‘What I earned from one million plays on Spotify’

‘What I earned from one million plays on Spotify’


norman lebrecht

November 08, 2013

The Finnish pop singer Anssi Kela has a hit on his hands. Called Restless Girl, it got one million plays over four months on Spotify (total number of Finns in the world: 5 million).

Anssi has decided to go public on his Spotify earnigs. At 0.02 Euroe cents per play, he was paid 2,300 Euros (US$3,200) before tax. Anssi has now joined the bandwaggon of Radiohead-led musicians who are pulling their tracks off the music-sharing service.

UPDATE: Industry sources say Anssi’s figure may be the amount he received after his record company, Sony Music, took its cut. Even if it were ten times as much, however, it would still be pathetic for a million-play hit. In other news, Spotify is trying to raise fresh tech investment in California.



  • Alex says:

    Good decision. How much gets Spotify?

  • and yet he’s happy to have it on Youtube – where, because of the advertising attached to the video, 2million hits would result in about £1,500 in revenue through the current licensing schemes. This, then would only go to the artist/record label if they’ve actually registered their interest as copyright holders – which not many people are aware they have to do.

  • Martin says:

    1 million listeners on Spotify does not nearly equal 1 million record purchases.

    To enable a better judgement one would need to know how many different people have listened to that song on Spotify and how many of them more than once. The ones who only listened once, probably would not have bought the record anyway. Others might just turn back to record songs from the radio broadcasts.

      • jesse says:

        and you two are why music is no longer something people can do as a career, thanks. Let me know when i can come by to shit in your cornflakes.

        • Martin says:

          So, Jesse, am I a Spotify subscriber, am I not buying any records or supporting music projects? You’re wring The answers are no, no and no. Rethink.

          Think about how many concerts I’ve attened or how much money I’ve spent after listening “free stuff”.

        • Huw says:

          I do music as a career, and I’m a massive Spotify supporter. People who are against it don’t really seem to get it, Martin is right entirely. People need to start embracing these streaming services!!

          It also saves me a lot of money, as a musician, when I need to learn tracks, or reference tracks. It’s win win win win.

          • Does ‘I do music as a career’ mean ‘I’m a professional musician’?

          • Huw Beynon says:


          • Plentitude says:

            Is any of you material on spottily?

          • Ultimate Web Troll says:

            “I do music as a career..”

            in a cover band, i bet.

          • Huw Beynon says:

            Living up to your name I see…

            Yes some material that I’ve played on is on Spotify, it has a reasonably high play count, it generates more money than when it gets played on national radio to more listeners.

            No, it’s not in a cover band. But even if it was, would that make my point any less valid? I doubt it.

          • Lc. says:

            Is that pronounced like ‘Hugh’?

          • mikefoyle says:

            I’ve been a professional music producer releasing music for the last 10 years and I’m very much in favour of streaming services like Spotify. The digital revolution made it very difficult to make money from releasing music – sure. But the entire structure of the industry has changed now. Services like Spotify, Youtube, iTunes, Facebook, Twitter etc are incredible tools which can lead to IMMENSE exposure for even relatively unknown musicians. These musicians would have had to rely on Gigs, TV and Radio for exposure back in the day. Today’s system is much fairer. The good musicians get the exposure they deserve. People share the music they like which draws other people’s attention to it. This exposure results in an artist or band getting more gigs – and this is where the money is. Today’s system also means that a much wider variety of music is EASILY available to find and listen to. The distribution of exposure is not purely based on how much money is pumped into promotion and playlist spots. Obviously we haven’t quite broken out of all of that yet – there is still a lot of crap music with way too much money behind it doing very well. But I like the direction it’s going in.

            This dude who got a million listens on Spotify – guess what, he also got royalties from his itunes, beatport etc, physical CD sales, compilation appearances, tv plays, radio plays, youtube, then the big one, GIGS! Times are changing. Today’s music industry is turning into one which distributes royalties fairly amoungst passionate musicians who create good music across the spectrum rather than just making a few greedy people rich while others never make a penny.

            I for one think that the industry is changing for the better.

            And yes, I’m on Spotify. If you look up “Mike Foyle” that’s me. My music isn’t to everyones tastes by any measure and I’m not claiming to be anything special. But one of the comments above seemed to criticise the last musician who dared to comment for not having music present on Spotify so I just wanted to get in there and negate that comeback before it was made.


          • Daniel Saner says:

            You are absolutely right, Mike. Spotify plays and royalties need to be seen in context, they don’t happen in isolation. That people are comparing Spotify royalties to minimum wage, arguing how you can’t make a living off them, just confirms that many industry insiders still don’t really understand this digital world. Or did artists before the days of the Internet expect to be able to make a living off radio airplay royalties alone, excluding record sales or gigs or merchandise? Of course not. There is, of course, the difference of on-demand vs. broadcast; but streaming services are still an incredible tool of promotion which no doubt can considerably drive the sales of records and tickets. For me personally, having unlimited access to Spotify’s library has massively increased my monthly spending on records, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  • Tony says:

    Lol remove it from the service and people will just download this for free… Release it on vinyl and then they would have no other choice but to buy one along with a turntable. Although you could just record vinyl to WAV but it wouldn’t be the same. The internet has destroyed music get a new profession.

  • Jussi Karjalainen says:

    Thing that they didnt translate from his original blog-post is the fact that majority of those royalties came from the small group of people, who were paying money for the Spotify as PREMIUM members. I think this is the most IMPORTANT point, and they didn´t want to tell it. And, Anssi´s music is still in Spotify.

  • Jussi Karjalainen says:

    Of course he was not happy with the situation, BUT he makes a point here…

  • Jussi Karjalainen says:


    Original text, you can try to google translate it. Doesn´t work very well on finnish language…

  • rleone says:

    linked article/data cites .002 Euro as rate, this blog cites .02 Euros.

    those pesky decimals…

  • Anon says:

    Say he had a CD release, and Spotify et al didn’t exist.

    His royalty might equate to 20% less deductions and after costs recouped. Say £0.50 per unit sold. Broad figures, sell 5,000 copies to get the same income he’s just had (2,300).

    He’d probably have 10 tracks on a CD, so he’s actually sold 10x the number of songs for that income: 50,000 songs. And I suggest if the song is a hit people really want to have, then over a lifetime of having the physical CD they would listen to it at least 20 times, probably more.

    So total song plays = 50k*20 = 1m.

    That’s rough and ready, but suggests that 1m listens equating to 2,300 in income isn’t too out of order. Certainly not pathetic.

    Remember too that Spotify isn’t the leading streaming service in many countries and isn’t the only streaming service in most – so Spotify-only income is a bit like asking for the CD-sales income from HMV only.

    • Robert says:

      This is a ridiculous argument. The mechanical royalty alone on an album manufactured is FAR more than what spotify pays. And that’s not even sold that’s just manufactured. Once you factor in sales and at this point many deals are not 80/20 but 50/50 and many albums licensed the spotify rate is a joke.

      • Lsilver says:

        One play on the radio in the UK to 5m listeners would make him around 100 euros. So a million people hearing it individually for 2,300euros seems like a good result. The question is does Spotify replace records.because it is on demand? Or is it like radio that the listener controls? I think we have to accept streamings here and musicians need to apply pressure to generate more from it. What is the value of music? Remember, that when pop first took off The Beatles were on something like 3%. The period when astronomical amounts were being made from sales took a while to arrive. Also, you could see a band live for 50p in the late 80s. The cost of attending a gig, merch and everything relative to income has rocketed. The music economy has shifted but the top 5% of artists is probably making as much as it always has.

        • I don’t know about music industry (and to tell the truth I don’t care!)… I am not from the people that hear a lot of music, and as most of my friends do now, they watch/hear music from youtube (a lot of wasted video, if you don’t care to see it again and again, though -and problems with internet connection when lines are in heavy traffic – happens a lot at work!!) – noone is buying CDs and other Hard-Copies of songs (in works case people steal them (black market / download etc), which is something i disagree!)…

          Before a few days I learned about spotify. I am premium member (free for this month, but I dont care to pay 7€/month and having open the sportify almost 12 hour per day (on work, on home, on my mobile))… Other people that I’ve talk have the same opinion! .. Finally i can hear my favorite kind of music (vocal trance) without advertisements, in good quality, all the time – in pc and on mobile on the road with a 3G (which here is quite expensive connection – youtube can’t be used that way due to the cost, and the battery drop down due to video!)!…

          I believe that if Artists supports such low-cost-end-users services, they can benefit a lot… Even 12*7 = 84€/year (120$) per user in music industry (which I have never paid a cent, but now I’m willing to pay!), is far far more better than just nothing (talking about me, my friends etc!)… Not to say, that depending the popularity of these services (and this depends from the artists) and the cost there are many many possibilities from even the not-known-to-public, and poor-but-good artists to make a career…. I may be wrong, but that’s my point of view 🙂 … Have a nice day! 😀

  • Alex says:

    the point is – how many people would have listened if 1x play would be more expensive?

  • Antero says:

    There is definitely a point here, but almost everything is wrong in this post. It has been already mentioned that the main point of the original post, ie. that he gets more money from people who actually pay for Spotify, has been completely lost in translation, but here are a few more:

    In the original post by Anssi Kela and also the news article from where this quote is taken it is mentioned that the average revenue for Kela is 0,002 Euro = 0,2 Euro cents per play, NOT 0,02 Euro cents as mentioned here.

    His original post and the quoted news article also don’t have any indication whatsoever that he’s going to or even wants to pull his songs from Spotify (and he propably has no say in this matter anyway).

    He is also signed to Universal, not Sony music.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anssi Kela earned over 77 992 euros last year and that ain’t enough. Why musicians are such a greedy bunch of has-beens?

    “Art for art’s sake, money for god’s sake”


    • bratschegirl says:

      What other professions do you call “greedy” when they wish to be compensated fairly for their work, just out of curiosity?

    • professional musician says:

      A bunch of greedy has-beens, you [redacted]? We work hard at our craft, spend years writing, learning, practicing, promoting, and producing our music. Much harder than [redacted]. Don’t be a hater.

      • Ronald Armando Baró says:

        >bratschgirl, >professional musician says: ? , that’s teliing the anonymous hater jerk !!!! XDbb

      • Michael says:

        Were the redacted parts of your comment so much worse than the completely inappropriate and unredacted one about cornflakes by jesse? NL should not have to redact either of the two posts – we all need a little self-control and patience before pressing that “send” button!

    • Andres says:

      Not only the time and the hard work. But do you have an idea how much it costs to record?!

    • jesse says:

      and this guy will go out this weekend with his buddies rocking out to a tone of tunes, not realizing what a complete idiot he is, and how he devalues society.

  • newscale62 says:

    While the issue of payout is significant, the bigger issue is that there is no current incentive by the industry to develop the next retail friendly audio product to replace the compact discs. The major labels were paid handsomely to allow their artists to be used by Spotify, and current and veteran performers who are not touring enough to sell product at shows are screwed.

  • John Rezza says:

    I think you are all missing the real point her! What million people would have listened to this song if not for Spotify? What a joke. They would not have made a dime and would be playing a small pub in Finland. They new the terms of the contract when they signed on and now they are complaining they are not getting enough? Wow! Would they have complained if no one listened to it? I think not.

    • bratschegirl says:

      I would say that the “real point here” is that a culture of entitlement has been created by the Internet and various services on it that provide “content” without charge. People now feel justified in enjoying and benefiting from the creative work of others without paying for it, and in the end that will result in less music, less visual art, etc. that will be available for anyone, once it can only exist as an unpaid hobby for those who make their living otherwise or are wealthy enough not to need to do so. Go read what Whitey, aka NJ White, had to say on the subject:


      • Daniel Saner says:

        Spotify isn’t free. You’re either paying subscriptions, or you’re generating ad revenue.

        What you call a culture of entitlement is merely people deciding to use a service they think is worth their money, powered by content provided—and most people like to ignore this—by rights holders who *also* think they’re getting a good deal. If Spotify didn’t exist, 99% of listeners wouldn’t go find music through other channels. They just wouldn’t listen to it.

        Try as you might, you cannot turn back the clock on technological developments. People know that streaming music is possible. Your decision as a rights holder is easy: do you want to offer the service that people are asking for and profit from it, or not? One thing I can tell you for sure is that if you don’t, you’re more likely to lose your fans/customers, than convince them to do things the old-fashioned way you’d like them to. It’s been the same story every time something new came along. Streaming kills downloads; downloads killed CDs; home taping killed record sales; records killed live concerts—give me a break.

    • David H. says:

      Problem with spotify is that it kills all the other distribution options. If you have a high quality product and want to distribute at high price, you have no channel anymore. It’s all “giving it cheap to the masses”. No art, no quality, no music (that is worth it’s name) can survive in this inflation of lowest common denominators.

      • Martin says:

        In my case it’s not about cheap, it’s about space saving. Why buy a high quality CD, which I’ll have to take with me every time I move? I have boxes of CDs in Switzerland, but all the sound on a little hard drive with me in Scotland. The current need of “flexible” workforce makes lots of people think twice before buying unnecessary hardware. My next CD order will follow for sure though once Otto Tausk / Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen’s Diepenbrock recording will be out later this or early next year.

        Hyperion Records offers two download options. Cheap MP3s and more expensive Flac files. Another record company, I forgot which one, offers various more quality download options, some of them for multiple times the cost of a CD. So don’t tell me this is about feeding cheap stuff to the masses, it’s about the fact that just few companies, especially mass distributors like Amazon, don’t offer enough options and therefore knowledge of the various qualities which could be made available.

      • Daniel Saner says:

        What I see is an influx in high quality product sold at higher prices. With the ubiquity of instant access, those who are really into something, which are also the ones who are willing to pay more money in the first place, increasingly value special, physical product, and are prepared to pay a premium for it. Why else would we see a considerable increase in vinyl record sales every year?

        Spotify and the other products and distribution channels cater to rather different needs. No music fan would ever consider subscription-based streaming access, or a download, a replacement for owning an album. The people who do are those who didn’t care enough about music to pay premium prices for it anyway. If they weren’t on Spotify, they’d be listening to the radio, but definitely not buying expensive records left and right. The way I see it, the primary “distribution option” that Spotify kills is online file-sharing. Streaming services such as Spotify are the first and only channel that is actually faster and easier to use than file-sharing.

        In the end, the economics work out. You offer a product at a price, and people decide whether it’s worth it. If people stop buying your product at a higher price, it’s not a “culture of entitlement” (s.a.), but simply that people don’t think your product is worth that amount of money. If you can’t lower the price and still turn a profit—nobody said that every hard-working artist needs to be able to make a living from his art. Music has traditionally been a very rough trade to make money in. Customers of streaming services like Spotify deem the service worth its subscription fees; Spotify offers royalty payouts that most rights holders deem appropriate (if artists get too little, they need to take it up with them first). It’s in equilibrium. If royalty fees were not profitable for the labels, they wouldn’t be offering their content.

  • David says:

    Both arguments are strong, imo. Musicians and artists should be compensated for their product, just like anyone else, and it really bothers me that people “feel entitled” to music because it’s perceived differently than, say, an iPhone or a deli sandwich or a mobile app. Then again, is it realistic to assume consumers can afford (or would be willing) to purchase every CD that contains a track they stream? I know I can’t. So, what’s a ten-percent royalty on a CD that gathers dust on a shelf? Wouldn’t hundred-dollar-a-month streaming costs send people back to iTunes downloads? Do iTunes purchases even provide adequate royalty compensation?

  • pelicanpaul says:

    It is very frustrating to make a living as a musician. This is nothing new. In the first chapter of Study of Counterpoint: From Johann Joseph Fux’s Gradus Ad Parnassum 1725, the teacher will not even begin to help the student unless the student promises the teacher that he is pursuing music for the the art and NOT the money. I made my living for around 15 years as a freelance musician. Ate rice and beans for days on end. My compositions and arrangements are still played all over the world but now I make not a dime from that stuff. I did good work and that was the reward. I still can’t get over how much free music is out there today – YouTube and Spotify especially. The music industry sucks. Period. Get over it.

    • Daniel Saner says:

      That’s the point right there. Artists not getting paid for their work. And that’s not down to the distribution channels, but as always, the middlemen, i.e. the labels (which funnily enough are all too often left out of these Spotify revenue discussions). *Someone* is making money from your music, but you’re not getting your share, It’s a contractual problem.

      That’s why the absolutely, undeniably most very important thing is to educate up-and-coming artists and musicians about publishing rights, about laws and contracts! The reason the music industry sucks is that many people in it, who care only about the business and not the music, are all too willing to screw over the actual musicians, who usually care deeply about their art and are eager to get it out there, but don’t know enough about the business side and its pitfalls.

      And yes, loads and loads of music. Direct distribution, self-publishing, all the things that haven’t been possible just a short while ago, have led to an explosion. But I think it’s a really positive thing! The indies have done really well, the market share they have today would have seemed incredible some 30 years ago. The majors like to whine and complain, but it’s the indies that have taken up most of what the majors failed at. People aren’t less willing to pay for music they love, the thing is that the market has been fragmented into thousands of niches, impossible before the digital revolution—both financially for the publishers, as well as for listeners to find them and develop their tastes. Add to that the multitude of other new media and entertainment people can spend their money on, without actually having much more money to spend, or spare time on their hands, and it’s clear why certain artists or niches, stores, formats etc. will see a smaller revenue. The leisure budget cake didn’t grow, but there are a lot more pieces to divide it in. Maybe the days of the major mainstream crossover stars are numbered, but for any artist who can find an audience, it probably wasn’t ever as realistic to actually make money from it as it is today. While complaining about the difficulties of the digital music world, many people forget what a long way we’ve come since the days when you couldn’t even put a record out without indebting and pretty much enslaving yourself to a record company (and selling your soul to the exec with the contract). Many number-one chart artists have lugged this debt around for many years, or the rest of their lives.

  • anon says:

    people pay for mp3s??

  • Riley says:

    these comments are awesome, but lets not get past the subject at hand and the “greedy musician” side also.. If I had a million plays for 4 months in a row, as an artist (and I am one), i would have immediately had an album, music video, merch (and actual cd as well, not just downloads) and keep the momentum rollin’. I dont remember any artists getting paid at all on lime wire, or torrent, or any other illegal but effective way to get your favorite music, especially as a dj now adays as well, making it easier and easier to get the hottest hit without even paying .99 cents.. One million plays on any social site, period, is exposure, and exposure is priceless as long as you’re smart enough to know how to keep the momentum going. 3 thousand dollars doesnt seem much when you have 4 million plays (not downloads, plays), but then again $3,000 from just one “free” online music listening site for one song sounds pretty damn good in this day and age of trying to make a living as a musician.. and the opportunites the exposure it can lead too. I hope he has a further following, and has able to get advertisers, investors, an agent/manager, etc and hasn’t spent all his free time looking at the negative or mad that people are “stealing” his songs, and sees the big picture. thank you for your time, that is all

    • Mullet says:

      Anssi is an artist who’s had a fivefold platinum record in the past in addition to two other platinum&gold albums. He’s very established. Being on a major label means he would’ve been on the radio anyway, though to be fair let’s say he’s recovered from a bit of a slump with the newest album.

      No way, no how would a no-name artist get a million plays on Spotify for any song in this country, regardless of what sort of guerrilla marketing would have been going on.

      Another point is due to him being established, he’s been able to negotiate a very good royalty rate for the digital sales and streaming of the newest album. He claims old albums pay out far, far less from Spotify, per play.

      The third point is, he is a solo artist, plays most instruments himself on the album as well as writes most of the music and lyrics. I am unsure whether anyone else did have a part on the song in question, I’d be inclined to say no.

      The album sales figures aren’t out yet, but the song’s been a #1 hit already. Seems kind of fair to assume that at least in the business of old the album would be heading for gold or platinum status.

      Now take these numbers and play with them. Imagine a five man band with an outside songwriter and a worse record contract. The payout would be enough to maybe pay half of one’s rent for one month in a regular apartment of a major city.

      More playing with the numbers suggests that, assuming 25% royalty rate (he claims to have a very good deal, 25% would be) from a 15 euro tax-free price of an album, the payout is 3,75e per album. At 0,2 cents (0,002e) per play he needs 1875 listens to get to the same amount.

      Let’s say 10% of his potential record sales don’t happen due to Spotify. Say he would’ve had 40k sales (it’s a small country) because those songs are mega. He then would have lost 4000 sales due to Spotify, which in money means 4000*3,75=15ke. In order to get 15ke from Spotify, it is 7,5 million plays. Megahits used to carry full album sales, but in Spotify one can’t reasonably assume every other song will get even close to the one million plays, even in a longer lifespan. That changes the business too.

      I have a hunch that 10% of lost record sales due to streaming services is estimated on the low side. Can’t really say as even the sales figures aren’t out yet. Change the numbers, think of 80k potential albums sold of which 20% don’t get sold by Spotify and you have 30 million song plays required to reach the same payout which is an absurd number for a country of five million people. 80k albums sold is high but not absurd, after all his first sold double that amount.

      So it’s a fair business and don’t cry? I do suppose he’s a bit bitter about his livelihood being stripped from him bit by bit. It is quite evident this is happening in this smaller market, as people in Anssi’s position who can truly create and perform pop music in their native language as a profession are extremely few. Having some number one hits and a solid album as a member of some band never meant you could stop working the day job. And songs made in Finnish can’t possibly reach any international play so the market won’t grow either, so the Spotify exposure value very quickly stops.

      • Daniel Saner says:

        Of course a lot of the questions here can never really be answered, because we don’t have a “what-if” scenario. We can’t know how sales would’ve developed if streaming services didn’t emerge. But it seems worthwhile to note that in the past couple of years, as these services appeared and grew, actual music download sales have continued to grow significantly, with the growth rate still increasing. Would they have increased *even faster* without streaming services? No one can tell for sure.

        Personally I have difficulty accepting that people see streaming as a replacement for purchase; but I concede that I can’t speak for everyone, any maybe I’m the exception. But records are expensive, they always have been. You don’t buy a record unless you are really into the music, really like the artist. And it seems to me that people who care that much, won’t see a subscription-based service streaming digital files as a replacement for a physical product, a lovingly created packaging, artwork and liner notes, something you can hold in your hands, put on your shelf, lend a friend, gift to someone…as I said above, vinyl records are selling better again every year, which I see as proof that people still care about a high-quality product, even if it is expensive. And it’s not just nostalgia. Many shopkeepers from record shops I frequent tell me that a lot of young people who definitely weren’t around in the pre-CD era are starting to buy records. All of this leads me to believe that Spotify is an additional service, not a replacement, and if it replaces anything, it will rather be radio and piracy.

        Incidentally, this is how I use Spotify: to discover new music (radio feature), and listen extensively to new releases I’m interested in, or artists/labels/etc. that are recommended to me or that I heard on the radio. I need to listen to a record in my own time, full-length, possibly repeatedly before I can decide whether I like it enough to buy it. Sure, that’s a need that the Internet age created, none of this was possible before. But the effect it has had on me, personally, is that I spend several times more on records every year than I did before I had Spotify (or file-sharing before that). More stuff to listen to means more stuff I discover that I want to buy. Most people I talk to about these things feel the same way, so unless I’m living in some weird music lover’s bubble, I don’t think that this is an effect that should be underestimated.

      • Daniel Saner says:

        One more thing I meant to mention… I publish a weekly “mixtape” on Spotify for my friends—not a big thing, I just set the playlist of newly discovered favourites I accumulated over a week to public on the weekends. It’s cool to see how these tracks then start appearing on my friends’ profiles, and some weeks later I sometimes see the respective CDs or records at their flat. What people listen to on Spotify definitely has an effect on what they might go buy; not everyone thinks that an active streaming subscription makes buying albums pointless. Again, we may never really know, but consider how many copies of his album Anssi might have sold to people who have discovered his music on Spotify, because they were able to just give it a listen very quickly and easily. Few people spend money on music they never heard before. As such, I’ve never known a music guide, discovery tool and purchase aid that worked as well as Spotify. And while it might keep some people from buying an album because they deem the stream to be enough, for others the effect is just the opposite, and I see no reason to simply assume that the former is more common.

  • twisty says:

    This is good news. You reach a potential 1,000000 plays on spotify? Next step is move fast!! You have won the musical lottery. Now capitalize quickly. Prepare your next release and release it through your own website. Charge what you think it deserves.1 euro possibly. Cash in dont be bitter. Request every email that hit your song and blanket boom your new track.

    while all that clicking and patient waiting is been done get your next track ready. Peopl would kill for that exposure dont be bitter.

  • Kev says:

    The thing is that there is a huge amount of money being made from exploiting artistic

    Content on the digital media, but the creators of that content are not getting a fair share.

    You think people working for spottify and youtube work for peanuts?

    These companies have found a way to make money from music without hitting the

    Consumers pocket very hard,which is amazing,but they should pay their dues to

    The people who create the content that makes their business possible.

  • pelicanpaul says:

    I like what David Byrne wrote on this very subject. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/11/david-byrne-internet-content-world

    The Internet will suck all the creative content out of the world…

    Indeed, the 20th century was grand for music and musicians and all sorts of trades around music. The level of raw musicianship and creativity was incredible. Now it has shifted to the guy in front of a computer, fixing it all in the mix, producing silly, soulless music. Pretty sad really. Many young people have no idea what great music is out there. My advice. Buy a good turntable. Listen to some real stuff.

  • daniel des pres says:

    Okay 1 million listens equals a single play on a radio station with 1 million listeners (bbc radio 1 for example) pretty sure the prs fees for radio aren’t that high. D

  • Yvette says:

    Agreed, Kev. The idea that a musician is greedy presupposes that, like the owner of Spotify who just entered the Rich List with a personal fortune of $190 million dollars, the musician wants simply to line his/her own pockets. I think you can only have this opinion if you are totally ignorant of how the music industry works, let me briefly explain to the uninitiated.

    In the modern climate where record labels are waiting ever longer and longer before signing acts, waiting for acts to develop themselves to a point where they are basically already a going concern and where there are more ‘independent’ artists than ever, basically the musician/creator of the music bankrupts his or herself to facilitate creating the record (paying for studio-time, session musicians, producer’s fees/engineer’s fee, mastering plus paying for the manufacture of whatever format it is released on), the videos, the photographs, paying for the PR, the rehearsal rooms, any other musicians they need to hire to play on tour, graphic design, vanhire, advertising, posters, flyers… the list goes on and on. So pretty much they slog their guts out trying to pay their rent and simultaneously trying to meet all these expectations by paying all these other creatives and keeping them in work in order to even get to the point of attracting investment from a record label. If they are lucky they have some backing from a management company or more often that not these days, from rich parents who help to get them past this stage – hence the increasing dominance of middle-class public school kids in the music business.

    By the time they are successful in attracting investment, IF they ever do, very often close to a £100,000 has been spent and very little of that has been made back at that stage. They then make another record for the label they have been signed to (probably running up a debt with them of around the same if not more as each with each new record the expenses start again from zero) and think it’s going to be better from there on in. So now put yourself in the guy’s shoes, he’s lucky enough to have got through all that (I don’t know his precise story but I am pretty confident he will have worked very very hard to get where he is) and finds himself with a worldwide hit and thinks surely now he can claw back a little of what he’s put in but instead it all goes to some tosser who is too greedy to pay musicians a fair slice of the pie.

    Spotify don’t need to do anything differently apart from make slightly less profit and pay musicians a fair amount. The internet doesn’t need to suck creativity out of the world but at this rate it probably will. What people don’t remember is that once the musicians go down, right behind them are the photographers, the graphic designers, the producers, the printers, etc. etc. whose careers the musicians have been bankrolling. If you value any creativity you would never illegally download anything.

    • pelicanpaul says:

      Very well put. Pay the freakin’ band! It is truly disgusting that the owner of Spotify is making such bank. Pay the freakin’ band I say!

    • Daniel Saner says:

      However, it’s the label that will have agreed to Spotify’s royalty payout model during contract negotiations. If Spotify generally payed out too little compared to all the other channels, then I don’t think they would’ve signed the catalogue they currently have. The labels would not license their catalogues unless the rates were higher, Spotify would have to increase subscription prices and drop the ad-supported trial, and it would probably go out of business. So obviously, the labels think that the deal is fair. If, then, the artists still don’t get paid, it’s a problem to take up with the label, not Spotify et al. directly.

      Your quarrel is always with the guys you signed a contract with. And the label either doesn’t pay you what you’re due, in which case the proper course of action would be legal, or they do, in which case it’s on you. If the royalties were unnecessarily low, other labels would get the artists to flock to them by offering more. If the model is broken, then we’ll see a shift happening in the label landscape over the coming years. Just as we did when the major labels started dying in favour of the independents, something I was anticipating gleefully. Spotify & co. are only secondary players in this, they either offer labels what they ask, or they go bust.

  • Jeremy says:

    If his song played 1million times on AM/FM radio he would have made $70000

    Thats the real issue here…

    • Daniel Saner says:

      No, he would have made several million dollars (far into the two-digit millions I believe). Radio stations pay huge fees per play. But that is because they are calculated according to their number of listeners, whereas one stream on Spotify is for just one household, so you really can’t compare the two.

  • aleno says:

    i removed my music from spotify just because i dont want it to be there. i dont support that since i know what is behind there -.-

  • Dippy says:

    After reading all the comments on here and hearing how some people feel about musicians/ artist in general.I am just curious as to what the majority of people feel is an appropriate amount for a musician to get paid by the hour for performing and yes I do know that a lot of that depends on the situation but I’m just saying you know what is appropriate for a professional musician doing band gigs and solo gigs on a very regular basis and having a fairly decent following. What do you guys think is an appropriate amount by the hour? Not counting travel time or anything else just performing time. I am wanting to see how what I make compares to others. The reason is that I live in a rural area and am contemplating moving to a larger city but fellow musician friends of mine who live in cities keep telling me to reevaluate my situation. Btw I agree that spotify should pay the musicians more but then again they are providing a service both to the listener and to the musicians and reality is that there have been ways to steal music since the time of recording music onto a device begun. I can remember recording stuff off the radio and making mix tapes to play over the pa when my band would take a break back some 30 years ago and it was going on long before then as well. Also if people don’t know about your band and if there is no way for them to get turned on to it then you aren’t gonna sell anything anyways and just like the radio station that plays cutting edge stuff you haven’t heard yet they are turning people on to your music so that hopefully when you play in their town they will come to your show and buy a cd or shirt or whatever you have for sale. Thanks for any input folks

  • Boom says:

    Nobody ever talks about why the record ,companies have bought in so heavily to the spotify model…they have stock options given to them by spotify…if spotify sells they will get a big payday but the artists will get nothing.

    My friends band is currently getting a lot of press coverage and accolades but they are making all their money from live gigs and selling merch and CD’s at gigs….fans still buy CDs at shows, which is actually a huge win for the artist because they don’t have to share that money with anybody.they even pressed cassettes and they are selling like hot cakes !

    Spotify isn’t going to go away- it makes too much sense from the consumer side, but the old model of the record company is also no longer viable because they didn’t move fast enough and let other people control the digital market.

  • Jay says:

    Put the whole enchilada in the garbage…

    Not even worth the effort anymore…

    I think now a days most peoples mindset is if you can get it for free why pay…Or maybe it´s been that way all the time?

    Of course if you do it for fun and dont care about being scamed by the scamers whoever they might be, why not…

    Its up to each and everyone themself to make that decision.

    But keep in mind the musicindustry is infested with people witout moral compass or conscience…

    I know cause I`ve been there and done that.

    • Daniel Saner says:

      Very true. But again, Spotify isn’t free. The reason for its success is because it’s convenient. In fact, Spotify proves exactly the opposite: that people are williing to pay money for a good service; otherwise they’d just be pirating the stuff. I’m sure some would go for “free but illegal” anyway if they could get the same service that Spotify offers, but since they can’t, it’s a theoretical issue. Last I checked, the numbers said that through their subscription fees alone (in addition to anything they might buy), streaming service subscribers already spend around twice as much on music than the average download store customer.

      As I said above, the most important thing is to educate musicians about contracts and publishing rights. They need to know what they sign. If they get screwed over, it’s because they agreed to bad contract terms. If the label cheats them on the streaming revenue, they need to try and get a different contract. But don’t just give in and sign your rights away; there’s *always* someone willing to offer you a shitty deal, as you sure know. Do it right, or not at all. If it weren’t the label, but Spotify that’s not paying out fairly, then it would be the labels’ responsibility to re-negotiate those contracts, or else pull their music. Since most of them are taking part, it’s safe to assume that Spotify’s model, while possibly still crude and imperfect, is not completely broken.

  • pelicanpaul says:

    I sort of like the idea of having your new CD on Spotify for say a month, and then pull it off. If Spotify is using the musicians, turn the tables baby, use Spotify as a free ad service. You will not make a ton a money on it. By pulling it down, you will “encourage” users to actually buy your work if they like your music. I find it interesting that on Netflix streaming, a lot of quality movies were once there and now are not. I am not sure if this is a conscious strategy, but I may buy some of these movies that I really like now, instead of depending on the streaming service.

    I am just curious if anyone has seen any academic papers on musician wages. I ran into a friend a few weeks ago. He said that the gigs we played 15 years ago pay the exact same wage. The1990s, before the rise of the Internet, were actually pretty sweet for skilled, freelancers.

    Also, if any of the people on this discussion thread work for Spotify, full disclosure please.

    • Bill says:

      Netflix signs deals with the owners of content for permission to stream. They signed some very good deals (good for Netflix and its customers, that is) years ago before the owners realized how popular streaming would be. When it came time to renew (the deals are for fixed durations), some content owners decided they wanted more money than Netflix was willing to pay, or signed deals with other outlets (cable or satellite TV companies who want to sell video on demand to their customers, etc.) and so Netflix lost the streaming rights to that content.

      I think just about everything that I saw disappear from my Netflix streaming queue is still available from Netflix’s DVD service (and of course there’s an incredible variety there never available to stream).