If you go out and ask musicians what they think about Spotify then they may not have very nice things to say. It’s no secret that Spotify doesn’t pay very much in the way of royalties each time a song is listened to, yet its managed to earn musicians more money than iTunes.
Or at least it did in the first quarter of this year.
Kobalt Music Publishing, which represents the likes of Paul McCartney and Lenny Kravitz, has stated that the royalties its artists earned from Spotify in Europe was 13 per cent higher than the royalties they earned from iTunes in the first quarter of this year. This is a shocking turn of events, since last year iTunes was still the dominant player in the world of music. It seems that while the amount a musician earns per play is rather small, the fact that there are so many listeners makes up for it.
The publisher has gone on record to say that this is not true in the US, nor is it representative of the music industry as a whole because it only represents 6,000 musicians. Taylor Swift is one good example of this not being true after she publicly pulled her back catalogue from Spotify because the streaming service pays so little in the way of royalties. Similarly Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has been incredibly critical of the service in the past, claiming that it rewards established artists and punishes newcomers.
That being said this just shows that the popularity of services like Spotify doesn’t necessarily mean the musicians themselves have to suffer, even if this is only a relatively small case.