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Musicians’ Union Responds to Spotify Wrapped with Reminder of Spotify’s Unfair Payment Policies

America-based music industry trade union United Musicians & Allied Workers has responded to the elaborate marketing campaign that is Spotify Wrapped with a reminder of Spotify’s payment inequity. “One stat you won’t find in your Spotify Wrapped is how much artists are paid for all that listening on the platform,” UMAW said in a post on social media.

The union revealed that, due to a lack of regulation on streaming, the maximum amount artists can hope to earn from Spotify is $US0.003 per stream. This figure is set to drop even further in 2024. “In 2024, Spotify will stop paying anything AT ALL for 2/3 of the tracks on the platform,” wrote UMAW.

UMAW: “There is no regulation over streaming”

Spotify recently announced that a track would need to hit a minimum threshold of 1000 plays a year before any money would be paid out. Spotify spun this change as a way to prevent payments from getting lost in the system. “Spotify hosts well over 100 million tracks,” they said. “Tens of millions of them have been streamed between 1 and 1,000 times over the past year and, on average, those tracks generated $0.03 per month.”

Spotify continued, “Because labels and distributors require a minimum amount to withdraw (usually $2-$50 per withdrawal), and banks charge a fee for the transaction (usually $1-$20 per withdrawal), this money often doesn’t reach the uploaders. And these small payments are often forgotten about.”

However, in a post titled “Spotify Kinda Sucks”, independent media outlet More Perfect Union criticised the change for effectively “demonitiz[ing] smaller artists.” UMAW said they’re working to fix the lack of regulation that allows Spotify to compensate artists so poorly. “We have big plans for 2024,” they said. “Join us!”

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