We Asked a Spotify Executive If Artist Payments Are Improving. Here’s What He Said…

better?  Just recently, a report in evolver.fm said the answer was yes – at least for indie labels, citing a source from Merlin.  But wait: an actual artist recently told Hypebot that payments are hardly increasing at all.

So what’s the deal?  We asked Spotify head of content Steve Savoca to clarify the matter for us at NARM in Los Angeles on Thursday.  Here’s how that discussion went.

Me: Hey, I’m Paul Resnikoff, I run a publication called Digital Mus―

Steve Savoca: Ah, I know that very well, yeah.

Me: Oh good, are you reading us?

Steve: Sometimes.

Me: Okay, great.

Steve: Yeah.

Me: I was wondering – there was a funny article that came out in Evolver about indie payments – payments to indie artists actually increasing.  But it was strange – I know it came from Merlin, I guess, but they had no stats on what the actual increases were.

Is there any data on how much this is, because I’ve seen conflicting reports now.  Many artists are saying it’s the same payment even though there are more subscribers.

But is there any information that shows that there are actually increased payments to indie artists, or unsigned artists, on Spotify?

Steve: I mean that’s not something I really want to comment on.  That was a leaked report to Evolver.

Me: Oh, from Merlin.  Just sort of an advertisement―

Steve: One of the Merlin members, yeah.

Me: Okay, okay, but I’ve also seen a report that shows that indie artists are getting exactly the same amount.  That their per-stream payments haven’t changed at all even though subscriber levels have doubled or tripled.

So is there―

Steve: Most of what’s out in the press is purely anecdotal.

Me: I know, so I’m asking you―

Steve: That’s nothing I’m prepared to comment on, you’re welcome to go to our press team.


Me: Okay.

Steve: Yeah


email to: Jim Butcher, Head of Communications, Spotify

from: paulr@…

message: Have per-track payments to artists (specifically non-label or indie artists) increased alongside Spotify’s user and premium subscriber level increases? One report in Evolver says yes, another report (in Hypebot) says no.

What is the change (if any), and how much?


[no response yet]