A faction of US musicians has launched a vigorous campaign called "Justice at Spotify," calling for the streaming giant to remit penny-per-stream payouts to artists, among other demands. The United Musicians and Allied Workers Union (UMAW) is crusading for major changes to Spotify's business model, which they contend is responsible for artists being "underpaid, misled, and otherwise exploited" by the company, according to the organization's website.

"As Spotify’s valuation soars, we have seen no increase in our streaming payments," the site reads. "The company’s closed-door contracts and payola schemes ensure that only musicians already on top with extensive resources can succeed on the platform. As COVID 19 economically devastates music workers everywhere, it’s even clearer that Spotify’s existing model is counter to the needs of the vast majority of artists."

While artists continue to experience the pitfalls contrived by the COVID-19 pandemic, many have found themselves dependent on the income generated from streaming in the absence of live music. However, despite Spotify's core goal to give "a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art," myriad musicians and music producers are in dire straits.

On their website, UMAW organizers note that in order to generate $1 on Spotify, a song must be streamed 263 times. "To put that in perspective, it would take 786 streams to generate enough revenue to buy an average cup of coffee," they wrote. "To pay the median American monthly rent ($1,078) an artist needs to generate 283,684 recurring streams monthly. And to earn $15/hr each month working full time, it would take 657,895 streams per band member."

Considering Spotify's obstinate nature and extremely convoluted business model, it seems the group is facing a long road. While attainable in theory, the complexities of their demands are difficult to ignore. Complete Music Update shrewdly notes that streaming services generally pay over 65-70% of their revenues to the music industry, so even if they were to entirely relinquish their 30-35% cut, the penny-per-cent payout rate would be highly unlikely for the company to remain solvent. CMU goes on to argue that the crux of the issue is actually low subscription rates, which, if raised, wouldn't increase Spotify's revenue enough to meet UMAW's demands.

You can read the UMAW's full list of demands here.

Related

Spotify CEO - Daniel Ek (Feature on EDM.com)

Spotify CEO: Streaming Less Dominated by Major Hit Records

Spotify makes crucial progress towards their goal of enabling one million artists to live off their music.

Spotify

UK Government Launches Investigation of Streaming Platforms' Economic Impact on the Music Industry

Officials are asking all those involved in the industry to share their experiences and assist the investigation.

spotify-icon-ios

Spotify Is Changing The Way Their Algorithm Promotes Music: 3 Takeaways You Need to Know

Spotify's controversial new experiment perked the ears of all their stakeholders.

spotify-icon-ios

Spotify Launches "track IDs" Playlists for Electronic Dance Music Discovery

Clubs are currently closed, but the dance floor remains open thanks to Spotify's new suite of playlists.

riot games

Spotify Signs Deal to Be Exclusive Audio Streaming Partner for Global "League of Legends" Esports Events

Spotify and Riot Games are a formidable tandem in the EDM and gaming crossover space.

Spotify

Spotify Premium Prices Differ Around the World—Here are the Countries Paying the Most and Least

Spotify is the most prevalent streaming service in the world, but not everyone gets the same deal.

spotify-icon-ios

Spotify Playlist Editors Set the Record Straight on Pay-for-Play Promotion

Spotify playlist editors are showing artists what's under the hood of their elaborate playlist operation.

spotify-icon-ios

Spotify to Offer Algorithm Visibility Boost in Exchange for Royalty Cut

The new"experiment" has drawn criticism from artists and fans alike.