Can Artists Make Money on Spotify? Dee Snider Says No

Dee Snider Spotify
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Dee Snider Spotify
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Photo Credit: Alfred Nitsch / CC by 3.0

Dee Snider blasts Spotify for its artist payouts, explaining that licensing has been a much more successful moneymaking avenue for him than any streaming service.

As the leading music streaming platform, Spotify has had its share of criticisms over its paltry payouts to artists for their work. Artists under major labels continue to receive an unfair advantage from the streaming service through playlist placement and promotion. But while some artists call this endemic of the broader issues across the music industry, others, like Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, continue to point the finger at Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.

“That guy from Spotify,” said Snider, evidently referring to Daniel Ek in a new interview with The Jeremy White Show, “I wanna tell you, he should be taken out and shot. When he heard that artists were complaining about how little we get paid, his response was ‘make more music’ — like we’re producing cans of Coke. Just (increase) the production. Insulting and belittling.”

“Licensing is the last godsend, the last oasis where you can actually make some money,” Dee explains. “Steven Spielberg chooses (Twisted Sister’s) ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ for the finale of (Spielberg’s film) ‘Ready Player One.’ Thank you, God, ‘cause I’m not getting anything from Spotify.”

Daniel Ek told Music Ally in 2020 that more artists who aren’t making money on Spotify are complaining than the ones who are happy with the amount they receive through the streaming platform’s payouts, because the ones who are successful at it “have no incentive” to speak about it publicly.

“You can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough,” said Ek, who apparently believes the issue lies with artists who can’t change with the times.

“The artists today that are making it realize that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It’s about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans,” he continued. “The ones that aren’t doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released.”

Meanwhile, many artists clapped back at Ek over his remarks, including Dee Snider, Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach, and Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy.

“When this guy puts out an album himself, I will listen to him tell me about my albums,” wrote Sebastian Bach.

“What a greedy little b—h… It’s bad enough that he’s worth billions based on stealing and giving away other musicians’ music, but now he’s suggesting we need to make more music for him to make more money!” quipped Mike Portnoy. “I have 8 full album releases in 2020 and will make PEANUTS on them (…) so his theory of artists needing to make more music to succeed is s—t.”

“I think artists should do whatever they feel led to do,” said Stryper frontman Michael Sweet. “If that’s every year or if that’s every 10 years, it’s not his place to tell artists what to do. And unfortunately, he’s in a position right now where he’s captaining the ship.”

Ek has made more strides to defend Spotify’s payouts, having told CBS News earlier this year that the company does not pay artists directly. “Artists have their deals with their record companies and their deals with their publishers, et cetera. And what Spotify does is pay out to those record companies and these publishers, and don’t know what individual deals these artists may have.”

In 2021, Spotify released a website, Loud & Clear, to provide more public insight into who is receiving payments.