Independent Artists Respond to Spotify Wrapped

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It’s the season for Spotify Wrapped. The streaming service’s year-end campaign launched on December 1 gives users a snapshot of their past year, revealing top artists, songs and albums by compiling data from over 300 million users. The artists and labels that provide content for the service have received data regarding streams, shares, listeners, etc. But while music listeners happily posted Spotify’s shareable infographics on social media, artists, especially independents, did so with often mixed emotions.

Many independent creators took the opportunity to thank audiences for listening to their music while others directly criticized the business model of the Spotify platform and its impact on the industry. “We went from s *** ty rooms asking us to perform for exposure to now having to spend thousands of music recordings for the exhibition as well. Said the singer-songwriter / producer, André Delaney, from Arlington, Texas, sharing the feeling that more and more artists are making their voices heard.

Despite Spotify’s recent pledges to support independents, it appears Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s comment in 2020, “You can’t record music once every three or four years and think that’s enough.” . pushed too far too far. Baltimore, MA songwriter Heather lloyd told PopWrapped “Some of us spend $ 20,000 to $ 30,000 to make an album,” emphasizing the futility of hoping to break even. In a message to her subscribers, she shared: “Before digital reigned, it was not uncommon for us to sell 1,000 CDs a year. At $ 15 each, that was the bread and butter.

Others have been more pointed in their criticism. HipHop / Rap Artist and Producer The next millennium of Asheville, NC edited its own infographic to protest the Wrapped trend claiming, among other points, that artists should be able to earn a living wage. Directly tagging the Spotify for Artists Instagram account, he commented, “I don’t want your accolades! PAY WHAT YOU OWN !!! ”

Musicians’ advocacy group Coalition for the Future of Music directed comments to the creators in a Twitter thread explaining the complexity of the streaming problem citing downward market pressure, lack of radio performance rights and antitrust laws. “We need to collectively understand * why * this is the case, and then consider proposals to address it.” They tweeted, calling on artists to join the Music First Coalition in its efforts to support the recently proposed American Music Fairness Act.

Some artists and users are also calling for a boycott after recent revelations about Ek’s investment in military AI technology, which they see as against the philosophy of music. And address at least one other possible negative impact of the Wrapped trend among independent artists, Roger Blevins Jr., leader of the Austin, Texas group. Mingo Fishtrap group, cautioned against using numbers to compare themselves to others when it comes to their art. He also shared a heartfelt point of view amid all the controversy saying, “Spotify has a long way to go to make its platform sustainable, but I appreciate the reminder that what we’ve been doing all these years means something for someone. ”


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