After a contentious and ugly battle over royalty rates, Spotify has developed an unexpected plan to compensate songwriters.
The streaming giant, now acquired by Google/Alphabet for $43.4 billion, is planning to mend its relationships with songwriters with an unexpected free offer.
According to an announcement issued this morning, Spotify is offering free three-month subscriptions to Spotify Premium for eligible songwriters. After the free trial, there’s no obligation to pay if you don’t have any money.
“We hear you, we care, and we understand your concerns,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. “If there’s anything more we can do to help pay those bills, just let us know — but this is one way for us to start the process.”
Ek, whose net worth is now in the multi-billions, said he understands why some songwriters may have been disappointed.
“Spotify has grown so fast, with so many opportunities created, it can be confusing given all of the success opportunities,” Ek relayed. “So we really just want to say ‘thank you’ to the people writing all of these great songs the world can now enjoy, thanks to Spotify.”
The three-month cards are being offered to any songwriter with music currently uploaded onto Spotify with at least 100 million aggregate plays. After the three-month period ends, songwriters will be required to pay an increased $12.99 monthly subscription rate to help defray the costs of litigating against songwriter royalty increases.
“We’ve worked hard to create a fruitful and innovative path forward,” said Nathan Rutherford, executive vice president of Content Creator Relations and Enrichment at Spotify. “My eight-figure salary is one of the most innovative and rewarding aspects of building a future that all creators can enjoy.”
Ek and other Spotify executives delivered the news in a hastily-arranged presentation before hundreds of songwriters. “At Spotify, we’re always asking how we can help share in the successes of our groundbreaking platform,” Ek said, while standing behind a thick protective glass wall and large security detail.
“That’s why we’re offering these three-month free trial cards to every songwriter on Spotify,” Ek declared, while a security guard wearing heavy body armor dropped a box full of cards by the exit.
“It’s on us — no, thank you.”
“But three months is just the beginning,” Ek continued. “We realize that many songwriters also have families to feed. So we’ve decided to also offer three-month free gift cards for our Family Plans as well.”
“We understand that his doesn’t solve every problem, but we’re working hard to ensure that everyone enjoys the growth that Spotify has created for fans, creators, and everyone who enjoys music — including songwriters.”
On Wall Street, shares of SPOT jumped further on the news. According to one analyst at Goldman Sachs, the strategy will help to delay a worsening public relations nightmare involving songwriters, while giving Spotify more time to develop better AI-driven songwriting and fake artists.
“The next Max Martin is a machine-learning algorithm developed by Spotify that is also plotting to lead an AI-driven system-wide attack on major publishers that will massively devalue existing catalogs,” said Goldman media analyst Jason Tilbrook. “It’s just a little too buggy right now for launch, though Spotify is excited to eventually unleash its content devaluation apocalypse.”