Musicians Union Launches ‘Justice at Spotify’ Campaign Demanding One Cent Per Stream

    The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers has launched a new campaign called ‘Justice at Spotify’ to advocate for drastic changes to the streaming platform’s business model, including higher rates and greater transparency. At the time of this writing, the UMAW has collected over 4,000 signatures from music industry workers, including Thurston Moore, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Julianna Barwick, Empress Of’s Lorely Rodriguez, Moor Mother, Zola Jesus, Palehound, Deerhoof, Jay Som, Frankie Cosmos, WHY?, Sad13, Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, Sheer Mag, Ezra Furman, Amber Coffman, and many more.

    “Spotify is the most dominant platform on the music streaming market. The company behind the streaming platform continues to accrue value, yet music workers everywhere see little more than pennies in compensation for the work they make,” the UMAW states. “With the entire live music ecosystem in jeopardy due to the coronavirus pandemic, music workers are more reliant on streaming income than ever. We are calling on Spotify to deliver increased royalty payments, transparency in their practices, and to stop fighting artists.”

    The UMAW’s demands include: the per-stream royalty rate to be raised from $.0038 USD to at least a once cent per stream, to be delivered via a user-centric payment model; all closed-door contracts to be made public; the elimination of “payola,” in which Spotify encourages pay-to-play arrangements on curated playlists; all labor involved in recordings to be properly credited; and an end to legal battles unfairly targeting artists.

    Back in August, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek was criticised by musicians for saying it “wasn’t enough” for artists to “record music once every three to four years.”

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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