Spotify vs. The Indie – An Unfair Fight

Posted by danadron on November 13, 2014 Blog | Uncategorized | | No comments

The ongoing public conversation regarding streaming services and songwriters is a fascinating one for me.

I just did the math and found that we receive $0.002/play from streaming services like Spotify. In order for us to earn $1 from streaming services, you would have to listen to one of our songs 500 times. 5,000 plays = $10.00.

In other words, you could listen to our new album 500 times through before we would get paid a fair market value for our time and investment into creating music for the public to consume.

If those 5,000 plays were actually fairly purchased downloads, the earnings would look something more like $3,505 after distributor and publisher fees.

We were not forced to put our music on Spotify. We chose to do it. Why? Because we are indies. Because no one’s in the music store anymore – the physical or digital marketplace – compensating the artists who put their time, talent, emotions, spirit, tears, pain, joy, and life into the songs that make up the soundtrack of your life.

Because if we as artists don’t go to where the listeners are, no one will hear our music. And if no one is around to hear our music, what’s the point of making any noise at all? If no one is going to compensate the songwriter for their time and talent, there won’t be any songwriters left.

You may think that artists write music for themselves. This is true…and false. A songwriter writes songs because it’s impossible for them not to – it’s part of living and breathing. But the point of writing songs is so that they would be heard, shared, sung, and felt. That they would become anthems to others’ lives. So that they would add to the narrative in the bigger story of us. To translate our emotions and thoughts into a new and special language. To give life to our dreams, hopes, and desires we all have.

The war going on between streaming services and artists, at it’s core, is not about the numbers – it’s about the culture that these services are enabling and perpetuating – a culture of entitlement.

A culture that expects something for nothing. A culture that separates the art from the artist. A feeding frenzy of consumers that have devalued not only the art but also the artist.

Indie artists use these services because they don’t know how else to be heard.

We can talk about streaming services and Taylor Swift all you want but you are missing the bigger point – the smaller guy. The guy who doesn’t have a list of #1 hits but who is trying desperately to do what he loves for a living: write great music and, in turn, pay his mortgage and feed his family.

I ask you simply to RESPECT the artists and the art you love by purchasing their music at a fair market value.

The next time you drop $5 on that pint of beer when you are out with your friends, think about the 5 artists whose songs you just streamed in your car on the way to the bar and maybe consider putting your money where it really matters.

- Dan Smith