Spotify has launched a new website, Loud & Clear, with the aim of introducing new transparency and data about the music streaming economy.
The site includes a number of resources for artists and industry professionals that “break down the royalty system, the players, and the process”, according to Spotify.
The portal has been launched at the same time as the DCMS Committee inquiry into the economics of streaming, during which remuneration for artists has been a key issue.
The site highlights the fact that there is no single streaming rate paid to every artist, as well as the fact Spotify does not pay artists directly but pays the rights-holder.
Loud & Clear reveals that Spotify has paid over $23 billion in royalties to rights-holders, including over $5bn in 2020 (up from $3.3bn in 2017).
Last year, 207,000 songs racked up more than a million streams,
In 2020, 870 artists generated over $1 million a year, while 1,820 topped $500,000 and 7,800 topped $100,000.
“We talk about these things internally constantly, but externally I think we’ve been too quiet,” Spotify’s head of market place Charlie Hellman told Variety. “Artists deserve more clarity about how the streaming economy is working. Obviously, it’s not simple: it’s a complicated ecosystem and Spotify is just one piece of it. As of 2019, we represent 20% of the recorded-music industry. But we want to do our part to be more transparent with the data we have about artists achieving levels of success. We’re all hearing that the industry is experiencing incredible growth: who’s benefiting? Hopefully this gives some answers.”
Horace Trubridge, Musicians’ Union general secretary, said: “We are delighted to welcome the launch of Spotify’s Loud and Clear’ website. The #fixstreaming campaign has been calling for more clarity and transparency in the way the platforms pay out to the rights holders and it’s great to see Spotify respond in such a positive way.
“It does, however, underline the fact that whilst the success of streaming is generating huge dividends, it is the rights’ owners who are benefitting chiefly and the artists and performers who write and deliver the music that the whole ecosystem depends on are, at best, the poor relations.”
Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy, said: "We welcome Spotify’s new initiative as a step in the right direction of providing music creators with greater transparency. Knowledge is power. We have campaigned for greater transparency about how streaming works, and how songwriters and composers are paid.
“However, the figures from Spotify that show ‘payouts’ are not what goes into the pockets of artists and songwriters. It is what labels and publishers receive, who then pay artists and songwriters a fraction of that. This is where the industry still has a long way to go to achieve true transparency and fair distribution. But well done Spotify, for recognising the importance of transparency and showing that it is possible.”
Features on the platform include:
- A look at revenue generation over the years, showing how many artists globally generated how much — across recording and publishing for their catalogue — for each of the past four years on Spotify.
- An interactive tool that contextualises monthly listener and monthly stream numbers, as of the end of 2020.
- A look at some artist profiles on Spotify detailing who they are, how streaming has changed things for them, and what the future might look like.
- A video that breaks down how the money flows from Spotify listeners to artists.
- An extensive FAQ and a set of useful third party resources