Another Reason To Say No To Spotify (and an alternative)

I stopped using Spotify over a year ago. I didn’t do it for political reasons. I did it to support artists. Art is crucial for a society, and I feel our society supports art less and less. So why’d I ditch Spotify? First, I hated it. I didn’t like that it was very difficult to listen to an album. I’m old school in that regard. Musicians create albums. I primarily like to listen to the whole album. Second, they are the worst for paying artists.

Because of how royalty payouts are figured and distributed to artists, it’s a little difficult to get to arrive at a set per/stream payout as I think it’s more complex of an equation than a set price per play. Also figured into the equation is a percentage of subscription price connected to number of streams, but we can at least use these numbers for comparison. Here’s some numbers for some of the more common streaming services from three different sources.

PlatformPay per stream
(headphonesty.com)
Pay per stream
(freeyourmusic.com)
Pay per stream
(soundcharts.com)
Tidal$0.120.012840.00989
Apple Music$0.010.007830.00563
Amazon Music$0.0040.004020.01196
Spotify$0.00330.004370.00318
YouTube Music$0.0020.0020.00164
Pandora$0.00130.001330.00151

Again, I’m pretty sure these numbers aren’t a fixed price per play scenario, but useful for comparison. I chose to use Apple Music. I didn’t want to. I tried Tidal, but I struggled with the user interface and I couldn’t find some artists I wanted to follow on their platform (as of about a year ago anyway).

I still prefer to buy music, as that is what pays musicians the most. Most musicians, except those getting significant radio play (or millions and millions of streams) do not make enough money off of royalties alone, but instead on live shows–which obviously have been greatly reduced for the past two years.

So ideally the way to best support artists, especially if you want to support musicians who don’t have number 1 hits to continue providing royalties, is to purchase their music AND also stream it.

That brings me to another option: Bandcamp. I hate the name, but it is a platform to purchase from (mostly) independent musicians more directly. The artist gets 85% of each sale of digital downloads. Except Fridays. On Fridays, Bandcamp waives their cut and the artist gets 100%.

So here’s a plug. I participate in a Songwriting Facebook group. (I’m not interested in this discussion to debate Facebook. That’s a whole different thing). During two seasons (winter and summer) we get weekly or bi-weekly prompts, all share our song for that prompt and provide feedback to one another. I’ve met some amazing songwriters here. Here’s link to some of them who have music on Bandcamp.

Ted Hajnasiewicz
Sarah Morris
Andy Ulseth
Laurel Hay (Songwriting group “promptster’)
Doyle Turner
Eliza Rush
Christopher David Hanson
Emily Haavik
Matthew French
Pat Egan
Mary Strand
Jason Edward
Riley Skinner
Amanda B. Perry
Dan Tanz
Daniel Stephen Turner
Dave Mehling
And of course I’ve got an Album and EP available on Bandcamp

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