You may have noticed my music is no longer available on Spotify. I have received a few questions asking about this and why it was removed. If you are one of those who took notice and reached out with questions I want to first say thank you. I truly appreciate that you listened to my music and even more so that you cared enough to ask why it was no longer available.
Short Answer: I removed all of my albums from Spotify out of protest. My music is still available on other streaming services, such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, and YouTube Music. Better yet, it’s all available for digital download on Bandcamp and Gumroad.
Longer Answer: Spotify has changed their royalty payment rules in such a way that I feel is exploitative and massive slap in the face to small indie artists. So, in December 2023, I removed all of my albums from Spotify. At this time the only SuperScience song that remains is a song that was released as part of a compilation. I don’t have control over that release but I’m fine with it remaining.
First, I want to clarify something. I do not endeavor to make a living from music. I have never made much from music and I am not motivated by money when it comes to writing and releasing music. Of course, I play the capitalism game and appreciate being compensated for my efforts but I made music for over 10 years before I ever released an album publicly. If I decided to never release another piece of music, know that I would still be writing and producing music at the same pace. I am almost compulsively driven to create things.
With that in mind, take it to heart when I say I’m not concerned about the actual royalties from Spotify. Over the course of the last 10 years I have made $13.90 from my music streaming on Spotify TOTAL. Yes, since releasing my first SuperScience album in 2014, with 6 more albums to hit the service between then and December 2023, I have made less than $14 in streaming royalties on Spotify.
And that’s fine. Earning a laughably small fraction of a cent per stream is fine with me because EVERYONE is earning a laughably small fraction of a cent per stream. Streaming royalty rates ARE a problem but its an industry wide problem that typically impacts everyone more or less equally. Or, at least, it did impact everyone equally.
Spotify has decided that if a track gets less than 1,000 streams in a year, they will not pay royalties for that track. Even more disgusting, they are supposedly channeling the royalties that SHOULD be paid out for streams of that track to other, larger artists.
According to Music Radar “close to two-thirds of all the music on Spotify has yet to reach the 1000-stream threshold and won’t be generating any royalties under the platform’s new rules.” Also, as stated in this Music Business Worldwide article, “In 2024, Spotify expects this will move $40 million that would have previously been paid to tracks with fewer than 1,000 streams to those with more than 1,000 streams.”
I’ve seen a lot of utter dogshit takes on social media about this. Artists stuck in that “grindset” will say you’ve just got to try harder. They seem to view complaining about it as just “crying over losing out on 5 cents”. I’ve also seen “just be happy for the exposure”. If you’re an artist of any kind, hearing that should make you cringe.
As I said on Threads, its not about losing out on 5 cents. Its about the principle of the matter. Its about a multi-billion dollar company cock slapping you across the face. Its about blatant disrespect and exploitation. Its about a company still earning that 0.5% of the royalty pool ($40 million) off the work of the smallest of independent artists and reallocating that to larger artists.
According to my Spotify Artist Wrapped people spent 86 hours listing to my music in 2023. That pales in comparison to even the lowest levels of success on the platform but that IS still 86 hours that users spent on their platform consuming content I created. Those listens are, naturally, split between any number of my tracks. No one track is near 1,000 streams for the year. So despite people spending an additional 86 hours on their platform listening to my music, under the new rules, I don’t deserve to earn those royalties.
It’s very easy to listen to my music for free. On Bandcamp you can stream all my music for free. Recently I ran a special Black Friday “sale” in which I made my full discography free to download. I’ve had a SoundCloud profile for well over 10 years. I don’t make any royalties on that. I will give my music to listeners for free if I wish. I will not, however, give my music to a $32 billion company to profit off of for free. Especially when they’ll happily take my content, arbitrarily decide I don’t deserve to be paid for said content, and pay my royalties to more popular artists.
There are numerous other news stories that have broke regarding Spotify’s morally bankrupt business practices, including executives laying off thousands of workers, cashing in their Spotify stocks when that news caused the stocks to rise, then bouncing out with millions. [SOURCE] But shit, that’s just corpo capitalism. That’s just business, it seems. I name checked both Apple and Amazon at the beginning of this tirade and, as corporate entities, they’re both guilty of far darker shit than Spotify could ever hope to accomplish.
You’ve got to pick you’re battles, though. However, my “sticking it to Spotify” by removing my music doesn’t affect Spotify in the slightest. It does, however, impact those of you that listened to my music there. That’s obviously not what I want. I still want my music to be listened to and enjoyed.
Honestly, I didn’t expect anyone to notice my music vanish from the service. Knowing there are those of you who did take notice tempts me to put the music back. Some day, after I’m done being pissed off about the situation, I may put the music back up.
I had hoped Spotify would reverse the decision but no one seems to give a shit so why would they? The smaller artists it impacts are either too small to make any waves or are perfectly happy eating scraps off the floor. The larger artists will likely benefit from this so they don’t seem to care about stepping on the peons. And most listeners value convenance far more than they value the artists who create the music they enjoy. Huh. I’m irritated all over, again.
Streaming media is fickle and temporary. You only own something if you can physically touch it. Reinvest in physical media.