At the start of the year you may recall that there was a lot of backlash over Spotify, in particular for their exclusive support of the Joe Rogan podcast which was re-known for spreading Covid anti-vaxx, conspiracy theories and other misinformation which is harmful to the public. Artists were leaving the platform in droves, as a way of protest. With many stating that this was the final straw, especially after the streaming model only rewards a select handful of top end Artists. Some well known Artists to do so were Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren and others.
At this time it left me, as an emerging Independent Artist with a bit of a dilemma. Do I rethink my whole music distribution strategy, or do I stay using Spotify as a major component of my music release strategy. That was until I flipped my thinking...
Yes, the rate per Spotify stream is incredibly small, and you'd need millions of streams to make a living out of Spotify alone. So why did I stay on the platform? The answer is instead of viewing Spotify as a direct revenue stream, I started to view it as an audience building platform. My listener stats were showing me that by far most new listeners were discovering my music via Spotify. Whilst it may have been a statement for me to walk away from Spotify on principle, I would've been cutting of my nose to spite my face. Major Artists such as Neil Young have built up devoted audiences over many decades, and well before the streaming era had begun. He could make that decision as his fans would follow him on whatever platform he chose. In my second year of the GROUND:FAULT:INTERRUPT project I didn't have the same luxury. I couldn't simply ignore the potential of Spotify's 400 Million users and about 182 Million premium subscribers. Maybe in the years to come I could've made a different decision.
So I exclusively now view Spotify as a music discovery service for my music and aim to develop my audience, converting casual listeners into more involved fans, and then ultimately the "super fans" that would support my work and shows well into the future. I as an Artist didn't need to buy in to what was being broadcast on the podcast side of things. Being on the platform definitely doesn't mean that I agree with the views of other Podcasters or Artists, I can only speak for myself. Spotify has been introducing a lot of features to help Artists of all levels promote themselves on the platform, such as advertising merchandise for sale via Shopify, and displaying live concert dates with ticket links via Songkick. I do honestly believe that they have some attractive features. They regularly invite me to free webinars which provide information on how I can grow my audience.
I just think that this situation is a great example of how you view something can significantly change based on your attitude, approach and mindset.
These views are my own, and I think you'd get a different answer from every other Artist if you asked them the same question. Ultimately we will all make what we think is the best decision for our Artists goals and endeavours.
Thank you for reading. Till next time,