The launch of the world’s biggest music streaming service in Australia is set to be a win for music lovers, but local artists fear they will lose out.

Spotify allows users to stream music for free, or they can pay to listen without ads. The company then pays a small amount of money per stream to the record label who owns the music.

The company launched in Sweden in 2008. It has since grown to about 10 million users in 16 countries around the world.

It claims to offer a viable alternative to piracy, offering users a way to legally stream more than 16 million tracks.

Research shows it has had a significant impact on illegal downloading in Scandinavia and the US, but that does not necessarily mean it is better for artists.

The Australian music industry is divided on the matter.

Local hip hop MC producer Urthboy has told triple j’s Hack that Spotify will make things harder for smaller acts.

“The massive, massive amount of music out there means that a small, independent artist is going to be working so hard just to get noticed,” he said.

“It’s scary because the small amount of money you might have become accustomed to is once again being diminished.”

Artist anger
Spotify pays record labels when it streams their music, but overseas some big names in music have decided it is not enough to make it worthwhile for them to support the service.

Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney told WGRD radio in the US he thinks Shawn Parker – a board member of Spotify – is an “arsehole”.

At 4.8cents a stream no muso can make a living from this – it would take a ridiculous number of streams just to earn average wage.

 

Carney joins a growing list of artists like Adele and the Beatles who have given Spotify the finger.

“The guy has $2.5 billion he made stealing royalties from artists,” Carney said.

“We can’t make money from it, if it was fair to the artists we would be involved in it, but it’s not.”

But Urthboy says regular artists do not have the luxury of boycotting such a service.

“The one thing that I would like to see from Spotify is a fair playing field, whether you are an independent artist that has no label representation or whether you are major label act who has huge sway,” he said.

You’re not going to be buying your new house in Malibu any time soon by getting your album up on Spotify, but it’s definitely a way to find new ears and new fans that could potentially help you get there one day.

 

Stefanzi, via story comment
“Record sales aren’t exactly what they used to be and probably never are going to be so if you can think of ways to get your music in front of audiences and potentially convert those people listening to your music into ongoing fans who buy your tickets to your shows, who buy your merchandise, who want to go catch you at festivals and who tell their mates about you then its all well and good,” he said.

“So you’ve really got to look at ways you can leverage from all these new platforms to actually help drive proper revenue for your band.

“You’re not going to be buying your new house in Malibu any time soon by getting your album up on Spotify, but it’s definitely a way to find new ears and new fans that could potentially help you get their one day.”

Urthboy agrees and says artists need to make streaming services work for them.

“These streaming services are the way that people are going to hear music and as artists we have to look at them, embrace them and see how they can work for us,” he said.