It Takes 786 Streams to Afford Just One Cup Of Coffee

 

Written By Imperial Alliance Media Staff

The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW), an organization of music workers that demands fairer conditions and deals from streaming services  and believe that “The only way to transform music is to collectively take resources and power from the few wealthy companies that dictate our industry” has come after Spotify in its new ‘Justice at Spotify‘ Campaign.

 

As COVID-19 has reached almost 100,000 new cases per day in the United States, musicians have been among the professions economically devastated by the effects. Many have argued that Spotify and other streaming companies have only countered the needs of musicians. UMAW released a list of demands and have stated that “enough is enough”.  The demands listed include to pay all artists at least one cent per song stream, adopt a user-centric payment model, be transparent by making all closed-door contracts public, showing users and artists where the money is coming from, reveal and then end existing payola, credit all labor in recordings, and finally, end legal battles that are intended to further impoverish artists.

 

According to the company’s Q2 2020 public filings, revenue rose 13% to close to $2 billion Euros, while it pays artists around $0.003-$0.005 per stream. With these numbers, an artist would need 5,000 streams just to enjoy a meal for one at Chipotle. It would take 283,684 streams to afford the monthly median rent. UMAW has demanded that the streaming giant pay minimum 1 cent per song stream and to get rid of the “pro-rata” model which pools revenue and distributes in a way that puts artists in competition with each other. In the demand for transparency, UMAW references the point that the platform signs closed-door contracts with labels, distributors, and management companies for payments, playlist placements and more and that these should be disclosed to the public. They demand similar disclosures for other sources of income, such as advertising, capital investment, and data collection. Along with this, a demand commonly heard in the industry is to reveal all labor for records, including work done by audio engineers, producers and anyone else who was a part of making the record. They demand that Spotify allows searches to be able to be done for engineers, producers, songwriters, etc as well as the artist.

 

The topic of revealing and ending payola is an interesting one. Currently, Spotify encourages labels and management companies to pay for plays on the platform, often times without the artist even knowing. UMAW states that this is essentially forcing artists to pay for access to their own fan bases. Austin Powell of Daily Dot investigates the “Spotify payola” and publishes some startling findings. He interviews rapper Tommie King, who may be the next breakout artist to come out of Atlanta. His recent single has garnered more than 110,000 plays but there’s one catch: his manager has worked/paid to land his music on 594 Spotify playlists. After all, playlists have become Spotify’s defining feature. Smokepurpp’s “Audi” has gone gold thanks to being featured on one of Spotify’s most popular playlists, RapCaviar, which has more than 8 million followers.

 

While it’s not clear how much traction this particular organization and list of demands is receiving, these aren’t new ideas and controversies that have been brought to the increasingly popular streaming giant. More than 13,000 artists and fans have signed the petition but what do you all think? Are these valid demands?

 

You can read more about the campaign here:  https://www.unionofmusicians.org/justice-at-spotify-demands

lead graphic image for article image of tweets from several musicians on spotifys pay wages
banner image of Resa E's New single I want you.

It Takes 786 Streams To Afford just One Cup Of Coffee

Written By Imperial Alliance Media Staff

The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW), an organization of music workers that demands fairer conditions and deals from streaming services  and believe that “The only way to transform music is to collectively take resources and power from the few wealthy companies that dictate our industry” has come after Spotify in its new ‘Justice at Spotify‘ Campaign.

As COVID-19 has reached almost 100,000 new cases per day in the United States, musicians have been among the professions economically devastated by the effects. Many have argued that Spotify and other streaming companies have only countered the needs of musicians. UMAW released a list of demands and have stated that “enough is enough”.  The demands listed include to pay all artists at least one cent per song stream, adopt a user-centric payment model, be transparent by making all closed-door contracts public, showing users and artists where the money is coming from, reveal and then end existing payola, credit all labor in recordings, and finally, end legal battles that are intended to further impoverish artists.

According to the company’s Q2 2020 public filings, revenue rose 13% to close to $2 billion Euros, while it pays artists around $0.003-$0.005 per stream. With these numbers, an artist would need 5,000 streams just to enjoy a meal for one at Chipotle. It would take 283,684 streams to afford the monthly median rent. UMAW has demanded that the streaming giant pay minimum 1 cent per song stream and to get rid of the “pro-rata” model which pools revenue and distributes in a way that puts artists in competition with each other. In the demand for transparency, UMAW references the point that the platform signs closed-door contracts with labels, distributors, and management companies for payments, playlist placements and more and that these should be disclosed to the public. They demand similar disclosures for other sources of income, such as advertising, capital investment, and data collection. Along with this, a demand commonly heard in the industry is to reveal all labor for records, including work done by audio engineers, producers and anyone else who was a part of making the record. They demand that Spotify allows searches to be able to be done for engineers, producers, songwriters, etc as well as the artist.

The topic of revealing and ending payola is an interesting one. Currently, Spotify encourages labels and management companies to pay for plays on the platform, often times without the artist even knowing. UMAW states that this is essentially forcing artists to pay for access to their own fan bases. Austin Powell of Daily Dot investigates the “Spotify payola” and publishes some startling findings. He interviews rapper Tommie King, who may be the next breakout artist to come out of Atlanta. His recent single has garnered more than 110,000 plays but there’s one catch: his manager has worked/paid to land his music on 594 Spotify playlists. After all, playlists have become Spotify’s defining feature. Smokepurpp’s “Audi” has gone gold thanks to being featured on one of Spotify’s most popular playlists, RapCaviar, which has more than 8 million followers.

While it’s not clear how much traction this particular organization and list of demands is receiving, these aren’t new ideas and controversies that have been brought to the increasingly popular streaming giant. More than 13,000 artists and fans have signed the petition but what do you all think? Are these valid demands?

You can read more about the campaign here: https://www.unionofmusicians.org/justice-at-spotify-demands