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Calling Bullshit

Spotify: Starving Artists?

Calling Bullsh!t December 7, 2022 2386


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Our guests

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Kaydence

@Kaydenceis

Songwriter

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David Turner

 

Curation Analyst at SoundCloud

Is Spotify truly helping a million artists live off their work or is it throwing them pocket change?

Short Synopsis: 

Stated purpose: to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.

Spotify is  the most popular streaming service in the world, with 188 million people paying for premium subscriptions and hundreds of millions more listening for free on the ad supported tier. Which is why it has been called the world’s best place to get noticed as a musician.  But getting noticed and making a living are two different things. In this episode we decide if Spotify is more about  “Honesty” or “Little Lies?”. Listen in to find out.

“You know, you keep using this word product and I’m just curious, what do you think your product is? And the executives said, What do you mean our product is Spotify? And I said, No, fellas, your product is not Spotify. Your product is music.” 

– Blake Morgan

 

Spotify’s BS score is

Show notes

Episode Transcript

Spotify

 

SFX: Record player sounds.

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old and my parents finally allowed me to use the record player, like, all by myself. 

 

Choose an album. Line up the needle, pull the lever. Watch as it slowly land onto the spinning record. 

 

SFX: The needle lands on the record and it plays 

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

So satisfying. 

 

SFX:  Music washes over the listeners and we are brought forward in time, i.e. the music is no longer “vinyl” sounding  – it’s crisp and clear – Listening to a walkman walking down the street.

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO) 

When I moved to New York in my 20s, I’d poke around record stores in the East Village village near CBGB. But my go to place for buying music was Tower Records on Broadway. I could spend an entire afternoon browsing for CDs. Going into the listening booths. Admiring the album art in the jewel cases. The experience brought music to life. 

 

And I certainly wasn’t alone. In 1999 CD revenue made up most of the $14.5 billion dollar music industry. 

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO) 

But of course, change is the only constant and in 2006 Tower filed for bankruptcy. 

 

SFX: All sounds fade out here.

 

SFX: Dial up sounds, music

 

It was a sign of the times.

 

SFX:  Dial up sounds, music 

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

Websites like Napster and uTorrent ushered in a new way to discover and share music, each song could be duplicated and passed along endlessly with no loss in quality. Physical music sales plummeted and the music industry suffered a massive pay cut. 

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

Music had moved to the internet. Where everything is free. 

 

Welcome to Calling Bullshit, the podcast about purpose-washing — the gap between what an organization says they stand for and what they actually do — and what they would need to change to practice what they preach.

 

I’m your host, TY MONTAGUE. I’ve spent over a decade helping organizations define what they stand for — their purpose — and helped them to use that purpose to drive transformation throughout their business.

 

Unfortunately, at a lot of institutions today, there’s still a pretty wide gap between word and deed. That gap has a name: Bullshit.

 

But — and this is important – bullshit is serious, but it’s also a treatable condition. So when our bullshit detector lights up, we’re going to explore everything the organization should do to fix it

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO) 

The same year that Tower Records closed, Daniel Ek founded Spotify. He had been the CEO of uTorrent, a platform that allowed users to anonymously swap large media files. The program itself was legal, but it ended up mostly being used to pirate music. 

 

Pirated music wasn’t profitable. Labels and governments were cracking down. And Ek saw an opportunity here. By working with labels and artists, he could charge listeners for access to a massive digital library and reclaim the value of music. 

 

And so he started Spotify with the mission to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it. 

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

Streaming now makes up about 80% of the music industry’s revenue. And Spotify is the most popular streaming service in the world, with 188 million people paying for premium subscriptions and hundreds of millions more listening for free on the ad-supported tier. 

 

But is it possible for artists to make a living with Spotify? 

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO) 

Spotify positions themselves as artist-friendly.  Their platform, Spotify for artists, helps musicians get stats on listeners and manage their profiles. And they launched the Loud and Clear Campaign in 2021 to “give artists clarity about the economics of music streaming.”  

 

[SOT Spotify Video] How exactly do artists and songwriters get paid? Let’s break it down. First, it’s important to know that Spotify does not pay artists or songwriters directly. Instead, Spotify pays the rights holders. So who are they? These are typically record labels, distributors, aggregators, or collecting societies. Artists and songwriters choose their rights holders and make agreements on their music, including giving them permission to deliver it to Spotify. In return, Spotify pays these rights holders and they then pay the artist and songwriters. As of 2020, Spotify has paid over 21 billion euro in royalties to rights holders, including over 1 billion Euro every quarter of 2020 for a total of 5 billion Euro last year alone. That’s a lot of cash. 

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

But in 2020, only 3% of artists on Spotify made more than one thousand dollars. And the people who work on albums who aren’t top-billed artists, like backup singers and songwriters, make even less. In fact, most artists make fractions of a penny per stream. Back in the CD age it was possible to make a middle-class living as a professional musician. Today, it’s a lot harder.

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

So where does all that cash go? 

 

Is Spotify’s purpose – to give a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art – actually a core principle? Or just a song and dance? 

 

To help me further understand the relationship between Spotify and Artists, I called up musician, producer, label owner,  and activist Blake Morgan. 

TY MONTAGUE 

Folks, I am very excited to introduce entrepreneur, musician, activist, and all-around, busy person, Blake Morgan. Blake, thanks for being here, and welcome to Calling Bullshit.

BLAKE MORGAN

 Hey, thanks for having me.

TY MONTAGUE 

Um, so for the folks at home, as it were, would you mind just, uh, telling us a little bit about your, your background, how you got into music and, and some of your adventures in it?

BLAKE MORGAN 

Uh, I’m a recording artist and songwriter and, record producer and label owner here in New York City. My beloved hometown. Grew up on the Lower East side and I’ve been making music my whole life. Both my parents are writers and, and so I grew up in an artistic household. I think if I’d, if I’d grown up to be a tax attorney, that would’ve been more rebellious in my family than growing up to be a rock and roll musician as I have.

TY MONTAGUE

You’ve gone on to have a very successful career. You’ve recorded several of your own records and also started your own label ECR. Um, what motivated you to make that leap to Entrepreneurship?

BLAKE MORGAN 

The cliche goes is, uh, necessity is, is the mother of invention, but you know, so is desperation. And, um, I’ve had a huge record deal with, uh, with Phil Ramon and his, his label N two K, which. Through Sony Red, and, uh, uh, it was a, it was a great artistic experience, but it was a terrible label.

and, uh, I had to fight my way out of my seven-album deal. and I was, you know, following sort of standard industry advice and showcasing, uh, to get other deals. And I was actually walking down the street with my mother and I said to her, you know, if I had any guts, what I would do is I would just start my own label and all these demos that I’m making and producing all these eps and pseudo records that I’m making, you know, they could actually be real records. if I had any guts, you know, like that’s really what I would do.

And, and, my mother turned to me and she was like, Yeah, you know what? If you had any guts, that is what you’d do. And I remember stopping in the middle of Fifth Avenue and 11th Street and just putting my hands on my knees and going, Oh my God, this is now what I’m gonna have to do.

Oh my God. Oh my God. and, um, you know, John Milton said, it’s, it’s better to rule in hell than serve in heaven. And it’s turned, it’s turned out not to be hell at all. It’s turned out to be a heaven of its own.

it was more desperation even than necessity. It’s like I had simply gotten tired of handing music that I bled over. tired of handing it over to people who then invariably screwed it up. Um, and that still happens to this day, but now that they, when they screw it up, they have to deal with me, who’s the president of ECR Music Group. And,

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah. and so along the way, you’ve, you have become, an activist, you’ve been a critic of, of streaming platforms in particular, like Pandora and, and Spotify. So I wonder if we could pivot and, and start to talk about Spotify. Um, You know, they’re a company who says their mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans, the opportunity to enjoy it and be inspired by it.

So what, what, if anything, do you take issue within that statement?

BLAKE MORGAN 

I mean, it’s just a statement that, that appears to have words in English strung together. You know, thank God that that green logo and that company is here to unlock my creative potential. Because I didn’t know what to do before. I just didn’t know what to do Thank God for Daniel Eck. Thank God for Daniel Eck the CEO of uTorrent. which then became BitTorrent, He’s a pirate. I mean, you have a show called Calling Bullshit.

I mean this statement would be like Philip Morris saying, We’re here to teach people to breathe more deeply. I mean like, where do you even start with a sentence? Like if it’s so offensive?

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah, so hubris in that statement for sure. But the part that really gets my attention is the by giving a million creative artists opportunity to live off their art. How true or untrue is that?

BLAKE MORGAN It’s just, it’s nonsense. You know, the. The thing about Spotify is it’s really important that with their free tier means that when I release a record, my record is available for free on every phone in the world.

TY MONTAGUE 

Right,

BLAKE MORGAN 

Okay? Now, this is not the case with Apple. This is not the case with Tidal. This is not the case with Deezer. You know, I wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post that started with I love streaming and I do, you know, but there aren’t all, all, all streaming platforms are not equal.

Apple pays twice as much to artists as Spotify. They pay songwriters three times as much. They don’t attack artists. When artists criticize the platform, in fact, they reform their platform. I don’t work for Apple, and Apple is far from perfect, but the idea that all streaming services are the same is absurd.

TY MONTAGUE  

So let’s, let’s follow that thread for just a second, and then I wanna return to the money. You know, other more pro, let’s call them pro artist platforms, have been launched Tidal among them. It doesn’t feel like those platforms have gotten the traction that Spotify has though. You know, just in terms of, of sheer size and momentum. Why is that?

BLAKE MORGAN 

Well, that’s a narrative that Spotify has put out into the world. So let’s be clear about a couple things. Spotify has a free tier. Apple does not. So this is where we run into a problem. Spotify has essentially a quote-unquote legalized pirate platform, which is their free tier. Right? So that’s the, in comparing Spotify to Apple titled D and, and Amazon, It’s not the same business model whatsoever. And the bind that Spotify is in, of course, is that you know, Spotify actually thinks it’s saved music. And I’ve, I’ve dealt with many executives of Spotify. One of the big parts of my music advocacy is actually about big radio and the American Music Fairness Act. Um, and so I deal with big radio broadcasters all the time, and I liken the, the bullshit in the big radio broadcasters, um, they’re sort of like big oil or big tobacco in that they, they know that they’re doing wrong.

And they almost kind of admit it, but they’re basically able to get away with it. So they’re gonna get away with it for however long they’re get away with it, and then they’ll move on. Spotify is very different. When you talk to executives at Spotify, they are evangelistic about the platform.

They really believe that they are saving music. So the bullshit in the statement that you read at the top of this part of the conversation isn’t just offensive and ridiculous. They mean it. it’s a really amazing phenomenon. 

TY MONTAGUE 

I wonder if you could, just because most people, myself included, don’t really understand this. Can you explain the relationship between Spotify record labels and musicians? Like how do the royalties work in streaming?

BLAKE MORGAN 

So, Spotify, uh, pays, um, 70% of their revenue to rights holders. Okay? And this is a number that they tout. Uh, constantly because it sounds like an amazing number. Like, Well, wait a minute, what’s the problem, Blake? They’re, they’re paying 70% of revenue out to rights holders. Right? but again, even if we forget about the free tier for a moment, and we remember that a subscription of Spotify is $10 a month. So $10 a month is $120 a year. Right? And over the course of that year, as a Spotify subscriber, you can listen to tens of thousands of songs, thousands of records, right at the end of that year. All of those people who made all of those records are splitting 70% of $120, which is $84. So you just listened to 4,000 songs that year. All of the people, not just the artists, but all the people who made those records, All the people who worked on them, all of the revenue that went into making all of those records, all of those people are splitting $84.

And that’s fundamentally the problem with streaming, they’ve fundamentally undermined the ability of musicians to make a living at their, at their music. So that’s how the money works. Plain and simple, and we can get granular about different parts of it, but 70% of $120 is $84 after a year.

TY MONTAGUE 

Where does the other 30% go?

BLAKE MORGAN 

Here’s some important numbers when it comes to, you know, again, how this breaks down. Where does the money go? Where does Spotify’s 30% go? Right. So it takes an artist like me, uh, or any artist on Spotify.

It takes 400,000 streams a month for me to earn minimum wage on Spotify, 400,000 streams a month to earn minimum wage.So the money, where does that 30% go? It goes to paying coders, It goes towards paying for, Spotify’s 550 million dollar offices here in downtown Manhattan near Ground zero, and it goes towards paying Joe Rogan $200 million for his racist and misogynistic, and homophobic anti-science podcast. So that’s where your money is going. That’s where the 30% goes. Yeah.

TY MONTAGUE 

Um, okay, so of all the artists on Spotify, how many of them get even 400,000 streams? 

BLAKE MORGAN 

I mean, 400,000 streams is not a superstar number, but it’s a serious number. Because you’d have to do it every month, you know? So it’s 4 million streams after 10 months. That’s a lot of streams. I would imagine that the, the amount of artists getting 400,000 streams a month would be at least in the single-digit percentages, if not in the like 2%, 3%, 1% kind of thing. It’s very, very, it’s very few.

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah. Crazy. let’s, uh, pivot to, to just talking about some of the things that you’ve been up to, in terms of, of solutions. First of all, you, you. Uh,started a movement called hashtag I respect music. And, as a part of that, you know, you’ve said that you are against the way streaming companies treat musicians, but you’re not against streaming itself. And I wonder if you could break that down for us.

BLAKE MORGAN 

You know, I love streaming. I, I love its convenience. I love making playlists. I love, I love lots of things about it, but, you know, so how can I love streaming, but be against the way streaming is affecting musicians? Just because I’m just, because I’m saying that we should be paid fairly and unscrupulous. You know, corporations like Spotify should be reformed. That doesn’t mean that I think streaming.

TY MONTAGUE 

So who is getting it right? You’ve mentioned, uh, Apple is, it sounds like better. Um, are there other services that you, you feel like, uh, are, are doing a better job?

BLAKE MORGAN 

All of the major streaming services are doing a better job at Spotify Apple is better, far from perfect, but they’re better. Tidal far from. Perfect. Better. These are, uh, actually maybe one of the best, 

TY MONTAGUE 

Right. I was very excited back in the day when Tidal launched, you know, because it seemed like they had real, some, some very famous artists backing and, and the proposition appeared to be,to create a, a service that was pro artist and try to get, consumers of music to adopt that platform as a, as a kind of rebellion against the way that musicians are treated in the industry.

but it doesn’t appear that Tidal has, has taken off. What, what went wrong there?

BLAKE MORGAN  

I think that they really had their hearts in the right place, and I think they still do. Um, that’s the platform you want to be on, uh, as a subscriber if you really care about audio quality.That’s a really good example, but I think that they really bundled their press conference because the way that they came out is that they had all of these megastars at their press conference, at their launch and they were all talking about how they weren’t paid enough. And it’s true, they’re not paid.

But the problem with that tack is that then what listeners do is they see a press conference like, like that, and they’re like, Why do I care if Madonna isn’t getting enough money? She’s got millions of dollars. Why do I care if Beyonce is not? And what I wish that they had done in their press conferences, if they had had in a row on stage, if they’d had Madonna and to her left a music teacher, and to the music teachers left Jay-Z And the sound engineer,

And the sound engineer and the carpenter who builds the recording studio and the guy who’s driving the van and the woman who’s setting up merch, because all of those people are funded, uh, as part of, our music industry. So I think that’s the mistake that they made. Um, uh, it was a PR mistake, but I do think that their hearts are in the right place.

TY MONTAGUE you know, just following the threat of changes that that need to be made, are there legislative avenues to, to solve this problem? 

BLAKE MORGAN  

I think that legislation is one way to go. I think legislation is gonna be much more helpful when it comes to the battle that we have with radio, which, you know, some of your listeners may not even know that artists don’t get paid anything for radio airplay in the United States. The United States is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid

TY MONTAGUE 

That just blows me away. Has that always been true?

BLAKE MORGAN 

It’s always been true. The only countries in the world that share the distinction with the United States are North Korea, Iran, and China.

TY MONTAGUE 

Nice. Good company,

BLAKE MORGAN

You mentioned I respect music, which is something of an homage to Aretha Franklin because Aretha Franklin had never got paid one dime for, for Respect being on the radio in the United States. So this is…

TY MONTAGUE 

Which is insane. That’s insane.

BLAKE MORGAN 

It’s completely insane. And, um, that also impacts the streaming debate. And it impacts the struggle with Spotify because what Spotify says to musicians is, Hey, listen, we don’t pay you a lot, but you know what? It’s better than nothing and you get nothing on radio. So if we can close the loophole that big, big radio has enjoyed for a hundred years, that’s gonna actually really affect, um, how we’re able to put pressure on streaming services, which we want to do. 

TY MONTAGUE 

You know, it’s interesting, other parts of the media business went through this after the music business and seemed to have recovered. Like there was a period of time when there was a big, there was a collapse of, of many journalistic entities because people were getting their news for free and didn’t want to pay. And it turns out that for the right outlet, people will pay for it. have we trained people at this point that music should be free And is is the problem untraining them?

BLAKE MORGAN 

Yeah, that’s a big part of it. You know, a, a major problem that Spotify has that I’ve talked about often is Spotify doesn’t make anything. Do you see the motion picture industry or the television industry or actor’s equity up in arms about Netflix or HBO or Apple? No. You know why? Because Netflix makes things. they make stranger things, which employs gaffers and carpenters and screenwriters and actors,

TY MONTAGUE 

Right.

BLAKE MORGAN 

They make things. Spotify doesn’t make anything. So again, they’re a distribution platform and they take 30% of revenue. Why? Why are they taking 30% to upload my, my music to the magical interweb? And there’s another thing that Spotify could do that would really change things. And in fact, this is something Apple could do. All of the major streaming services have a payment model outside of Deezer. Deezer is the one that’s changed.

and your listeners may not know this either, but you may think that I get paid a certain fraction of a penny per stream when I’m streamed on Spotify or Apple, but I’m actually not. There’s no streaming rate. Nor is like if you have a $10 subscription to a streaming service, Spotify, Apple, something like that. You’d think that the people you listen to, Are splitting the 70% $7 of your $10, Like in other words, that your $7 is going to the people that you listen to, but that’s not the way it works at all. The major streaming companies outside of Deezer and SoundCloud has changed as well. They use a pro Rada system where all of the streams are put into a pool divided by the amount of streams and then some, and then you get paid by the amount of market share you have in that pool.

TY MONTAGUE 

I see.

BLAKE MORGAN 

Because Beyonce has a larger market share than I do, it means that she’s actually getting paid more money for my streams than I am. It’s not a listener-centric model. And obviously the way it should work is.

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah the artist, the artist who gets listened to, should get, should get paid, should get that, that 70%.

BLAKE MORGAN 

And what that would do. Just the obvious thing of like, Well, wait a minute, you don’t even get paid for the streams that you’re actually receiving. What that would do is that would shore up local artists, niche artists, niche genres as opposed to the constant gravity pull of mainstream, gigantic pop music and it wouldn’t cost them anything. It’s the same $7. It’s just going to the right people.

TY MONTAGUE 

So what, what’s it gonna take? I, I saw that, uh, a bill has been introduced, uh, the American Music Fairness Act. What’s the status of that? Would that begin to level the playing field for artists?

BLAKE MORGAN 

American Music Fairness Act would actually finally close the loophole and, And American Broadcast Radio would have to pay artists for radio play. Yes. Just, just like the rest of the world,

TY MONTAGUE

Is that gonna pass? 

BLAKE MORGAN

Yeah, we’re really hopeful and it just got voted. It was just introduced into the United States Senate, so it has a lot of momentum. Um, and we find like this is the farthest that this bill has ever gotten. There’s been versions of this bill earlier, but there’s a different kind of groundswell now.I think that listeners, music lovers, and music makers have really come together, uh, with this bill and said, Well, wait a minute. There’s a lot of things that we can’t fix and this is not one of those, This is easy to fix. Come on.

TY MONTAGUE 

How does Spotify think about this? Um, you were, you were part of a meeting with Spotify execs, uh, with some artists, uh, a few years back. And, um, it, it ended in a debate, but can you talk about your experience in that meeting?

BLAKE MORGAN 

Sure. So I was invited to this, uh, so-called artist-only meeting with Spotify, about 40, 50 artists. And, uh, it turned out that it was kind of a Trojan horse. they had. Several artists that nobody had heard of on a panel, all just touting how wonderful Spotify is. And then people in the audience started raising their hand and saying, Excuse me, what the hell is going on here? What, what? We were supposed to have a dialogue here. You’re preaching to us about what your whole platform is about. So it became very contentious and as you would imagine, I was a vocal participant in the meeting.

And, uh, and afterwards, um, a bunch of execs, from the company sort of, you know, surrounded me and we were talking. they’re like, Blake, I just don’t understand why you say these things. Like our product is so fantastic, It’s the best product there is.

And another guy would say, Blake, I think if you understood more about our product, like you realize that it’s just the greatest thing that’s ever happened. Like they get really emotional. And I said, Fellas, you know, you keep using this word product and I’m just curious, what do you think your product is?

And the executives said, What do you mean our product is Spotify? And I said, No, fellas, your product is not Spotify. Your product is music. You’re confusing the word product with the word brand. And the guy I was talking to went, You know, man, you’re crazy, man. That’s crazy. It is. Our product is, and I had to say like, you know, while we’re at it, by the way, stop calling people, users.

They’re not users, they’re listeners. You’re the user. You’re using our music to monetize our lit listeners for your profit. That’s what you’re doing. And he really looked at me like I shot Santa Claus in the face right in front of him. You know,

BLAKE MORGAN 

But that’s, I think it’s an important story and it’s, it’s funny, but you know, that’s not what happens when you talk to broadcast. It’s very specific with Spotify and it’s a really like religious atmosphere over there where you feel like you’re talking to creepy, weird cult people and I’m not having to go just to like be mean. It really just is like that, you know? And that story kind of illustrates it.

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah. Um, so I want to wrap up with, with two questions. First of all, um, if you were Daniel Eck, what are the things that you would do to change Spotify?

BLAKE MORGAN 

I’ll give you three, all of which he could do by the end of the day today.

TY MONTAGUE 

Right.

BLAKE MORGAN 

The first is he could do away with his free tier. Music should not be free. Okay. It’s morally wrong. It’s, it’s, uh, it’s a bad business practice. So he should do away with the free tree or

TY MONTAGUE 

I agree.

BLAKE MORGAN 

Free tier, number one. Number two, As I outlined before, the people who get streamed are the people who should be paid. I should be paid for the streams I garner. Other people shouldn’t be paid for them. it would save, um, niche artists. It would. Uh, fringe artists, it would, it would be a huge boon to jazz music, classical music, big band music, bluegrass music, and on and on and on. So that’s the other thing, switching to the listener-centric model. He could do that by sundown, doesn’t cost Spotify anything. It’s the same $7, just going to the right people.

And the third thing he could do, he could do away with the counter. The number next to all of the songs on Spotify that tell you how many times it’s been streamed, what is, what’s the virtue of this number?

TY MONTAGUE 

Get that.

Tom Wait’s music is not less valuable because it’s been listened to less than Nickelback.

TY MONTAGUE 

Right. Oh

BLAKE MORGAN 

A third.

That’s a third. That’s a third thing he could do, and there are many others, but those three things he could do by midnight tonight.

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah, I love that. I love all three of those. Okay, last question on this show, Blake. We have a tool called the BS Scale. It goes from zero to 100, zero being the best, zero BS 100 being the worst total bs. So on that scale, what score would you give Spotify?

BLAKE MORGAN 

95.

TY MONTAGUE 

Okay. That was definitive. Blake, this has been a fantastic and illuminating conversation. I want to thank you for coming on the show today.

BLAKE MORGAN 

Well, thanks so much for having me.

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

 

Folks, at this point my BS detector is playing Highway to the Danger Zone.

 

The bottom line here is that Spotify spends lots of money on their brand, but they don’t fairly compensate the people who actually create their product 

 

After speaking with Blake, it’s clear that BS in the music industry extends way beyond Spotify. Blake was so demoralized by record labels that he was compelled to start his own. 

 

And I can’t believe every single radio station in the US plays music without paying for it. 

 

The good news is, there are opportunities here for Spotify to change their tune and better support the artists who support them. So we’ve assembled a panel of industry experts to help them make the shift. 

 

After this.

TY MONTAGUE 

Folks. I am very excited to introduce two industry experts who are gonna help us help Spotify better live their stated purpose. Our first guest is two-time Grammy-winning artist and executive producer Kaydence. Kaydence. Thanks for being here and uh, welcome to Calling Bullshit.

KAYDENCE 

I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

TY MONTAGUE 

So Kaydence, I’d love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself

KAYDENCE 

Sure. I started off as an artist and then I fell in love with songwriting. Uh, once I decided to move out to la, um, was when really things changed for me. I would say like it was a very creative, uh, but I wasn’t thinking so much business.

Uh, so when I came out to la, I really got, uh, slapped in the face with the reality of business. you know, I’ve had some, some really big records. Thank you. Next Seven Rings, Black Parade, um, to name a few, and you would think that I would be well off . Um,

TY MONTAGUE 

So, you know, uh, 

KAYDENCE 

While they had a, a budget for this in the past, um, before streaming really hit. There’s, there’s not that now, Now it’s almost like they expect these songwriters to just do it for free. so I hopped into executive producing 

TY MONTAGUE 

I saw that you were on the board of an organization called the hundred Percenters. Can you talk more about what the 100 Percenters is all about?

KAYDENCE 

Sure. Yeah. We’re all about advocating for creative rights, just sustainable income, We’re just advocating for change all over the board. Even to this day, like people, just, people, active listeners, consumers don’t, just don’t understand how music or streaming works.

But I think if people were more aware of the effects and, you know, the, the issues that there would be a, a shift, uh, because it’s, it is more than just the artists.

Like, yes, of course the artist is a very major part of this, but the, the collaborators, the creatives behind the music, Um, are the ones that are, are hurting even more.

TY MONTAGUE 

Hmm. Thank you. And, uh, we’ll return to that theme a little bit later in the show as well, Kaydence, cuz we want to dig into all of that. Um, but, but I, I want to introduce our, our next guest. Next up we have David Turner, who is the writer of a widely read newsletter on music streaming called Penny Fractions.

TY MONTAGUE 

David, welcome to the show.

DAVID TURNER 

Hey everybody. Thank you for having me on.

TY MONTAGUE 

So David, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

DAVID TURNER 

So my day job is, I’m a strategy manager at SoundCloud where I’ve been the last four years. Prior to that I was a music journalist where I sort of covered different parts of the music industry, did a lot of reviews, interviews, features, covered a lot of like viral trends. I’ve been a fan of music for most of my life. I never really played, I like played guitar. I like thought about maybe could I dj, but never really took it that seriously.

DAVID TURNER 

Don’t have the talent, but I feel like I’m pretty good at writing. One thing I sort of kept up, which I do via it, my newsletter, Penny Fractions, which I’ve been doing for almost five years, which yes, like you said, covers streaming but also many parts of the music bi. Sometimes we get a little bit of history of, of different music companies.

So yeah, it’s something that I’ve been really passionate about the last few years and like been really excited to like see where it’s gotten to take me

TY MONTAGUE 

Great. Well, let’s get right into it. Kaydence, I’m gonna ask you to lead us off in two minutes or less. What would you tell CEO Daniel Eck to change at Spotify to better live their purpose, which just to remind folks, is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the ability to live off their art and billions of fans, the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.

KAYDENCE 

I would say for one, I think right now, uh, the Spotify premium is, 9.99. Um, I think that can, for one be increased. as well as just having transparency about where this money is going. I feel like they kind of just say, you know, wipe their hands and say, Hey, um, you know, it’s the label’s fault. And I just think that in order for everyone to feel. F feel like this is fair and, understand how this is being distributed, that we just need transparency, We need , we need receipts.

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah. So, Can you, can you talk a little bit more about the transparency part of your idea? cuz that feels important to me. If your purpose is to help artists live off, their art.Right. fans need to know how the system actually works. And I don’t think a lot of fans really do.

KAYDENCE 

Right. For right now, we know, uh, that we get, you know, uh, pennies worth of a dollar for, uh, for streaming. but we don’t necessarily, as far as transparency, we don’t know what the agreements are between the labels and Spotify

TY MONTAGUE 

Spotify,

KAYDENCE 

And Spotify or any streaming platform for, for that matter.

KAYDENCE 

Um, and because of that, we don’t know what we’re actually getting paid. it just feels messy. It feels, uh, secretive and, so I think if, if we have a better understanding of how that’s, that’s happening, I mean, I’m looking at, like, I remember over the Pan Pandemic, I’m trying to think it was billions of dollars that went to the labels that they proudly, spoke about, uh, openly.

And I’m just sitting here looking at my statements and I’m like, Well, that, it just doesn’t add up. Um, you know, like I, how, how is it that I have these songs and, and my BMI statements even over the pandemic?like, I, I could not even make rent for the next two months. Like, that’s, that doesn’t make sense.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. That’s crazy David, do you have any thoughts on, on, uh, what Kaydence has been talking about?

DAVID TURNER 

Totally. So I wanna say, I think the first idea about increasing the amount of money that subscription costs makes a lot of sense. That’s an idea that I think many folks across the music industry would support, and it’s something that I know many folks have been wanting to sort of get behind.

DAVID TURNER 

I think the biggest issue is, I think many people aren’t sure if customers are willing to take that sort of increased increase subscriptions, especially when there are a number of streaming services out here, but certainly, I understand that the need and sort of the import of increasing how much the subscription goes, means more money can go to songwriters and recording artists.Totally makes a lot of sense to me. 

DAVID TURNER 

And then around the issue transparency, just to be real quick, is, uh, I think that one is also another one where like, yeah, a little bit more transparency and clarity around how money moves and money payments go I think would be helpful. I do think that is something broadly speaking, is that like every part of the industry sort of needs like step up to sort of help with that?

DAVID TURNER 

Not always all in the dsp. It’s not always, I mean, I guess a lot quite a bit on the labels and the contracts you actually end up signing. So that actually is where a lot of that ends resting. But it is something where like there needs to be some kind of, sort of agreed upon way to try to clear up some of this confusion 

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah, I was reading an article just on the price raise point. Like Rhapsody charged 10 bucks a month in 2002, and Spotify charges 10 bucks a month in 2022. And if you just adjust for inflation, Spotify should be charging this article said 1550. And that’s just, just to break, you know, to stay even.

And in that time, Netflix has gone from eight bucks to 1550 a month. And, you know, another thing that they do that I wasn’t aware of is they do a lot of discounting. So they have a student plan that’s like five bucks a month and they have a family plan, and all of that cuts into the amount of money that they come, they, they bring in, and, and therefore can distribute to artists.

TY MONTAGUE 

And so cleaning that up would be another aspect of, of raising their price right to, uh, help get more money to the artists. Okay, David? Your turn in two minutes or less, what advice would you give Daniel

DAVID TURNER 

The advice that I would give Daniel Act, I think would be maybe a little bit less of advice, but more of a question that I think could be sort of turned into sort of broader advice, My question would be that if you’re going to have a million artists sort of make a living on your platform.

How many people are gonna be working at Spotify? How many more tens of thousands of people do you need to like handle all of that? Are you gonna be helping out with healthcare? It’s all like, there’s a lot of like questions to me that when I sort of see here that mission statement, I think it has, it’s very grandiose and it aspires to a lot.

And on one part of it, the sense of having a million, a billion fans. Spotify has like hundreds of millions of listeners. So like they are like, well on their way to that. But as far as like a million artists that are making a living, they’re certainly not on the, on, on the way to that, in the, in the same sort of trajectory.

KAYDENCE 

Just to what David said, that is a very strong question, especially for artists that aren’t signed to major labels because major labels are, you know, te technically the biggest shareholders of Spotify, so they control most of it. They control those playlists. They control, you know, their artists getting more plays than these indie artists. You know, uh, I don’t see these indie artists invited to these Spotify brunches. I see major label, uh, uh, major artists. Um, so how are you really leveling the playing field so that you give these indie artists an equal chance?

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah, and I’ve heard that the way that that Spotify pays artists, and, and this is, I’m still trying to get my head around this, like, I, as I understand it, you’re not actually paid per stream even on Spotify. As an artist, the money goes to the rights owners and then that money then goes to the artist and it’s a portioned based on essentially averages. you know, the percentage of streams on the platform that belong to Beyonce, then Beyonce gets, uh, that percentage of money. But it means that Beyonce in, in, in one way, as I understand it, Beyonce is getting a percentage on lots of indie artists streams as well because of the way that they do the accounting. and so I’ve seen people advocate for a more direct model there that, that like, you actually pay your money as a listener because they know who you are and they know what you’re paying them, That your money goes directly to the artist that, that you are listening to. what do you think about

DAVID TURNER 

Yeah. So I’ll say on the, on the record, I’ll speak on the recording side. What you said is correct, where it’s like all the money is sort of accrued into sort of a big pot they said in the industry it’s called sort of the Prorato model. So yeah, so for, for example, if Beyonce dropped to her latest album and she had 7% of total streams that week, she would, she, and the rest of the folks on the album would be 7% of over of the overall pot of revenue generated in that period of time. So, yeah, so it does sort of work out where if you were, uh, paying a Spotify subscription or an Apple Music or an Amazon subscription and you did not listen to Beyonce, Your some seven, some part of your money would still be going towards Beyonce and the work and the work that she did on that, on that release.And Yes. The other thing that you’re sort of hinting at with this thing called the user-centric model, which I guess it’s been sort of mentioned by a number of companies like these, which is a French music streaming service and also title I think of maybe a year or so ago.

DAVID TURNER

And also at SoundCloud, actually in summer 2022, SoundCloud announced a partnership with Warner Music Group where we actually were now paying out artists on one or one of the big three major labels on the user-centric model along with artists that directly distribute through, through the platform.

DAVID TURNER 

So, but again, that is all just on the recording side, on the publishing, on the songwriter side, slightly different like way that it’s handled.

KAYDENCE 

Very, yeah, very different. Uh, our money goes through the publishers, so, we get what we get. and yeah, we have no control over it. And it’s, um, yeah, we feel like the powerless,

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah. And so somebody needs to take the artist side. So why don’t we use that as a, a moment to pivot to my, my idea and again, be, be savage. I’m a total rookie here, so, like what I take away is that Spotify actually is in like a vice, or, you know, another metaphor would be between a rock and a hard place because all of their competitors also charge 10 bucks a month and so Spotify as a service is basically an undifferentiated commodity, and commodities have trouble raising their prices. To make matters worse, you know, two of their competitors are Apple and Amazon. And Apple and Amazon can afford to lose money forever in music just because. Uh, music isn’t their main job. It’s a side hustle to them. And so to get out of this vice, Spotify has to innovate. And you’ve seen them trying, like they tried video and that didn’t work.

They’ve tried actually going around the rights holders by, by, you know, cutting direct distribution deals with some artists and that didn’t work cuz the labels pushed back. Now they’re trying podcasting. And that led to the Joe Rogan debacle. And so as I thought about, like what they do have, they have two things.

They have a great artist centric purpose, this idea that they want to take a million artists and make it so they can live off their art, which I love. And they have scale, they’re big, um, I think 406 million monthly actives currently. So, My idea is for Spotify to become a laboratory for artist centric innovation to continue to innovate themselves, but also, and maybe this will be controversial, I don’t know, but also to look across the industry for other really good ideas that that other platforms are trying, but maybe don’t have Spotify scale, like Tidal and adopt it to scale it.

So to use their scale for good is, is the essence of my idea. And I’ll, I’ll continue to use Tidal cuz I was reading an article in a, in a thing called Louder Sound. And I’ll just read from this article, ti this article said Tidal recently unveiled their direct artist payout plan, which sees 10% of your subscription going directly to the artists that you listen to most. This initiative is based on actual streaming activity of the fans versus the industry accepted method of aggregating streams and allocating it to the most popular artists according to Tidal uh, so this is a move, this is now the, the writer of this article saying this is a move away from some other payment plans and could cause a shift in the streaming industry.

TY MONTAGUE 

And so what I’m advocating for is let’s use it to cause a shift in the, in the industry, Let’s Spotify adopt this as well, and a as well as any other great artist centric ideas across the industry, and really deploy them at scale to help fans support artists directly and take on the mantle of artist centricity, which is, you know, sits at the center of their purpose. Um, what we think about that? Any pipe dream possibility.

DAVID TURNER 

I feel like that’s like, in many ways I think what you’re sort of describing is kind of, to me, like when Instagram sort of took on Snapchat and I took on the story feature of Snapchat and people are like, Oh, wait, Snapchat. I love Snapchat, but now all of a sudden it’s on Instagram.

TY MONTAGUE 

It is what I’m describing. But, but I’m trying to say for good because that that practice I think of as evil, like the whole Facebook empire. He, Zuckerberg does this to put other companies out of business. And what I’m saying is since Spotify has scale, maybe they could use it for good. Maybe,

DAVID TURNER 

No, I, Yeah, no, I guess, I guess the reason why that immediately jumped to me was because , I think of the perception of the users, that perception of users would probably immediately go towards that. Where you’re like, Oh, well we we’re doing this thing. I think because, Because if you say that you’re doing this because you wanna help, but if it’s just copying someone else, you’re like, Oh, well, like why are you helping by copying?

TY MONTAGUE 

You didn’t have any of your own ideas.

DAVID TURNER 

Yeah. So I think that may be, I think that may be sort of a, especially as like a user of different platforms, when all of a sudden every platform to your point, has the same price point, all of a sudden has the same feature set, you get a little less excited to hop between them because you’re like, Oh, what is, There’s nothing differentiate these, So you kind of need for the bigger companies to kind of have more actual innovation in an actual, in differentiation.

But to the specifics, I will actually say I do like. That Tidal was saying this to someone yesterday. That Tidal actually has a number of really great features

DAVID TURNER 

Like they actually highlight songwriters, they actually highlight producers of track, so you can actually search for a producer, search for a songwriter. There are a lot of things that Tidal does that other platforms don’t do, So I do think there is quite a bit actually there that, that others could sort of take from and sort of, and sort of I, and sort of maybe poke, poke, poke away. But I, Yeah. Sorry, I just wanted to riff a little cuz. Yeah. I did immediately

TY MONTAGUE 

No, no. That, that, that’s a, it’s a, it’s, it’s a great, I, I, I agree. Kaydence. What

KAYDENCE 

No, I think, I think that would be great. Um, I, I do think that it would be scary, uh, too scary for the labels. so while I love, love that idea um, I think it’s farfetched right now, because it’s just, , they’re making so much.

TY MONTAGUE 

The way?

KAYDENCE 

Yeah, absolutely. Oh yeah. I mean, they pretty much make the call on if anything changes. I think they think that they’re doing enough, at least for the songwriters. Um, they think that, I mean, I know you’ve seen they had secret genius before. Um, they have notable now, um, where they post your picture as a songwriter or producer on a billboard and say, Wow, look at this person

TY MONTAGUE 

Hmm.

KAYDENCE 

But, and while that’s great because it gets you exposure it still isn’t enough. Um, and I mean, to think of how much money they’re spending to do. Where that can really go towards other things, uh, or helping, helping us in a different way, um, like pay our rent

TY MONTAGUE

That’s the other thing about this that I find hard to get my head around, and I assume most casual music fans find that it hard to get their head around. It’s just how complex the environment is. It’s really hard to figure out how people get paid and why they get paid. And even people in it are confused by it. And people on the outside just, I think, glaze over a little bit. Um, which is a shame because I think honestly, if fans really knew what was going on, they would do, you know, if they knew that they could directly support the artists that they love, I think they would do it.

TY MONTAGUE 

You know, I, I, I really do. Um, okay, so we, we had a, a guest on, in, in, in this podcast, we do a, a, a single guest up front for kind of a, a facts of the case. And then we do this round table. And our first, the guest for the facts of the case was an artist named Blake Morgan.

but Blake had an idea that I wanted to run by both of you, which is essentially get rid of the free layer at Spotify. Um, because his perspective was, you can’t say that you’re trying to help artists make a living and give their music away for free. Those two things just don’t go together.

KAYDENCE 

Yep.

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah, you agree with that? What do you think,

KAYDENCE 

A hundred percent.

DAVID TURNER 

I, yeah, I, I definitely understand the sort of economic need for getting rid of the free layer of Spotify Um, I guess as a, as a consumer, I guess I started to feel a little like, Oh man, I kind of like being able to like just go find a song, that I wanna listen to for free. But that’s also something that like, hey, I remember before YouTube, so I do remember it was like before that was always the case and like it was fine And like, I don’t know. There is something to be said about like, music not being always at one’s fingertip where it songs can sometimes have a sort of different life and a different residency in your life rather than it’s like, Oh, I always have immediate access to this thing.

KAYDENCE 

Yeah. I feel like that, um, that era, the lime wire era, where it was like we were just able to download anything at any time, um, we kind of got caught into that mindset of like, well, I could just listen to it somewhere else for free and. , we’re just not taking into consideration like the, the people that it affects, uh, the lives that it affects.

TY MONTAGUE 

You know, it’s, it’s a hard thing once, once a habit has taken hold with people and the, and like a habit, like, Oh yeah, music is free. It’s really, really hard to break that habit again, that’s happening sort of throughout the world. Not to get too philosophical, but we, we live in, in the modern world, in, in, in a, in a way in which, you know, we. In things are convenient and we do them cuz they’re convenient and they’re easy. And we’re starting to learn that things that are convenient and easy aren’t necessarily good for the world.

It’s like, Oh, I threw away my water bottle cuz it was easy, but it wound up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And so paying artists for music should fall into the same category. It’s like, Free music has an impact on people’s lives. You know, maybe, maybe one thing that Spotify could do is just do a better job of educating people about that and really take an artist-centric point of view on making sure that people understand that there are implications for artists, you know, and what those implications are.

One of the other questions I had for both of you, I was looking on, there’s a, a service called Music Gateway, and it allows you to compare what you would make for a set, number of streams as an artist on Spotify, on a title on Pandora, on Amazon and Apple.

so I did this math right? The, the bottom edge of what we consider to be the middle class in America is $30,000 a year. I would say that’s a little, that’s a little stingy. but let’s say $30,000 a. To make $30,000 a year on Spotify, you would have to get about seven and a half million streams. Right now,

TY MONTAGUE 

52,600 artists are making $10,000 or more on the platform, so it’s not even 30,000. So they’ve got a long way to go to help, you know, a million artists make a living off the platform. But the other interesting thing was for the same number of streams on Apple, I would make $37,500 on Amazon. The same. On Tidal I would make 90,000 bucks off of 7,500,000 streams. So Tidal stands out. So I guess the question there is why didn’t Tidal do better?

DAVID TURNER 

Uh, One, there was already a decent amount of computation when title sort of entered the space. I think it entered around 2015. Um, so Spotify already existed. Youtube, Youtube had been around since the mid two thousands. Spotify had sort of come into the United States in the, in the early 2010s and it be kind into the mobile platform in the mid-2010s. Um, Apple Music was also launching around then you still had people that were using Pandora and higher amounts And when Tidal’s only real, again, differentiation factor or more like sort of. Aesthetic things of like, again, like pointing out producers and songwriters and stuff like that, that just wasn’t enough to differentiate it when it’s overall content with the same content.

It’s basically every other platform and title did try to have the exclusive album for like a very brief period of time in early 2016 and I think maybe into even 2017. But they kind of moved away from that when artists realized that putting your music only on one platform really limits the audience potentially, 

TY MONTAGUE Right, makes sense. 

One of the other observations I have is like… I have no context for what a artist should be paid per play. It’s like minimum wage, uh, raising the minimum wage. Everybody knows roughly what that means. And so like, Do either of you have an opinion about, like what is the right number per stream that artists should be paid?

KAYDENCE 

Hmm. So I would love to know, um, what the labels are getting per, per stream, Um, and that’s what makes it hard. if, if I could see those, those receipts, then I would, uh, have a better understanding.

TY MONTAGUE 

And back to this, this, this transparency issue, right? it’s all a big secret, like what’s going on? Um, maybe that would be a thing that Spotify could ad advocate for that everybody know what everybody’s making. Like that would be a huge step

DAVID TURNER 

Yeah. Which the only issue, cause I remember talking to someone about this very recently is that like it wouldn’t behoove the labels to have that knowledge out there Cuz then your competition could easily sort of undercut you or sort of undermine sort of the stuff that you’re trying to do.

TY MONTAGUE 

Yeah. No, it’s hard, right? They would definitely resist that

KAYDENCE 

But if, but if It was just like, I, like I’ve been saying, an even playing field where the artists get what they get and it’s not a, it doesn’t have to be a private negotiation.

TY MONTAGUE 

Well, maybe it could be, Yeah, it could be aggregated and an anonymized, right? So you don’t know exactly what the deal between Sony and and X is, but you know that ultimately Sony’s getting about. This amount.

TY MONTAGUE 

Okay. my last question for, for both of you. Spotify says its purpose is to give a million artists the opportunity to live off their art. And as I said before, the fact is only 52,600 artists generated 10,000 or more last year on Spotify. So they’ve got a ways to go before they get to a million artists. 

We have a tool on this show called the BS Index, which measures the gap between Word indeed, and it goes from zero to 100, zero being the best, zero BS 100 being the worst total bs.

What score would each of you give to Spotify? David, I’m gonna ask you to go

DAVID TURNER 

Think my answer to the original question would probably give a slight hint to what I’m about to say, but it would have to be 100. Because having a million, a million people, also 10,000 is not also like, that’s not like, I mean that’s not,

TY MONTAGUE 

No, that’s not making a living. That’s not making a living. No, no, no. That’s not a

DAVID TURNER 

And also wanna like stipulate. Cause I think, cuz Karen said this earlier, it like even 30 or 40,000, if you’re living in a major metropolitan area in like

TY MONTAGUE 

It’s not a living. Yeah. No, no. It’s like, No way. Yeah, it is

DAVID TURNER 

Yeah, so that 52,000 is, is, is more than likely a lot, lot lower. So I would go like a hundred.

DAVID TURNER 

It’s a hundred on.

TY MONTAGUE 

Okay. All right. Kaydence.

KAYDENCE 

I’m, I’m a hundred percent with you. It’s, it’s on a hundred. I think they have plenty of ways, to, uh, change this model, and I think they know their power and they’re using the, Well, what if, what if we lose listeners? What if we do this? I mean, everyone I know uses Spotify. So, um, I think they, they know their power. I don’t think the consumers are going anywhere. I think using the fact that they, they can put more awareness out there, and essentially become an ally.

And if they can really be a, a voice for us, I think that would also translate into even more consumers and more listeners and more supporters.

TY MONTAGUE  

This has been a fantastic conversation, uh, David Kaydence. I want to thank you both for being here today. It was wonderful to have you on the show.

KAYDENCE 

Thank you.

DAVID TURNER 

Thank you. Thanks so much for inviting me.

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

 

Alright everyone – it’s time to rate Spotify on the BS scale. 

 

Spotify is certainly not giving a million artists the opportunity to live off their work. All three of our guests gave really high scores because of this, a 95 and two 100s. 

 

And their perspective totally makes sense. While Spotify has done some good work around transparency, they have done little to provide artists with a living wage. And there is so much more they might do to support artists in a meaningful way. For instance, getting rid of their free tier. Or redistributing payment based on individuals’ actual listening habits. It also has to be said that they HAVE created the world’s best place to get noticed if you’re a musician.  That’s not nothing.  Far from it. So today I’m giving Spotify a 72. 

 

And Spotify CEO, Daniel Ek, if you’d like to come on the show to talk about anything we’ve touched on today. Please know that you have an open invitation. 

 

If you’re thinking about starting a purpose-led business or a beginning the journey of transformation to become one, here are three things you should take away from this episode:

 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

 

  1. Make sure your purpose and your business model are aligned. Free is never free. I feel like I’ve said this before. It’s still true. When you sign up for Spotify’s free level, somebody pays, even if its not you. In Spotify’s case, it’s the artists who you love and who Spotify claims to want to help make a living, who pay the price.  If you’re going to make your product free, make sure you’re transparent about your business model and that it aligns with your purpose..   
  2. Your purpose MUST drive action. If you can’t make meaningful strides toward delivering on it, then its not your real purpose. If Spotify’s hands are actually tied by the record labels, as it seems that they may be, they need to figure out how to advocate on behalf of the musicians they claim to care about to change that situation OR  change their purpose to accurately reflect what they really stand for. 
  3. Become a force for transparency in your chosen industry. Transparency about your own business is table stakes if you’re purpose-led. Purpose-led businesses are actually trying to make the world a better place. Better things happen in light than in shadow. In Spotify’s case it’s actually super hard to know how to help them help artists because its very hard to understand where the money is going in the music industry. They should try to fix that. 

 

And if this episode made you want to sing our praises, subscribe to the Calling Bullshit podcast on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to people speak into your ears. And friends, I’d like to ask for your help. If you enjoy the calling Bullshit podcast please take a second to rate us on Apple podcasts or on your preferred platform. It helps more people find the show.  

 

Thank you to our guests Blake Morgan, Kaydence, and David Turner. Learn more about the I Respect Music Campaign, the 100 Percenters, and David’s newsletter Penny Fractions in our show notes or our website: callingbullshitpodcast.com. 

 

Thanks to our production team. Hannah Beal, Amanda Ginsburg, DS Moss, Haley Paskalides, Parker Silzer, and Basil Soper. We recently learned that we are now the 11th most popular business podcast in the world.  Kick ass job, team. 

Calling Bullshit was created by Co Collective and it’s hosted by me, Ty Montague. Thanks for listening.

 

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