017–2019) I predicted many things about the entertainment business that have since come true.

One of my biggest contentions was against streaming services becoming the new and only medium for independent artists to release their music. Switching from physical copies to a digital streaming service that’s owned and backed by major labels puts too much equity and power in the hands of the same shady individuals that always take advantage of artists, to begin with.

I boldly claimed that if independent artists stopped acquiring their own distribution mechanisms and solely relied on these big corporate streaming services, it would effectively kill their ability to grow and solidify their base while being paid fractions of pennies per stream.

The payouts from all major streaming services were already terrible. Well, it just got much worse. Now the services are incentivizing artists to trade the ability to even earn those fractions of pennies for the “promise” of more visibility. These industry devils have been programming the masses to accept attention as the new currency for many years now. It was a long ball play that was setting up an even greater evil and a disservice to creatives who just want to make music and be heard.

Spotify is set to release a new feature that allows labels and artists to take a lower per-stream payment in exchange for an algorithmic boost.

This will disproportionately affect Hip-Hop artists. Especially Independent Hip-Hop artists. They know that what artists really want these days is to just be heard and get “credit” for the work they do behind the music they create. These industry sharks have conditioned creatives these days to be ignorant to the inner workings of the music business they strive to be a part of. They have made it clear what type of artist they want to take advantage of the most. When will we as a collective see it? Rhetorical question.

The major label aspect of the dying music business has firmly made it clear they will no longer invest in talent in exchange for signing “viral sensations” to enhanced 360 deals … (so they have low investment w/ high return)

This new “incentive” to get paid nothing for the music one creates will facilitate more garbage music getting more visibility over the creators who take the craft seriously. Again, this was all calculated. Smaller artists will lose again, and they need the royalty money the most to grow their brand. Spotify basically just admitted to the public that they can manipulate the algorithms whenever they want to fit whatever narrative benefits the shareholders the most at any given time.

This is just another version of the pay-to-play structure that has haunted this industry for decades now. I take no pleasure in saying this, but I told you!

Until next time, I said my piece!

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