Why Spotify Isn’t Always the Answer

by Tommy Docherty

May 19, 2022

So, you’re an up-and-coming musician with something to say, and you want both your voice and music to be heard by the masses. What’s your first step? Well, put your music on Spotify, of course! Then send your music to a website like Distrokid and let them share your music around to all major streaming platforms with the click of a button! Maybe even put a snippet out as an audio clip on TikTok for people to share virally! You’ll get found by a label and signed in no time, right? Well, maybe, but probably not.

Here’s why:

Spotify is great for small artists to get their music out there, and with over 104 million active daily users, you’ll almost certainly at least get SOME attention. However, the reality is that with over 60,000 songs being uploaded directly to Spotify every single day, the chances of your track landing in a playlist are slim. Unless you send your music off to Spotify in the hopes of its inclusion on public playlists, which many (myself included) would argue is time-consuming and can more often than not result in a loss of time and effort. There are ways to pay a company or person to get your music onto a playlist for you, but most musicians don’t have that type of funds.

On the topic of money, relying on Spotify as a source of income is dwindling by the day. On average, artists get paid between $0.003-$0.005 per stream, meaning you’d have to get 1,000 streams to earn $3-$5. Also, this is without mentioning the labels would be taking a sliver of royalties from each stream. Spotify pays significantly less than other streaming services such as Apple Music ($0.01 per stream) and Tidal ($0.01284 per stream). These payouts are extra confusing when you think of the revenue made by each company. In 2020, Spotify Technology made $9.001B in revenue, Apple Music’s for the same year was $4.1B, and Tidal got bought by Jack Dorsey for just $302M in March of last year.

So, why is this the case?

Why is Spotify paying roughly 4x less than Tidal when in 2021 alone, Spotify made about $11.438B? The answer is unclear, but seeing as Daniel Ek (founder and owner of Spotify) gave 100 million euros to a military company using AI technology last year, we can assume to know where that money is going, and it’s obviously not going where it should be going.

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