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30 / November / 2023 Sp*tify

Updated: Mar 25

It's the time of year when artists share their 'wrapped' from Spotify. 'Spotify Wrapped' gaslights the artist.

It's important to me that you know that anything on Spotify bearing my name has not been uploaded by me. It's largely back catalogue owned by Universal, alongside bits and bobs where I'm a 'featured' artist and have no say in whether or not that gets uploaded. It's the featured artist part that I get my 'wrapped' for, not the back catalogue.
Let me share that with you here. The numbers are truly nothing to write home about.

Incidentally, I'm sure that the back catalogue stuff has far more impressive figures but I've no access to that.

The 'wrapped' video Spotify gives the artist access to is at best patronising, and at worst it's gaslighting. We're meant to feel grateful for and proud of all our streams. Gaslighting a go-go.

But what do those streams convert to, in financial terms? I'll use the example of my band All About Eve's biggest hit, 'Martha's Harbour'. Let me explain the breakdown so the figures make more sense.

Although I co-wrote the song with Tim Bricheno, my royalty share on this song is 16.66%. In a three musketeers gesture, back in the day when we were all good friends, Tim and I shared the writing credit with Andy Cousin, even though he hadn't written or played on the song. Socialism in action. So there you have the writers' cut of 50%, divided by three. 16.66% x 3 = 49.99% and the publisher (which was originally BMG, then the back catalogue was taken on by EMI) gets the rest 50.01% - So that's the maths.

For 32,295 streams of this song, I earned £2.21 from UK plays, the UK being the band's most 'successful' territory.
Even if I were to have this 'wrapped' I wouldn't feel the least bit proud or grateful. Yes the money is handy, for sure, but it could and should be so much more.
So when you see artists sharing their streams all over social media, why not ask them what they earned? Well, the reason why not to is that it'd be a little rude and quite nosy, but it may be a wake-up call for them. As we're all being gaslit, you may be doing everyone a favour.

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Άγνωστο μέλος
30 Νοε 2023

I've been trying to figure out whether the "all you can eat" streaming model can be fixed. i.e. could royalties be raised to a level that would allow artists to make a living, within a subscription cost that people would pay? Obviously £2.21 for 18 months is a joke. £22.10 still less than paper-round, £221.00 still sounds way off the mark. £2,210.00 maybe if all the platforms paid a similar royalty and you have enough songs, you could scrape a living, but still seems very low. Even to pay that, would be a 14p share of the royalty at 16.6% so total would be 87p per song streamed. I streamed approx 433 songs a month last year on Spot…

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Άγνωστο μέλος
30 Νοε 2023

Just enough to replace a single broken string. How utterly grotesque.

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Άγνωστο μέλος
30 Νοε 2023

Shocking. I mean we've always known that the talent of artists such as yourselves has been monetised by others (thanks, Capitalism), but for it still to be after all these years? What would be the best option for us to source/purchase the new single so you and Mr Tim get the proper reward?

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Άγνωστο μέλος
30 Νοε 2023

Thank you for sharing this Julianne, that you only get £2.21 for that feels insulting, and worth revealing. May I bold/cheeky and ask how the income from streaming compares to sales of physical or download products? I still like to have something physical in my hand, and have always assumed that the artist would get more from this, but is that the case in reality?

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