From Royalties to Rogan… it may be time to make a decision. But I’m not sure leaving Spotify is actually better for the artists.

…in the shape of an L on his forehead

Like most media executives, I’ve long hated how much the artists and stakeholders actually make from their Spotify streams. Usually less than $3K per million… which means a manager’s 15% is only $450 bucks per million. And let me be clear, for non-celebrity working-artists… one million streams is a LOT.  And the music-business has collectively accepted this. Not because we like it, but because Spotify is currently (perhaps) the most important tool for artists to leverage in order to sell tickets and tee shirts – which still make money.

This is not a hard concept. If people aren’t listening to your songs, they’re buying fewer tickets and tees. There is a direct correlation.

So here’s the real question: 
Are artists willing to give up their (largely free) ticket and tee shirt “marketing support” from Spotify in order to take a stand for fair royalties? The days of CDs are over. And tickets and tees are the foundation of many. Heck, even before CDs went away, artists like #IronMaiden made more from tee shirts than anything else. Merch isn’t a side-business. It’s the business!

Plus (fair shout out to Spotify) I do love the #SpotifyForArtists tools. I love the analytics – which we leverage for our direct-to-fan efforts and routing strategies. And I love programs like “Fan First” which is an efficient DDM (digital direct mail) tool. And I love the listing options, artist picks, playlisting, etc.  If you’re willing to accept that Spotify is primarily marketing for your artist (not the product, itself)… Spotify is a solid tool.

For many music executives, accepting the low streamer-royalties is an unspoken approved transaction from both sides. We give #Spotify the music for a song (haha) and they give the artists reach and tools to sell tickets and tee shirts. Done.

The shift came when Spotify dipped their toe in #FoxNews Light. They essentially paid $100 million to reposition themselves from ‘agnostic music platform’ to an opinion network. And #JoeRogan (albeit funny and socially likable) can be boiled down to MMA-culture meets #Hannity. Hannity! For many, the mere association is enough to boycott. And it’s undeniable that Spotify endorses this “opinion” because they paid $100 million for it.

#MileyCyrus and many others have given Rogan interviews knowing EXACTLY who he is. But she used the platform for her own media needs. Do we judge Miley now too?  She’s more than “still on Spotify” …she’s actually appeared on Rogan.

Boycott Rogan and Boycott Stupidity. But until Spotify’s subs ACTUALLY migrate to #Apple, #Amazon, #Deezer or #Tidal… let the artists be without unfair judgment.

One closing tid bit. Something I’ve never heard a music executive say… “I SURE LOVE NAVIGATING APPLE FOR ARTISTS”

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