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Spotify reportedly paying less than £200 annually to most musicians

A new survey has found that Spotify gives eighty percent of all musicians less than £200 a year, as artists call for fairer financial pay-outs.

The popular streaming service Spotify is facing renewed scrutiny for not paying artists enough in royalties.

Despite being the world’s biggest music platform that has earned record labels over £3.3 billion in revenue so far this year and boasts over 144 million paying subscribers, the actual amount artists receive is relatively small. Playing 30 seconds of a song earns the rights holder an average of £0.0028 per stream, meaning you’ll need a ton of plays to see any genuine cash.

A new survey published by The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union has found that ‘eight out of ten’ artists on the platform receive less than £200 a year, making song writing an unsustainable hobby or career venture for most – unless you’re Ed Sheeran, Drake, or Ariana Grande. We’ve written before about how artists and creators feel the current monetisation model is unfair, and Nile Rodgers will be addressing MPs in the UK this week to discuss the ins and outs of the current economic system in the hopes of making a change.

Other musicians have joined the cause ahead of the hearing, including Nadine Shah, a well-known artist who recently spoke to iNews about her inability to pay her rent from streaming revenue alone. Considering she’s a Mercury Prize-nominated singer with several songs that have over a million plays each it’s surprising, but unfortunately not atypical.

43% of those surveyed said that a lack of proper income has pushed them to get secondary jobs outside of music, and CEO of The Ivors Academy Graham Davies described the current system as ‘outdated’. Most streaming revenue goes directly to labels rather than artists, which often means producers, marketers, and managers earn more than the musician.

Julia Knight MP, chair of the DCMS Committee, is also worried that smaller artists are unwilling to come forward ahead of this hearing for fear of being blacklisted or facing discriminatory treatment from Spotify. For many small bands and acts it’s imperative to be on Spotify’s good side, as features in official playlists can mean huge exposure. Being outwardly critical could affect the likelihood of reaching new listeners.

It’s hoped that Nile will be able to draw attention to the issue with government officials, with a particular focus on royalties being distributed more evenly between top tier pop acts and independent creators.

We’ll have to wait to see what happens – though any change is unlikely to be felt until at least a few months from now. Fingers crossed for 2021, eh?