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