I think most people would agree that $9.99/month is a small price to pay to be able to listen to whichever songs you want, whenever you want, as much as you want, but the artists that create these songs and the publishers that release them would beg to differ. Many of them feel like Spotify, as well as the music streaming industry as a whole, is costing them a lot of money, which is why so many new albums aren’t being released on these services. Adele’s new album is the latest in a string of big name albums that aren’t being released on Spotify, and that trend will continue unless the company can find a way to win back artists and publishers.
Yesterday, we learned that Coldplay intended to withhold its new album, ‘A Head Full of Dreams,’ from Spotify. We’ve been here before; Adele, The Black Keys, Jack White, Taylor Swift and a handful of others have all withheld albums from the popular streaming platform in recent memory. The trend will continue, and it’s going to spell disaster for Spotify unless the streaming service takes steps to win back artists, publishers and labels who feel the service is costing them money. A Wall Street Journal report detailed discrepancies in the way Spotify handled royalty payments to labels. In one of the listed examples, Victory Records was reported to have only received royalties on about 79 percent of plays, which further eats away at the reported fractions of a cent the service currently pays per stream. The troubles start with accurate payment of royalties, but that’s not where they end. The free tier is also a major point of contention. While Spotify refuses to give out the actual per-stream rates for free members as opposed to paid subscribers, calling them “a highly flawed indication of our value to artists,” the Wall Street Journal did some homework back in August and determined the rates paid to artists by free users were five to seven times less than that of paid subscribers.