The "value chain is broken" according to Troy Carter, Spotify's global head of creator services.

"Streaming services don't pay artists enough" is a common refrain, but usually it's the artists saying it, not the streaming services themselves. But now one Spotify executive has joined the chorus of those complaining about musicians' royalties.

Troy Carter, Spotify's global head of creator services (and the man who used to manage Lady Gaga and Meghan Trainor) made the comments at the recent Music Business 2017 Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Variety reports (via Thump). Asked by the moderator if he thought streaming royalties were fair from an artist manager's point of view, Carter replied, "I would say no, but I would also say the value chain's broken. And I think what needs to happen is we need to reconfigure the entire value chain."

In the past, streaming services like Spotify have been accused of not paying artsist enough in royalties. One of its rival Tidal's main selling points at launch was that it would pay musicians a fairer amount.

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Carter said he thought the old system - in which all songwriters were paid the same for their contribution to a record, whether they wrote a hit single or a track that was mere filler - was also very unfair.

More after the break

"Is it also fair that if Max Martin wrote the hit on a record, that the person who wrote the worst song on the record is under the same rate as Max, essentially?" he said. "The hit songs really really matter and you've got every single producer and writer on the album trying to make that hit. But I do [think] it's really about rethinking the value chain."

Warming to the theme, he described Spotify as a "very honest platform. We play a game called best song wins. It doesn't matter if you're the biggest recording artist in the world or an act that was on Soundcloud and finally went to Tunecore and uploaded on Spotify, then the listeners don't lie."

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jjbomber's picture


How can a company $1.5 billion in debt pay more? Is Jeremy Corbyn now head of Spotify? The maths simply do not add up. Spotify have paid out $5 billion in over the top payments to Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group in particular. They cannot sustain paying their current rate, never mind more. Spotify have over 50% of the streaming marketplace but cannot make a profit. The IPO has been declined by Wall Street again, triggering penalties on their Swedish loan. 

Big Aura's picture

The "hit or filler" argument

The "hit or filler" argument is relevant to CD albums, but less-so to a streaming platform as people don't tend to suffer 4 dross tracks once they've listened to the good stuff.

It would make a lot more sense of Spotify et al. paid a 2x multiplier to songs released in past 24 months for first 2m streams, then 1x. And also 1.5x multiplier for songs 24month to 48 months, then a multiplier of 1 up to 20 years, then 0.5 for anything >20 years.

That means old music, where the owners have made their money subsidise new artists.

Although I suspect this is actually about Spotify upping the monthly charge.