In response to the latest news that Spotify intends to stop payments for tracks that receive less than 1,000 streams in a year, I signed onto a petition demanding “Justice at Spotify”. This is what I wrote.
As an independent musician, I have to pay a distributor to upload my music to Spotify. Hence it is already a gamble to place my music on Spotify—I lose money doing doing this, but there is some promise that eventually I might be paid if I accumulate enough streams on the platform. That Spotify is reportedly planning to classify some music as ineligible for these payments makes this gamble even worse. I could try to navigate a byzantine system of payola and opaque editorial playlist submissions in hopes of eventually getting some of that money back, but I am more inclined to reevaluate whether Spotify is a worthwhile place to share my music.
It doesn't help that full-time musicians who don't have a day job to fall back on as I do feel locked into the platform because “everything is on Spotify” including the work small artists like me. Being a scab for a platform that underpays those musicians doesn't sit right with me.
Additionally, my most recent album in 2023 was falsely labeled by Spotify as a 1988 release and therefore not visible to listeners as a new release, though other platforms like Apple Music got this right using the same metadata from my distributor, and when I contacted Spotify support about the issue nothing was done. It's a smaller issue but one that drives home that Spotify doesn't care about the musicians on its platform.
Where not otherwise noted, the content of this blog is written by Dominique Cyprès and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.