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Spotify shafts songwriters

Record labels take the biggest cut
Tue Apr 13 2010, 15:40

SONGWRITERS HAVE CLAIMED that they are being shafted by the music service Spotify.

The service, which was once hailed as the saviour of the music industry, apparently pays peanuts to songwriters according to The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA). The association cites that after a million plays of a Lady Gaga song the brains behind it got a measly $167, hardly enough for Ms Gaga to pay for her considerable hairdo.

A graphic illustration of how record labels exploit the creativity of their artists, Spotify is essentially controlled by the big four music labels. This means they, for once, aren't in a position to claim the death of music due to some Internet activity. Rather it is a shameful admission, of sorts, at how shady, secretive deals result in artists getting screwed.

BASCA told the BBC that the amounts of money filtering down to the artist is "tiny", meaning that the greedy recording company executives are lining their pockets. Spotify is unwilling to reveal the deals it does, perhaps in an attempt to hide the fact that the record labels and not the artists get the lion's share of the profits.

Although most real musicians don't get into the industry for the money, few would deny them the right to a honest day's pay, especially at the expense of music company executives.

Even using a legitimate service that is controlled by all four major labels, it seems that the artists are the ones being short changed. As the users are paying for the service, that only enables the record labels to hoover up the cash before they throw a few pennies into the artists' pockets. Yet Spotify claims that as more people subscribe to the service, in turn, the more the artists will earn.

Well quite, but given that a million plays netted the artist just over 100 quid, or 0.01 pence per play, we think that most 'downloaders' would be happy to pay ten times that amount to grab a copy of the song and give the money directly to the artist. µ


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