Spotify: Let The Money Pour In?

At long last, Spotify has launched here in the United States! My initial instinct is that it’s a technological one-two punch: Discover an artist on Pandora Radio, go listen to the full album on Spotify. Let’s see what happens every time you listen to a track on Spotify…

Spotify Sales

If 10,000 people buy a track from iTunes, I can pay off my credit cards and keep making music. If 10,000 people listen to a track on Spotify, I earn $13 and change; I can almost buy dinner at Chili’s.

Shit. Please, folks, buy an album if you like what you hear.

  • I’ve been wondering about this ever since I opened up Spotify and couldn’t find a buy button.

    The other day I was listening to a new album on there. It was awesome because I could listen to the whole thing for free BEFORE buying it because it was from a band that I was not sure about. But, after listening to it I wanted to buy a copy and I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

    I get that their model is an all I can listen to for $9.99 a month, but still I wanted to buy it so that I’d have the music and could listen to it whenever and wherever I wanted to. PLUS, I wanted to support the artist.

    As a listener I’m loving the concept of Spotify, but as someone who also loves to support the artists it is missing a big piece of the puzzle.

    • Yeah, even Turntable.fm has a “Buy” link for every song.  Spotify worries me, but I know it’s not going away any time soon.

      • Do you get a good amount off of the purchases on the other services, or is that more of the same percentage? Hate to throw money away while I’m trying to help.

        • Purchases (downloads) are usually 60-70¢ on the dollar for an indie like me.  The “Buy” links on Turntable.fm just forward you to iTunes, so I’m getting the usual iTunes rate AND Turntable.fm is making a little affiliate money in the process.  That system actually works for both of us.

    • Yeah, even Turntable.fm has a “Buy” link for every song.  Spotify worries me, but I know it’s not going away any time soon.

      • Do you get a good amount off of the purchases on the other services, or is that more of the same percentage? Hate to throw money away while I’m trying to help.

    • I’ve been using Spotify in the UK for a while, and that definitely has a Buy button. Not sure if it’s on every track – next time I’ve got that PC turned on I’ll go look for Matthew’s music (though I’ll probably forget to report back 🙂 )

    • I’ve been using Spotify in the UK for a while, and that definitely has a Buy button. Not sure if it’s on every track – next time I’ve got that PC turned on I’ll go look for Matthew’s music (though I’ll probably forget to report back 🙂 )

  • I was just thinking about this very thing a few hours ago. Thanks for sharing the insight!

    Is it the same for the other services out there? (i.e., Grooveshark, Rdio.com)Maybe the answer is to have a tip jar in a prominent place on the service while your tracks are up? Not likely that the service is going to volunteer to take up their own real estate for it, but they should want to support the artists as much as possible (especially if it doesn’t cut into their bottom line)

    • My philosophy on digital tip jars is a negative one…  When I do streaming concerts, I tell my fans that, instead of tipping me, they should just buy a track.  If they want to tip $5, buy half an album.  If you already own all of my music, buy the track anyway and gift it to someone else.

      I want people to GET something for their money, something that they can OWN.  That philosophy might change, though, if this kind of system threatens my ability to survive.

  • I was just thinking about this very thing a few hours ago. Thanks for sharing the insight!

    Is it the same for the other services out there? (i.e., Grooveshark, Rdio.com)Maybe the answer is to have a tip jar in a prominent place on the service while your tracks are up? Not likely that the service is going to volunteer to take up their own real estate for it, but they should want to support the artists as much as possible (especially if it doesn’t cut into their bottom line)

  • Ridiculous, isn’t it? There’s a fantastic (and depressing) infographic visualizing the artists’ cut for different music distribution channels, and the number of plays necessary to make a living off of either of them. Spotify pays the worst; cdbaby seems to offer artists’ the best terms for digital distribution.

    The major labels love Spotify, however. Not only do they get a way greater cut per play than the artists do, they also own a significant amount of shares in the company. Basically, when somebody plays your music in Spotify, it’s the major labels that get the money. Downright disturbing, if you ask me…

  • Ridiculous, isn’t it? There’s a fantastic (and depressing) infographic visualizing the artists’ cut for different music distribution channels, and the number of plays necessary to make a living off of either of them. Spotify pays the worst; cdbaby seems to offer artists the best terms for digital distribution.

    The major labels love Spotify, however. Not only do they get a way greater cut per play than the artists do, they also own a significant amount of shares in the company. Basically, when somebody plays your music in Spotify, it’s the major labels that get the money. Downright disturbing, if you ask me…

  • Christopher Penn

    Here’s an interesting twist:

    You have a mailing list. You have customers. You have people who already own your albums and love you.

    Reach out to them and ask them to play your music in the office during the day on an iPad, desktop, etc. – but play it from Spotify, not their iTunes library. That way their spins are tracked, counted, and paid – and they’d be listening to you anyway as fans.

  • Christopher Penn

    Here’s an interesting twist:

    You have a mailing list. You have customers. You have people who already own your albums and love you.

    Reach out to them and ask them to play your music in the office during the day on an iPad, desktop, etc. – but play it from Spotify, not their iTunes library. That way their spins are tracked, counted, and paid – and they’d be listening to you anyway as fans.

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  • Joakim Bidebo

    I can buy music from “Matthew Ebel” in Spotify from Sweden. Have a buy button on all his songs. Not sure how it works or how much it cost tho.

  • I can buy music from “Matthew Ebel” in Spotify from Sweden. Have a buy button on all his songs. Not sure how it works or how much it cost tho.

  • jtgd

    If a person buys the track and listens to it once, or listens to it 10,000 times you still get only $0.99.  If they listen to it once or 10,000 times on Spotify…. well the math is different you see.

  • Not to be a bitch, but shouldn’t you be happy people are at least listening to your music?  

    • I’m curious what you do for a living and how you’d react if you were suddenly expected to give away your product or time at a sub-minimum-wage rate.

      If you’re a carpenter, shouldn’t you just be happy people are living in the houses you’re building, happily pocketing the 12¢ they give you for working all day long?  I mean, it’s all about exposure, right?  They’ll put your name on the house somewhere and on the developer’s website so more people will know that it’s your work.  In fact, you should be thanking them.If the only way artists can pay their bills is to make music outside a full-time day job, then you won’t see touring acts or high-quality productions anymore.

      You get what you pay for, and we’ll be competing for your job when we can’t support ourselves with our own goods.

  • Solarmirror

    Yeah, I’m a BMI Artist and they offered me a first day invite to Spotify.  I didn’t do it because it looks and feels like a scam cooked up by the PTB to disenfranchise independent artists.  If you want to pay me for my music, how about a fair offer?  Ridiculous.

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