Artists and different employees within the music trade, organized by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, at the moment participated in coordinated demonstrations at Spotify places of work world wide. The group is asking for elevated transparency within the firm’s enterprise practices, an finish to lawsuits filed towards artists, and a user-centric fee mannequin that pays a cent per stream, amongst different issues.
Protests have been organized in 10 U.S. cities in addition to practically two dozen others world wide, in Australia, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. The UMAW launched the Justice at Spotify marketing campaign in October 2020 with a petition soliciting assist for its core tenets. It has since garnered practically 28,000 signatures from artists and different music trade employees.
“Spotify has lengthy mistreated music employees, however the pandemic has put the exploitation into stark reduction,” mentioned UMAW organizer Mary Regalado (who additionally performs in Downtown Boys and Gauche). “The corporate has tripled in worth through the pandemic, whereas failing to extend its fee charges to artists by even a fraction of a penny. Musicians all around the world are unemployed proper now whereas the tech giants dominating the trade absorb billions. Music work is labor, and we’re asking to be paid pretty for that labor.”
Whereas many of the calls for made by the UMAW solely fall throughout the purview of Spotify, probably the most impactful, the “penny-per-stream” idea, would require assist from the foremost labels who personal the rights to the huge catalogs that make up the majority Spotify’s library. A 2017 Finnish study discovered that beneath the professional rata system that Spotify at present makes use of, songs from the preferred artists (the highest 0.four %) collected acquired 9.9 % of royalties. Making use of a “user-centric” mannequin to the identical knowledge, the researchers discovered that very same prime 0.four % of artists would gather simply 5.6 % of revenues. In a response paper, Spotify’s director of economics suggested that switching to a user-centric fee mannequin would inflate Spotify’s administrative prices to the purpose that it might eradicate any potential income positive factors for less-popular artists—albeit with none proof.
Pitchfork has reached out to representatives at Spotify for remark.