The spotify logo on mobile next to a musician

Artists are calling out streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music for the small remuneration they get from them. 

During the lockdown, artists and fans have trended the hashtags #BrokeRecord and #FixStreaming to protest the amount they’re getting from streaming services. 

After hearing fans’ and artists’ complaints, the UK parliament launched an inquiry into the streaming music market in November. This is to find out if musicians are paid unfairly.

In the 3rd quarter of 2020, Spotify generated 1.98billion euros (2.40 billion dollars) in revenue, and it has been increasing every quarter. 

However, despite its good numbers, artists who use the platform to deliver their music to the public only receive scraps to Spotify’s billions. 

For example, violinist, and concerto soloist, Tasmin Little, only got £12.34 from millions of streams within six months.

According to BBC, Spotify pays artists the measly sum of £0.002 and £0.0038 ($0.0027 – $) 0.0051per stream. 

Apple Music, on the other hand, pays artists £0.0059 ($0.0079) per stream. 

Moreover, artists will only get 13% of their revenue after dividing it up with their labels. 

From Free Sharing to Streaming Services

Artists fighting for their rights for their music against internet platforms is not new. 

In the past, people who deem CDs bulky or pricy would use Napster or Limewire to download and listen to music through the use of peer-to-peer technology. 

However, it’s illegal, and eventually, the heavy metal band,  Metallica, filed a lawsuit against Napster for copyright infringement. 

After some years, due to copyright infringement reports, the public switched to streaming services to listen to their favorite artists. 

Streaming sites promised artists of paying them for every stream they got from the platform, democratizing music. 

However, in 2014 and 2015, Exile singer, Taylor Swift, accused streaming platforms of not compensating artists well. 

Tidal's mobile interface next to Spotify and Apple Music

Tidal Offers an Alternative

YouGov, an international research group, launched a survey and found out, the majority of subscribers would not support an increase in monthly subscriptions to streaming sites. However, half of them also shared that if the increase will go directly to the artists they listen to, it’s fine.

Tidal, another streaming service, claims it has the highest royalty rate per stream for its artists. 

However, despite this feature, it still lags behind other streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. 

Opinion: UK’s Inquiry Results Might Usher In Another Change in the Music Industry

Whatever happens to the UK parliamentary inquiry is sure to shape the future of the music industry. Just like how Metallica’s lawsuit against Napster changed how people now listen to music. 


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