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Spotify Finds New Way to Screw Over Artists

Indie artists might never earn money with Spotify’s plan to restructure their royalty model. Billboard reports that the streaming giant will now require a minimum threshold for tracks in order to generate royalties. This also means that tracks that do not meet this quota will be de-monetized. However, the proponents of this change tout that it will be “artist-centric,” and claim they desire to make the space more competitive for musicians.

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These benefits only apply to bigger artists, and not rising stars or undiscovered singers who just started their careers out in music. What it really means is that not everybody is entitled to royalties anymore, and that independent artists are going to have to struggle for pennies.

With this new policy, indie artists may struggle to grow their audiences or stay on the platform if they intend to earn at all. It’s becoming clear that Spotify may no longer be a viable way for smaller artists to grow their following. This issue won’t affect established artists with solid fanbases, because they stand to benefit from this restructuring plan. Artists who have consistently long listening sessions with fans will receive multipliers on their royalties, which is a rationale Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kyncl used for penalizing tracks of ambient noise. Background noise without lyrics, or ambient music, will be taking a huge hit because of this change, since the big wigs aren’t fond of lyricless background noise gaining the same royalties as musicians with established albums.

It’s not like Spotify’s higher-ups chose to restructure for art’s sake. It was also reported that billions will be made after this royalty restructuring plan is implemented by the start of early next year. This model appears to be more profitable, at the cost of weeding out up-and-coming artists. Subscriptions are getting more expensive, but it looks like it won’t matter to many niche artists on Spotify.

(feature image: Spotify)


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Vanessa Esguerra
Vanessa Esguerra (She/They) has been a Contributing Writer for The Mary Sue since 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, she (happily) rejected law school in 2021 and has been a full-time content writer since. Vanessa is currently taking her Master's degree in Japanese Studies in hopes of deepening her understanding of the country's media culture in relation to pop culture, women, and queer people like herself. She speaks three languages but still manages to get lost in the subways of Tokyo with her clunky Japanese. Fueled by iced coffee brewed from local cafés in Metro Manila, she also regularly covers anime and video games while queuing for her next match in League of Legends.