Whether To Be On Spotify

New York City, just like I pictured it!

Does anybody catch “Innervisions” references anymore? You know, “Living For The City”? That’s from the break.

Anyway, the people watching is incredible. The older I get the more I realize that’s what it’s all about, interacting, having conversations, and I spent the afternoon at Q Prime, and I had a fascinating conversation with Cliff Burnstein, considered one of the smartest people in the business, about Spotify.

You’ve got to be on it.

Didn’t used to be this way. Cliff didn’t believe you needed to be on Rhapsody or Rdio or Deezer, but Spotify has traction. What, are there one and a half million premium subscribers?

And these are the active new music consumers. And if you’ve got new music and they can’t hear it it’s just like it doesn’t exist.

Everything in life is about timing. You don’t want to be too early, and you don’t want to be too late. And if you don’t have your music on Spotify now, you’re too late, you’re working against yourself.

Oh, stop it with the echo chamber of musicians decrying payments, the truth is Spotify pays 69+% of all revenues to rights holders. How could you want a better deal, this is what Apple pays at iTunes!

As for streaming, did you see the Viacom survey on streaming, claiming it’s the new normal? You may not like the move to access, but most certainly the fans do:

Consumer Insights: The Music Experience in 2014

So the point is you have to engage with active consumers. And the most active consumers are streaming on Spotify, because they want access to all new music instantly. They’re the tastemakers who spread the word. If you don’t infect them, you’re leaving money on the table. You may exclaim you’re number one on the antiquated SoundScan chart but the truth is sales are anemic and there’s no indication anybody listened to the album, never mind spread the word about it.

But Spotify subscribers do both.

And no, I’m not getting paid by the Swedish streaming service. But if you don’t think the history of recorded music all in one place for one low monthly price is the greatest thing to happen in the history of recorded music then you liked going to the record store salivating over albums you could not afford and were never going to hear.

Now, with everything available, you have to make it easy for people to access it. Ever wonder why Amazon promotes 1 Click? Ever wonder why Steve Jobs promoted ease of use? If you think life should be hard you’re probably searching for 78s at garage sales. The truth is with so much information at our fingertips, that which is not will get buried.

Furthermore, wouldn’t you rather get paid every time your music gets played? Speak with an old musician, it’s ASCAP and BMI that keep them alive, only superstars get record royalties. That’s how it is in streaming, you get paid for plays forever!

As for the low payouts today… First, check your deal, there’s a good chance your label is making beaucoup bucks on your recording, you’ve got a bad split. Second, know that in the digital sphere everything is about scale. The bigger it is, the better it pays. Will people be bitching about Spotify payments five years from now? No, the same Luddites keeping their music off the service will be ecstatic that they’re getting paid so much.

So don’t hold back. Put your music on Spotify day and date of release. Otherwise, you’re just hurting yourself.

Listen to Cliff Burnstein.

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  1. […] about how little Spotify pays the artist for streamed music. I say, are they really? According to Lefsetz Letter Spotify pays 69+% of all revenues to rights holders. That’s about the same as Apple pays for […]

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