Taylor Swift vs. Spotify: Is the Steaming Service Good for Artists?
November 13, 2014 Leave a comment
Spotify has been criticized by some as being bad for artists. Their arguments posit that, because it doesn’t bring in enough revenue, Spotify is “giving their music away for free.” Taylor Swift is one of the recent critics of Spotify. Since her voice is influential in the music community, her criticism prompted Spotify to fire back at her, defending their business model and protection of artists’ work.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote a blog post defending Spotify and responding to Taylor Swift with a number of myths about the music business. They have been criticized of “giving their music away for free.” However, as Ek states, Spotify has paid $2 billion to artists since its beginning, and $500 million in 2013 alone. Spotify now boasts 62.5 million subscribers, 12.5 million of which have paid accounts while the other 50 million are free users. More than 80 percent of Spotify users started as free users.
There are a few thoughts on the topic. One critique says that Spotify, and other similar streaming sites like Pandora, Soundcloud, and Rdio, is designed around providing a good service to already popular music while making things more difficult for new artists. The argument goes that these already popular songs and artists (think artists like Pink Floyd and The Beatles) receive larger rates than new artists, and new artists have to play the game or get out. Artist Nigel Godrich, who had his music on Spotify and then removed it, made this argument on Twitter.
What do you think about Spotify and other “freemium” services? Are freemium services good or bad for artists?