I am thinking about canceling my subscription.


I am thinking about canceling my subscription.

Casual Listener


I am seriously thinking about canceling my Spotify subscription as I have come across some very important information in regards to artist compensation.  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the service because I can listen to any artist and enjoy their influence in my own songwriting.  The problem is that I feel as if I am ripping off the artists and the songwriters everytime I stream a song or album.  Even though I pay my montly fee, I have visited artists blogs that proclaim unfair compensation to them or the songwriters that are on Spotify and similar services.  I recall artists claiming compensation of a fraction of a cent for each play and that includes the songwriters share.


I recall an anecdote about Picasso who was sitting in the park sketching, when a lady interupted him and asked, "Will you please do me the honor of making something for me?"  Picasso graciously honored the woman's request and after handing it to her, he says, "That will be $5000?"  Apalled, the woman says loudly, "Sir, this amount is ridiculous that piece only took you minutes to complete!" to which Picasso replies calmly, "No madame, it took my whole life."


It is in that story that I find the problem and my struggle with being a music lover and a music consumer.  I have a full-time job.  I am not a highly recognized artist and don't really care if I get paid for writing or performing.  I play locally and for friends and family.  It is one of my passions in life and I do it for personal growth.  What I do understand is that the musicians and writers that do make a living through their art are also my friends.  I think most of them are well aware just what they are up against when they take part in this market and most are grateful for what compensation, no matter how little, they are afforded.  I see them struggle to make ends meet for their families and are away from them for weeks when touring.  At times, even their extended family pitch in to help them make it because they believe in them as artists.  They find fullfillment in their words and music, just as I do.


I feel that Spotify is making an effort to provide artists with a vehicle to get their music heard and that is what every artist desires.  It just seems that a company with music as it's backbone would do more for the elements that go into making the backbone a strong and sturdy structure.  I have looked through your website and have found nothing that shows where my monthly fee goes, nor do I see anywhere on your site that shows exactly what you are doing for your artists, aside from asking them to come aboard.


It seems that both your company and I are at a crossroads.  Your company makes millions from your service and as a consumer, I have been doing my share to support your business.  At what cost to us both?  Your company uses technology to perpetuate the convenience of music without fair regards to those who fill your online shelves by treating their art as a binomial widget.  I lose credibility with my artists friends because I participate in this business model that is treating them unfairly.  I hope to be able to hear more from your company in regards to this matter or at least hear what plans you have in place to ensure your business supports the arts in a fair and equitable manner.  If not I will have to discontinue my subscription.  If you have read this far, thank you for your consideration.

-A. J. Carabajal

26 Replies

Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.



I am going to cancel my subscription also after writing this post. I am incredibly sad about this. I love the service that spotify provides, and I do see the point of view that it is a beneficial tool for artists who are trying to get their music heard but I cannot support a system that ultimately won't support the artists that provide them with content. I would gladly pay double what I pay now for this service if I felt I was ethically compensating the artist for the product that they are providing me. 


Ultimately, AJ has said everything that I would hope to say very well and I see no point in repeating it, but I would like to emphasize that this is a very frustrating and disappointing decision for me. It would make me truly happy to find that I could begin my subscription again and feel good about fairly compensating both Spotify for providing the library for my use and the artist whose content I am enjoying.

Thank you.


Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.

Casual Listener

It is very funny to read your complains, because I see it the whole other way.


I can speak about my surrounding only, but here noone pays for music. I know noone who bought a CD, or loaded itunes. Of course personal experiences cannot be taken for general, but the methods to get music without paying are there and won't be eradicated in the near future, unless all western nations decide to become states of unjust and suppression, closing down the internet. ACTA will be finally hitting the dustbin tomorrow and the population has been shaking awake and sensitised about these topics.


I hope with every cell of my body that our all future will _not_ consist of a system, which actually manages to execute full "copyright law" enforcement. Not because I am greedy, but because I fear for the stability of our democratic system and europe, when the administration is given such enormous power to abuse. Former "German Democratic Republic" or even Nazi-Germany, given such tools, would either still exist or have tyrannized a lot more people. It is too dangerous, and it is unjust observation of respectable citizens.


Society needs freedom.


This is the political aspect and my prediction. The "good old days" where people liked 1 song and were forced to buy 20 instead are over.


The reality is: people don't pay a cent anymore. The new generations <30 (rising by 1 each year) are used to the internet.


My example (written down on my own topic here a few month ago)

I didnt buy music at all for many years. I don't know a single person buying CDs, DVDs or other stuff. I bought one soundtrack music CD and got a present of itunes credit.


Now I am using Spotify and payed 10€ for premium.


The only reason I stopped paying is because Spotify, or the music labels signing the contract in behind, is forcing people into premium / or leave, due to the 10 hours month restriction for free.


I hate being blackmailed. "Pay or we annoy you to hell with pointless limits."


I am a spotify pioner, being the first to use it and the first to hit the 6 month border. None of my friends using spotify know about it (its very well hidden), and when I told them about it the answer was: "Ok.. that'll be moment I'm gone"


Spotify and music artists can decide:

Do I want this person to stop using Spotify for good and return to his usual music ways.

Or do I appreciate getting like 50-60€ a year instead of 0€, which was the case without spotify.

And even if people don't pay, you still got a big platform to send advertisments like a gigantic radio.


Regarding the above mentioned, I find it pretty interesting that you think the artists get to FEW,

where as I believe they get more than ZERO due to spotify.


I've decided to give spotify a few more month, to observe how customer numbers go down once they hit the limit, present the numbers to the labels and those agree to lift it. If that doesnt happen, platforms like spotify will shrink into worthless once again.


You (spotify) have to be aware that your reputation is in danger. Now people are here and they will stay if free is really free. But once they are gone it will be a _lot_ harder to get them back.

I remember a computer game (Universe at War), involving Windows Live. Windows Live is used at the xbox, where people have to pay 50€ a year for online services. Now Microsoft tried to use the "Windows Live" method to organize the servers for PC gamers. But PC gamers are used to absolutely free servers. No PC gamer pays. Microsoft thought they could force them to pay, but instead the game became a big failure, although it had the potential to be a truely awesome game (designed by petroglyph, which had the coders and builders from Command and Conquer: Generals, a pc game with perfect gameplay).


After month, dropping sales and huge pressure they lifted the payment requirement for pc gamers. But it was too late. The people were gone and didnt return anymore.


I fear the same will happen with Spotify, if this monthly limit is not removed VERY soon.


So in summary: Paying nothing for music is not fair. Paying 20€ for 1 CD with 1 song you like is not fair neither. Spotify can be fair. Spotify has to be the compromise.



Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.

Not applicable

Can't agree more. I do not buy music, I just use a Premium now from December 2010. It's not good, there is bugs, but I can wait for fix. In my opinion music is must have thing in my life. I like music, so I need Spotify. I'm not millionaire to buy all songs I listen as .mp3 file.


Other way is free P2P market and if some artist isn't satisfied with Spotify payments, just go away from Spotify. I can choose another artist from 16 million catalogue. No way that I go back to purchase CD or .mp3 file. Spotify is future of music. It's cheap and awesome - music whenever you are.


In one program. Smartphone is must have. Spotify forewer.


BTW with Spotify I listen more music. Any artist should be happy! I founded more good artists just from Spotify!!!


Also topic first people, keep in mind that when you buy mp3 or CD, you pay to right holders only once, even if you repeat album or song 1,000 times in year. In Spotify every listen is money for right holders.


And I know this thing, if Spotify pay for you 25c for stream, you or artist like you whine next you need 35c etc... So if you do not like this payment system, just go away from Spotify. No one will miss you.



Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.

Community Legend

I'm going to disagree (with the OP).


OK, so Spotify only pay a very small amount per track play. I have no idea what that amount is, but let's say it's 0.1 pence/cent.


I tend to listen to whole albums, so if I listen to an artist they would generally get around 1 pence/cent.


That's nothing!!! And taken with that view it seems incredibly unfair.


However, this is just me just for one listen. If I like what I hear I'll listen several more times, so let's say 10 pence/cents, from me alone. Then scale that to everyone else who does the same. Depending on the popularity of the artist and the backing their publisher gives them, that's an artist who may only have sold a very limited number of CDs before Spotify. Some people wouldn't have bought it because we only have a given budget for these things, which tends to go on bands we really like either historically or our known favourite up and comers - there's no leeway for taking much of a gamble when budget is limited in this way. Other people would have simply pirated.


Right this moment I am listening to someone called Sarah Jaffe. I would NEVER have know she existed without Spotify ... and even if by some chance I'd heard her on the radio there would be an extremely small chance I would have an opportunity to follow it up without Spotify or a similar service and an even smaller chance that I'd buy the CD if I had to shell out a tenner. (And of that ten pounds how little would she have actually received?)


BUT, now I have heard her album, it's on one of my playlists, which means I will play it again and she'll get more money.


I'm paying for Premium, which is less than I used to spend on CDs - maybe half or a third. But, I am hearing a much wider range of music now ... and the money I save is going towards gigs instead of CDs. These are usually the smaller bands I have heard on Spotify that I really like and as far as I'm aware bands get much more money out of touring than selling CDs.


Like I say I have no idea how much Spotify pay ... but it is a rate that has been agreed by the 'industry', and so it must be 'fair' to a certain extent. 

Listening on Windows, Android and Sonos. Tweeting it at @davelicence

Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.


A couple of things - if anyone can refute this or back up I'd like to hear.


1. Spotify potentially democratises music. It's been established that — although tangible numbers are scarce — artists *do* get payed according to a formula based on the number of times a track has been played[^]. Therefore, publishers have the statistics handed to them on a platter (as opposed to receiving a big thank you and a sack of gold). So, if legit MoD services take off (more then they already do) a more significant chunk of their revenue comes from a fanbase rather then radio stations. This is important because the big players can excert a lot of influence over radio stations (but presumably less over MoD by a wide margin) and as a result they've created their own positive feedback loop (charts started counting airplay a long time ago, further bolstering the loop). Though I have yet to find a verifiable study on this (maybe someone with better Google skills?)


2. (An extension of 1) Without a costly distribution model involving the exchange of physical goods the barriers to entry are lowered which paves the way for independent record labels to compete (by exclusively supporting MoD, seeding the market with music otherwise unheard of). And this may be rife with personal bias, but with the share of people connected to the Internet on the rise, the need for physical media diminishes[~] while enabling MoD services to tap into a wider audience then the traditional distribution models (this is just a claim I think may be accurate, I'd love to see some facts).


I also would like to mention (but since it's a strawman argument isn't worth more then a brief mention) that if you want to support your favourite artists, you can still buy their music, merchandise, concert tickets, etc. Although I'm not sure if buying a download would from thereon allow the music to be played localy without any reimbursements from the backoffice (but that would be perfectly legal and could save Spotify a lot of cost). Nor is it clear if a download would equal an exorbitant number of streams for the artist.




Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.

Community Legend

@hēnk wrote:

if you want to support your favourite artists, you can still buy their music, merchandise, concert tickets, etc. Although I'm not sure if buying a download would from thereon allow the music to be played localy without any reimbursements from the backoffice (but that would be perfectly legal and could save Spotify a lot of cost). Nor is it clear if a download would equal an exorbitant number of streams for the artist.

Good points, and just to pick up on this bit in particular...


1) If you select (in the Spotify client) to play a track that Spotify has determined you have as an MP3 in your collection, then it will play your local copy.


A forum mod on some post or other stated that this does not count as a stream and so no royalties are paid ... it is assumed that however you got that file it was legal and therefore all necessary royalties have been paid.


This sets up the interesting ploy that if you really want to support your favourites bands (and can't get to concerts and don't want their merch) then you could buy their music (CDs/MP3s/etc.) but keep the files somewhere that Spotify doesn't know about and use Spotify's copy whenever you want to hear that music while using the Spotify client - the artist gets paid twice.


2) There will be a separate royalty model for downloads. Although again it will be difficult to near impossible to find out what the rates are.

Listening on Windows, Android and Sonos. Tweeting it at @davelicence

Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.


As far as I am concerned. I will pay for Spotify for as long as they are legal.


I've been on the Deezer/Napster trains and both have gone down hill being bought out by US companys. I wish never for Spotify to go that way. The only way I wish you would go is to have a web player like Napster does. Can be a god send!


The issue for me is never going to be how much the artists do or don't get. That's not my concern.  I simply wish to pay my money and use the service.


I don't see the point (like hpguru) or owning physical media and  downloads. I tend to have to wipe my HDD too much for that.


Often I have done a radio show and been short of music. I therefore used Spotify. Not a problem the station pays all royalties and is licenced.


Long live Spotify! 

Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.

Community Legend

Well, sorry to tell you this but Spotify has sold out to Facebook, which is an American company.


My Premium's cancelled now because Rdio is in Finland.

Re: I am thinking about canceling my subscription.


Not sure if they have sold out to them. I'd love to see some evidence of that. 


Ofcourse facebook is american. Mark Zuckerberg started it at Harvard!., Have you not seen the film The Social Network with Jesse E?