Spotify, the music service with 24 million active users, says that it is on track to pay out $1 billion to artists that stream music on its platform by the end of 2013, and that it has already paid out $500 million so far as the “artist-friendly” streaming service. This speaks to how the company continues to push as the pacesetter in the world of streaming music, but also comes at a time when the company is coming under fire from small-but-influential acts who are pulling their music from the platform and claiming Spotify doesn’t pay well enough to be worth their while.
As Spotify becomes more mainstream, it is also bringing on more major musicians. In recent months, Metallica, Pink Floyd and theEagles have all signed important deals to bring their back catalogues to the platform. But at the same time, smaller players are getting increasingly vocal about dissatisfaction with the Swedish-based startup.
There have been bands before who have chosen not to put their music on Spotify complaining of poor returns, but the exodus took a slightly more high-profile turn this weekend, when Nigel Godrich from the band-of-bands Atoms for Peace announced on Twitter that the band was pulling its titles from Spotify. (Other members of Atoms for Peace include Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Thom Yorke from Radiohead; Godrich is also a producer who has been called Radiohead’s sixth member.)
Calling their move a “small meaningless rebellion” — likely in reference to the band’s audience size and catalog size in relation to that of Spotify overall, not their own profile, judging by the online reaction to the move — Godrich explained that “new artists get paid fuck all with this model.. It’s an equation that just doesn’t work.”