Spotify has revealed that it paid $7billion (£5.3billion) to artists last year.

The news was published via its Loud And Clear website, which aims to “increase transparency” around payments.

The streaming giant said that 56,200 musicians received more than $10,000 (£7,500) from Spotify last year and 130 of these were paid more than $5m (£3.8m).

However, the figures shared don’t include the final figure the artist receives once labels and publishers have taken their share, which means the money they receive is often much lower. Songwriters and session musicians receive even less.

Spotify on a phone screen
Spotify on a phone screen. CREDIT: Alamy Stock Photo

The service has come under fire previously for its low artist payments, with the likes of David Byrne, producer Tony Visconti and David Crosby all criticising the platform recently.

Visconti described the streaming service as “disgusting” over its low payments to artists. “Spotify is disgusting, the money they make out of [artists],” he said. “If you had 12 million streams, you could barely afford lunch for two people. It’s ridiculous, I don’t know why it’s allowed. Spotify does nothing to support the culture of music.”

In 2013 Byrne criticised the “pittance” artists are paid while David Crosby said recently: “I don’t like any of the streamers, because they don’t pay us properly. Their proportion is wrong. They’re making billions with a ‘b’ and they’re paying out pennies with a ‘p.’”

The Music Venue Trust also hit out recently at Spotify‘s huge new sponsorship deal with FC Barcelona, saying the cash could have helped hundreds of struggling music venues instead.

After previous rumours, it was confirmed that it had secured a groundbreaking sponsorship deal with the world famous Spanish club, which will see Spotify’s logo appear on match and training kits. The club’s stadium has been renamed the Spotify Nou Camp.

In a series of tweets responding to the news, the MVT said: “For the amount of money Spotify have agreed to spend on TEMPORARILY branding FC Barcelona they could, instead, have secured a PERMANENT future for circa 700 UK Grassroots Music Venues.

“Such an investment could have unleashed £40million per annum into grassroots artist talent development, from which Spotify, [Universal, Sony, Warner] and others are the ultimate financial beneficiaries.”

MVT added: “Not only that, but an investment of money in this way would generate a reasonable financial return, being invested into bricks and mortar and therefore remaining an asset. That’s how sensible investment works.

“Spotify could have taken this money, invested it in music infrastructure, kept the asset value, improved economics for every new/emerging artist, and be making a small return on a sensible and protected investment which completely aligns with the best interests of their company.”

The post Here’s how much Spotify paid out to the music industry in 2021 appeared first on NME.


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