More Than 9,000 Artists Demand 1 Cent-Per-Stream Minimums from Spotify

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More than 9,000 artists have signed a Union of Musicians and Allied Workers petition demanding that Spotify pay at least one cent per stream.

Dubbed “Justice at Spotify,” the petition had garnered slightly more than 9,000 backers at the time of publishing, with the figure having grown by several hundred during the last hour alone. Moreover, the signers’ calls for one cent per stream – which would represent a substantial boost from Spotify’s current per-stream rate – is the first of multiple demands outlined in the detailed campaign.

Justice at Spotify also insists that the Stockholm-based company “be transparent” with its financial details and major label deals, including by ending “practices that resemble payola” and by giving “due credit to all engineers, musicians and laborers on all recordings.”

The initiative’s “Stop Fighting Artists” subheading encompasses a much-criticized quote that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek provided in August, essentially telling artists to release more music if they want to earn larger sums from royalties. Comments from Will Page, who formerly served as Spotify’s chief economist, are also highlighted in this section, as is the opposition that Spotify and “several other streaming giants” offered against the Copyright Royalty Board’s proposed 44 percent mechanical royalty increase.

Spotify hasn’t publicly addressed the Justice at Spotify petition, which arrives about eight months after nearly 2,500 individuals lent their signatures to a separate petition with requests including a tripled royalty rate and a one-time donation of $500,000 to the Sweet Relief COVID-19 Fund.

Of note in this instance, however, is that the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers also pursues causes well outside of the music sphere, indicating in its “Who We Are” section that members will use their “strength as music workers to join in the broader struggles of our fellow workers” around the world. Additionally, the months-old union expresses support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, “destroying borders,” and other controversial policies in the same section.

It remains to be seen whether these clear-cut stances on contentious issues – besides the emphasis on “broader struggles” – will dissuade royalty-minded artists from signing the Justice at Spotify petition moving forward. But as mentioned, signatures are continuing to roll in presently, and the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers has posted a live-updated list of backers on its site.

About two weeks ago, 35 percent of British music fans said in a survey that they’d be willing to pay more for Spotify subscriptions if the extra cash reached musicians directly. And shortly thereafter, the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee unveiled an investigation into streaming services’ royalty rates, and specifically their impact upon “the sustainability of the wider music industry.”

7 Responses

  1. D.

    The current stream payouts (0.00XXX) are basically the same as the pay-per-click ad rates back in… the early 2Ks, or even lower. Shameful.

    When people clicked an ad ( a text ad or an image), the person hosting the ads received more than musicians today.

    • Robert


  2. This Is The Borg

    Resistance Is Futile

    You Have Already Surrendered Your Asset To The Collective

    You Won’t Ever Know What Your Numbers Are

    You Have Been Denied Access

    You Are Commanded To Put Your Mask Back On And Go To Sleep

    This Is Your Only Request

  3. Roberto

    Twenty years since Napster and now musicians are finally doing something, LOL! Only twenty years of fans getting free music and barely a PEEP from the musical community who just went on recording new music for the fans to get for free (and they seem to think that the artists were okay with this!). Who allowed this to happen? When the fans all started stealing music on the Internet, our Govt. and our Unions did nothing (and I wonder if somebody in Washington got PAID OFF??!!) and suddenly all the Advertising revenues started going to all the large corporations and pretty much nothing to the musicians!! WAKE UP MUSICIANS! Bit late now to turn back the clock. Twenty years too late!

  4. Anonymous

    So odd that musicians are attacking Spotify instead of their labels. The labels take all the money.

    • Music Editor


      Years ago you could find many feature films and television shows on Youtube. Most feature films and television shows are now behind a YouTube paywall. I wonder why record labels allow for their already popular recordings to be on YouTube for free and Spotify for $10 a month.

      Spotify and YouTube have yet to produce a single hit song and are almost completely reliant on major record labels for musical content. I wonder if record labels will put their most popular recordings behind more expensive paywalls. iTunes has essentially come and gone and with it the sharing of MP3s. Record labels might be able to take greater control over their assets in a world in which music in mostly streamed.

  5. Tom Heny

    Pennies for play has long been a part of the music revolution that the mainstream music media has refused to talk about.
    Want to predict the future ? See music revolution today.