Chartmetric researched data about Spotify genres trying to learn more about the relative power of major and indie catalogs on the streaming platform, as well as about recommendations across the most prominent music niches and communities. What they have found out is that majors hold a vast share of the music market thanks to the evergreen catalogs and the "passive" market share that comes with it. "However, if we move away from these 'golden' genres, independent players will often carry more power than the majors. And when it comes to emerging genre spaces, such as underground hip hop and viral rap, things can get uniquely independent—one might even say self-released".

An amazing story by Ted Gioia, who has discovered, with a little help from other music lovers, a song that has over 50 different titles, and over 50 different writers credits attributed to it on Spotify. There were other instances of the same phenomena on other streaming platforms, with other songs as well (mostly short and lousy). What's going on? "Spotify may be working to switch listeners from songs released by major labels to generative music, which could be licensed at low royalty rates or even purchased as a work-for-hire. Under this scenario, a streaming platform could lower its costs substantially, and improve profitability—but with the result of less money paid to flesh-and-blood musicians."

April 05, 2023

Spotify Live is shutting down

Music streaming giant Spotify is shutting down its live audio app, Spotify Live, two years after launching it and after coming to the conclusion that "it no longer makes sense as a standalone app.” The company plans to continue with some aspects of live audio, mainly “listening parties”. Some of the app’s shows will continue as non-live programs on the main Spotify app.

Swedish house DJ
March 29, 2023

Spotify’s AI “DJ” explained

Spotify's much-hyped AI “DJ” is now available in the US, serving up recommendations in six distinct ways, Medium reports. It's these:

1. Based on recent listening

2. From your past - not sure yet how they quantify the past

3. Recommended for you - based on recommendations coming from controversial technologies like “discovery mode”

4. Throwbacks - focused on catalog music

5. Editors’ picks - recommendations currently highlighted by Spotify’s artist and marketing teams

6. Trending music - a brand new mode that appears to cater to gen-z style records that are growing in popularity on Tiktok and Reels

According to Spotify's latest Loud and Clear report, 14,700 DIY artists generated $10,000 across recorded music and publishing royalties on the service in 2022, MBW reports. This means that DIY artists comprised approximately 25.8% of the subset of 57,000 artists who generated $10k+ on Spotify in 2022. However, compared to the previous year, the news isn't that good. In 2021, Spotify helped 15,140 DIY artists generate over $10,000.

The MBW breaks down the numbers Spotify shared in their Loud & Clear report about how much it pays in royalties, and to whom. The number of artists generating $50,000 or more a year stood at 17,800 in 2022, up by 1,300 from the prior year. However, in 2021, that same category grew year-on-year by 3,100, more than double its rate of increase in 2022. The $50k is the amount "generated" by artists, their royalties will inevitably be reduced once they’ve paid their distributor/publishing admin company/publisher/record company a fee, commission, recoupment charge, etc. Still, it's a monthly paycheck allowing the musician a decent living from cre

Spotify introduced a significant redesign of its app, including the vertically scrolling “discovery” feeds, a new “Smart Shuffle” mode for playlist recommendations, a new podcast autoplay feature and more. Mashable points out that "Spotify's update aims to help users find more content on the platform. The idea is that users will scroll through their feed and see fragments of content that they then will save for later. But these changes appear to miss the thing that people actually enjoy about the app: all the music they love being in one place." The Verge agrees: "The new design goes heavy on imagery and vertical scrolling, turning your homescreen from a set of album covers into a feed that much more closely resembles TikTok and Instagram. As you scroll, Spotify is also hoping to make it easier to discover new things across the Spotify ecosystem."

Spotify revealed on their Stream On event that through December 31, 2022, it had paid more than €34 billion in royalties to record labels, music publishers, and other rights holders since launch, MBW reports. In 2021 the streaming giant paid €7+ billion, which was up from €5+ billion in 2020, which means it will likely reach the €40 billion benchmark this year. Spotify says that “nearly 70%” of every dollar it generates from music “is paid back as royalties to rightsholders, who then pay the artists and songwriters, based on the agreed terms”. Spotify also revealed that in 2022, as many as 10,100 artists from over 100 countries worldwide generated at least $100,000, and 1,060 artists generated more than $1 million.

Getting hot in Sweden
February 01, 2023

The first! - Spotify has 200 million paid subscribers

Spotify’s number of premium subscribers increased to 205 million as of December 31st, the company announced in this week's earnings release, representing a 14 percent increase year-on-year. That helped increase its monthly active users to 489 million, a 20 percent rise. On the other hand, Spotify posted €3.17 billion in revenue, up 18% from the year-earlier period, and a net loss of €270 million, Variety reports. Spotify is widely considered to be the largest music streaming service in the world, and the first one to reach 200 million subscribers.

Arctic cold
January 23, 2023

Spotify to let go over 500 people

Spotify has announced today (January 23) that it is in the process of reducing its employee base by “about 6% across the company”. At the end of Q3 2022, Spotify employed 9,808 full-time employees globally - six percent of 9,808 is 588, the MBW reports. In the last six months, music and tech companies have been hit with a series of layoffs. SoundCloud started reducing its global workforce by approximately 20%. BMI will lay off 10% of its workforce. Alphabet is letting 12.000 workers go, Microsoft 10,000, Amazon is cutting its workforce by 18,000...

The Guardian looks for clues for the popularity of nightcore, sped-up versions of existing songs, on streaming services and social media. Spotify-produced playlist Sped Up Songs is liked by more than 975,000 people; views of nightcore versions of songs on YouTube count in millions; on TikTok, the hashtag “spedupsounds” has 9.6bn views. The G sees record labels behind this trend - "sped-up music is a quick way for labels to monetize old music" since these kinds of remixes “drive songs up the charts” and are especially lucrative for catalogue material. There's a new trend going on parallel to nightcore - “slowed + reverb”, a slowed-down alternative "where producers pull down a song’s tempo to 60 or 70 quarter-note beats per minute, then add some skips, scratches, and stop-time moments. It’s a TikTok staple, with over 1.3m views on the app, and 623,000 followers on Spotify’s 'slowed and reverbed' playlist".

The Weeknd’s 2019 track ‘Blinding Lights’ has become the most streamed song ever on Spotify with 3,332,163,962 streams (on January 1), the Hypebot reports. The track has overtaken Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’ (with 3,332,016,196 streams on January 1) which has held the top spot for the past five years — having taken over from Drake’s ‘One Dance’ in 2017.

Puerto Spotifyco
December 02, 2022

Spotify's top streamed artist in 2022 - Bad Bunny

Puerto Rican Bad Bunny has become Spotify’s biggest global artist for the third year in a row, after his music was streamed over 18.5 billion times on the platform, Consequence reports. Last year, Bad Bunny received over 9.1 billion streams, achieving that tally without even having released an album in 2021, which also means he managed to double his stream count on the service this year vs. 2021. Taylor Swift comes in second place on the list of Spotify's top streamed artists in 2022 and is the only female artist in the top five, while the group is rounded out by Drake, The Weekend, and BTS.

"The scripts are sharp, pacy, funny and cleverly structured to provide each key player in the story with a voice. The performances are great without straying into bluster or scenery chewing, and there's a constant motion in the narrative that keeps you utterly captivated". TechRadar reviews the new Netflix series about Spotify. Guardian says it's worth watching: "A worthy exercise about how much the tech industry loves to corrupt good intentions".

Crosby, Stills & Nash have returned to Spotify after a five-month boycott, which they started by joining Neil Young’s protest against the platform—citing misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Other artists such as Joni Mitchell, Crazy Horse’s Nils Lofgren, and India.Arie also joined the boycott in the winter, Graham Nash said in a statement that Spotify has “taken a positive step by adding a Covid content advisory to podcasts that include a conversation about Covid, directing listeners to a Covid information hub", Paste Magazine reports. Crosby, Stills & Nash appear to be the first of the high-profile departures to return to the platform.

The biggest music streaming providers in China, Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music, added 4.0 million paying music users quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2022, and 7.8 million respectively. TME’s official ‘paying online music’ user-base now stands at 80.2 million customers, while NetEase now stands at 36.7 million customers. Spotify net-added 2 million paying customers to its service in Q1 2022, and now stands at 182 million Premium subscribers outside of China. When it comes to finance, however, the numbers go in the Swedish company's direction - its Premium subs business generated €2.379 billion (USD $2.67bn) in the first quarter of 2022. Tencent Music online music services revenue fell to USD $413 million, while NetEase Cloud Music’s online music services generated USD $140m. MBW has all the numbers and comparisons.

Last year 52,600 artists generated over $10,000 on Spotify, the platform has announced, the MBW reports. 15,140 of these 52,600 artists – around 28% – uploaded their own music. Of the 52,600 artists who generated more than $10k last year:

  • 16,500 artists generated more than $50k;
  • 9,500 artists generated more than $100k;
  • 2,170 artists generated more than $500k;
  • and 1,040 artists generated more than $1 million.

Spotify paid out $7 billion (across publishing and recorded music) to music industry rights-holders.

Spotify has struck a major four-year sponsorship agreement with Barcelona worth $310 million. MBW calculated that in order for an artist to generate $310 million in recorded music royalties on the Spotify platform – at $0.00348 per-stream average rate – they would need to rack up a gigantic 89.08 billion plays on the service. No artist in the history of Spotify has ever, across their entire catalog, attracted that many plays. The most cumulative streams ever recorded by a single artist on Spotify is Drake with 62.84 billion.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have pulled their respective solo catalogs as well as the music they made together from Spotify, Rolling Stone reports. “We support Neil and we agree with him that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify’s Joe Rogan podcast” a joint statement announcing that they plan to remove their music reads - “While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences. Until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don’t want our music — or the music we made together — to be on the same platform”.

MBW founder Tim Ingham discusses Neil Young’s decision to remove his catalog from Spotify in protest to what he deems Covid-19 misinformation appearing on the platform, on Talking Trends podcast: “Ultimately, people aren’t loyal to music streaming services, whatever playlists they’ve built – they’re loyal to the artists they love. Fans will spend hundreds of dollars they don’t have, sitting next to a drug addled lunatic on a long night-bus ride, walk hours in the pissing rain, just to attend a Neil Young concert. They’ll switch music streaming provider with a waggle of their thumb”.

Napkin Math and Trapital share an essay on Spotify: "Through a combination of convenience, partnerships with rights holders, and on-demand listening, it outlasted music piracy and beat legacy platforms like iTunes. It has built the business that saved the music industry. In October 2021, the company had 381 million monthly active users and was growing 19% year over year... Spotify wins because it has what matters most—attention. Spotify is the primary distribution tool for the biggest artists in the world. It has amplified attention for genres that were held back before the streaming era. The company is now on a mission to capture attention for all forms of audio. It is the attention king".

Stand your ground
January 30, 2022

Nils Lofgren removes music from Spotify

Nils Lofgren, a member of Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, has pulled his music from Spotify in protest of the platform’s spread of COVID disinformation, following Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. “Music is our planet’s sacred weapon, uniting and healing billions of souls every day. Pick up your sword and start swinging” - Lofgren wrote.

Billboard calculates losses Neil Yung and Joni Mitchell are going to have due to their withdrawal from Spotify: "At an estimated $2.8 million in streaming royalties last year, Young’s decision will forego about $1.2 million each year for him and his label, Warner Music/Reprise (Spotify accounted for about 43%). Of that, Young likely received half — $600,000. On top of that, Young earned $308,000 in publishing revenue from Spotify last year. Half of that — $154,000 — he would receive for the songwriter share with the other half going to Hipgnosis Songs. For Young, personally, the decision to pull his music from Spotify will cost him about $754,000 annually. In 2021, Mitchell’s recording catalog earned $373,000 from Spotify revenues. Like Young, Mitchell’s heritage contract likely earns her half of those revenues, adding up to about $186,500 in artist royalties she is foregoing. Her publishing, including her songwriting share, earned about $702,000 annually, of which about 11% — $79,000 — came from Spotify. Mitchell’s personal annual loss, based on her catalog’s performance for 2021, would be about $257,000 in total artist and publishing royalties", Billboard estimates.

Joni Mitchell has announced on her blog that she intended to remove “all my music” from Spotify, MBW reports. Her reason are “irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives”. Mitchell added: “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue”. Neil Young pulled his albums from Spotify due to his belief that the podcaster Joe Rogan has been spreading untruths about Covid vaccinations on the service.

Neil Young has posted an open letter to his website directing his management and record label to remove all of his music from Spotify, which he accused of “spreading fake information about vaccines—potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them”. He wrote “they can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both”, referencing the Spotify podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, which doctors have decried for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, Rolling Stone reports.

Four weekends a month
January 23, 2022

The Weeknd breaks record for most Spotify listeners

The Weeknd has now risen to have 85,667,564 monthly listeners on Spotify, becoming the artist with the most monthly listeners on the platform, Hip Hop DX reports. The title had previously been held by Justin Bieber for nearly a year. The feat comes after The Weeknd has released his new album ‘Dawn FM’ earlier this month. 'Dawn FM' has also set a new record for the Billboard Global 200 chart with 24 charting songs, making the most ever by a solo male artist.

Bad Bunny has been named the most-streamed artist in the world on Spotify in 2021, for the second year in a row, Music Business Worldwide reports. Bad Bunny has received over 9.1 billion streams in 2021 so far, achieving that tally without even having released an album this year. Last year, he had received over 8.3 billion streams on Spotify by December 1.

Lady sings the rules
November 22, 2021

Spotify removes shuffle button on Adele’s request

Adele had a simple request when it came to her new album, ’30’: listen to the songs in the order she presented them. The British superstar’s wish was heard by Spotify when the music streaming giant agreed to remove its default shuffle feature which plays songs in random order, NPR reports. It expanded beyond Adele - a quick review by Gizmodo of other artists’ albums (Ed Sheeran, BTS, Blackpink, Taylor Swift) on the platform also found that the shuffle option was gone and that albums were played in order by default. The shuffle option could however be activated in the platform player.

Spotify has announced it will make a new Lyrics feature available to all global users, both Free and Premium, across platforms, The Verge reports. The feature is powered by lyrics provider Musixmatch. Lyrics will be available across platforms from the “Now Playing” view or bar, depending on the platform. On mobile, users can swipe up from the “Now Playing” screen to see the track’s lyrics scroll by in real time as the song is playing. On the desktop app, you can click the microphone icon from the “Now Playing” bar instead. And on the Spotify TV app, you’ll navigate to the top-right corner of the “Now Playing” view to enable Lyrics from the lyrics button.

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