$2 Billion and Counting

A blog post written by Daniel Ek (@eldsjal)

Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it. We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it. So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time. Our whole reason for existence is to help fans find music and help artists connect with fans through a platform that protects them from piracy and pays them for their amazing work. Quincy Jones posted on Facebook that “Spotify is not the enemy; piracy is the enemy”. You know why? Two numbers: Zero and Two Billion. Piracy doesn’t pay artists a penny – nothing, zilch, zero. Spotify has paid more than two billion dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists. A billion dollars from the time we started Spotify in 2008 to last year and another billion dollars since then. And that’s two billion dollars’ worth of listening that would have happened with zero or little compensation to artists and songwriters through piracy or practically equivalent services if there was no Spotify – we’re working day and night to recover money for artists and the music business that piracy was stealing away.

When I hear stories about artists and songwriters who say they’ve seen little or no money from streaming and are naturally angry and frustrated, I’m really frustrated too. The music industry is changing – and we’re proud of our part in that change – but lots of problems that have plagued the industry since its inception continue to exist. As I said, we’ve already paid more than $2 billion in royalties to the music industry and if that money is not flowing to the creative community in a timely and transparent way, that’s a big problem. We will do anything we can to work with the industry to increase transparency, improve speed of payments, and give artists the opportunity to promote themselves and connect with fans – that’s our responsibility as a leader in this industry; and it’s the right thing to do.

We’re trying to build a new music economy that works for artists in a way the music industry never has before. And it is working – Spotify is the single biggest driver of growth in the music industry, the number one source of increasing revenue, and the first or second biggest source of overall music revenue in many places. Those are facts. But there are at least three big misconceptions out there about how we work, how much we pay, and what we mean for the future of music and the artists who create it. Let’s take a look at them.

Myth number one: free music for fans means artists don’t get paid. On Spotify, nothing could be further from the truth. Not all free music is created equal – on Spotify, free music is supported by ads, and we pay for every play. Until we launched Spotify, there were two economic models for streaming services: all free or all paid, never together, and both models had a fatal flaw. The paid-only services never took off (despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing), because users were being asked to pay for something that they were already getting for free on piracy sites. The free services, which scaled massively, paid next to nothing back to artists and labels, and were often just a step away from piracy, implemented without regard to licensing, and they offered no path to convert all their free users into paying customers. Paid provided monetization without scale, free reached scale without monetization, and neither produced anywhere near enough money to replace the ongoing decline in music industry revenue.

We had a different idea. We believed that a blended option – or ‘freemium’ model – would build scale and monetization together, ultimately creating a new music economy that gives fans access to the music they love and pays artists fairly for their amazing work. Why link free and paid? Because the hardest thing about selling a music subscription is that most of our competition comes from the tons of free music available just about everywhere. Today, people listen to music in a wide variety of ways, but by far the three most popular ways are radio, YouTube, and piracy – all free. Here’s the overwhelming, undeniable, inescapable bottom line: the vast majority of music listening is unpaid. If we want to drive people to pay for music, we have to compete with free to get their attention in the first place.

So our theory was simple – offer a terrific free tier, supported by advertising, as a starting point to attract fans and get them in the door. And unlike other free music options – from piracy to YouTube to SoundCloud – we pay artists and rights holders every time a song is played on our free service. But it’s not as flexible or uninterrupted as Premium. If you’ve ever used Spotify’s free service on mobile, you know what I mean – just like radio, you can pick the kind of music you want to hear but can’t control the specific song that’s being played, or what gets played next, and you have to listen to ads. We believed that as fans invested in Spotify with time, listening to their favorite music, discovering new music and sharing it with their friends, they would eventually want the full freedom offered by our premium tier, and they’d be willing to pay for it.

We were right. Our free service drives our paid service. Today we have more than 50 million active users of whom 12.5 million are subscribers each paying $120 per year. That’s three times more than the average paying music consumer spent in the past. What’s more, the majority of these paying users are under the age of 27, fans who grew up with piracy and never expected to pay for music. But here’s the key fact: more than 80% of our subscribers started as free users. If you take away only one thing, it should be this: No free, no paid, no two billion dollars.

Myth number two: Spotify pays, but it pays so little per play nobody could ever earn a living from it. First of all, let’s be clear about what a single stream – or listen – is: it’s one person playing one song one time. So people throw around a lot of stream counts that seem big and then tell you they’re associated with payouts that sound small. But let’s look at what those counts really represent. If a song has been listened to 500 thousand times on Spotify, that’s the same as it having been played one time on a U.S. radio station with a moderate sized audience of 500 thousand people. Which would pay the recording artist precisely … nothing at all. But the equivalent of that one play and its 500 thousand listens on Spotify would pay out between three and four thousand dollars. The Spotify equivalent of ten plays on that radio station – once a day for a week and a half – would be worth thirty to forty thousand dollars.

Now, let’s look at a hit single, say Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’. In the months since that song was released, it’s been listened to enough times to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for his label and publisher. At our current size, payouts for a top artist like Taylor Swift (before she pulled her catalog) are on track to exceed $6 million a year, and that’s only growing – we expect that number to double again in a year. Any way you cut it, one thing is clear – we’re paying an enormous amount of money to labels and publishers for distribution to artists and songwriters, and significantly more than any other streaming service.

Myth number three: Spotify hurts sales, both download and physical. This is classic correlation without causation – people see that downloads are down and streaming is up, so they assume the latter is causing the former. Except the whole correlation falls apart when you realize a simple fact: downloads are dropping just as quickly in markets where Spotify doesn’t exist. Canada is a great example, because it has a mature music market very similar to the US. Spotify launched in Canada a few weeks ago. In the first half of 2014, downloads declined just as dramatically in Canada – without Spotify – as they did everywhere else. If Spotify is cannibalising downloads, who’s cannibalising Canada?

By the same token, we’ve got a great list of artists who promoted their new releases on Spotify and had terrific sales and lots of streaming too – like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey and alt-J. Artists from Daft Punk to Calvin Harris to Eminem had number ones and were on Spotify at the same time too.

Which brings us back to Taylor Swift. She sold more than 1.2 million copies of 1989 in the US in its first week, and that’s awesome. We hope she sells a lot more because she’s an exceptional artist producing great music. In the old days, multiple artists sold multiple millions every year. That just doesn’t happen any more; people’s listening habits have changed – and they’re not going to change back. You can’t look at Spotify in isolation – even though Taylor can pull her music off Spotify (where we license and pay for every song we’ve ever played), her songs are all over services and sites like YouTube and Soundcloud, where people can listen all they want for free. To say nothing of the fans who will just turn back to pirate services like Grooveshark. And sure enough, if you looked at the top spot on The Pirate Bay last week, there was 1989

Here’s the thing I really want artists to understand: Our interests are totally aligned with yours. Even if you don’t believe that’s our goal, look at our business. Our whole business is to maximize the value of your music. We don’t use music to drive sales of hardware or software. We use music to get people to pay for music. The more we grow, the more we’ll pay you. We’re going to be transparent about it all the way through. And we have a big team of your fellow artists here because if you think we haven’t done well enough, we want to know, and we want to do better. None of that is ever going to change.

We’re getting fans to pay for music again. We’re connecting artists to fans they would never have otherwise found, and we’re paying them for every single listen. We’re not just streaming, we’re mainstreaming now, and that’s good for music makers and music lovers around the world. 

 

 

¡Bienvenidos a Spotify, Brasil!

Brasil
Estamos emocionados de poder anunciar que, a partir de hoy, Spotify está disponible para todos en Brasil. Ahora, nuestros amigos brasileños pueden unirse a los 40 millones de personas de todo el mundo que disfrutan de una forma nueva de escuchar música.

Con esto, Spotify ya está disponible en 57 mercados de todo el planeta. Eso significa que es más fácil que nunca compartir música con tus amigos de otros países y descubrir más música a nivel global.

¿Conoces a alguien en Brasil? ¡Pues mándale una canción hoy mismo!

10 Millones de Suscriptores

Hoy estamos felices de anunciar un logro muy especial – ¡Ahora tenemos 10 millones de suscriptores de paga y más de 40 millones de usuarios activos en 56 países! Wow – estamos infinitamente agradecidos con los miles de artistas y los millones de fans de la música de todo el mundo que nos han ayudado a llegar hasta aquí. Para celebrarlo hemos creado esta divertida infografía para todos ustedes. ¡Gracias por todo!10 MILLION

No más límites de tiempo en Spotify – #freeyourmusic

NoMoreLimitsES

Por si no escuchaste las noticias, ahora puedes usar Spotify en tu móvil o tablet totalmente gratis. Encuentra la música perfecta y escúchala en “shuffle” en tu dispositivo iOS o Android.

Pero, ¿qué hay de escucharla en tu ordenador  – sin límite de tiempo?

En el pasado, tuvimos que restringir las horas que podías disfrutar de Spotify después de que tu cuenta tenía más de 6 meses de haberse creado. Pero ahora, por si no lo has notado, no hay más límites de tiempo si estás escuchando Spotify gratis. ¡Hemos quitado los límites por completo! Ahora puedes escuchar tus canciones favoritas cuando quieras,  las veces que quieras, todo el  tiempo que quieras.

Así es, no más límites de tiempo.

La música da felicidad – no la limites. #FreeYourMusic

¡Hola a todos, les habla Spotify!

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¡Hola a todos, les habla Spotify!

¡Estamos encantados de anunciar que Spotify ya está disponible en Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, El Salvador, Paraguay, Honduras, Panamá, Nicaragua, Perú, Ecuador, República Dominicana, Guatemala, Costa Rica y Bolivia!

Hay millones de canciones en Spotify – desde los clásicos favoritos hasta los últimos éxitos. ¡Sólo busca a tus artistas favoritos y dale play!

Spotify funciona en tu computadora, laptop, celular y tablet. Ya sea que te estés ejercitando, de fiesta o relajándote, la música perfecta siempre estará al alcance de tus manos.

Es muy fácil empezar. Sólo suscríbete o escucha gratis desde tu computadora, celular o tablet (Sí, ¡gratis!).

Si eliges subir de categoría a Spotify Premium, podrás reproducir cualquier canción en cualquier lugar, sin comerciales en lo absoluto. También puedes descargar música y escuchar sin conexión. 

Haz clic en el botón a continuación para iniciar. ¡Disfruta lo que escuchas! #ComparteMúsica

Descargar

 

Una noche…de miedo

miedo

La “Noche de los Difuntos”o “Halloween” ha llegado.  Y no es ningún secreto que si utilizas la iluminación adecuada (mientras menos, mejor) y ciertas piezas musicales, puedes recrear un ambiente aterrador, pero ¿por qué tenemos miedo a la oscuridad y a ciertas piezas musicales?

El miedo a la oscuridad (o nictofobia) es una reacción irracional causada por la distorsión en la percepción que tiene nuestro cerebro de lo que puede pasar en la oscuridad. No es un miedo a la oscuridad en sí, sino a los riesgos que imaginamos pueden estar latentes cuando estamos en penumbra.

Para averiguar el por qué del miedo a cierta música, hemos realizado un estudio con la Universidad de California. Y parece ser que es nuestro instinto animal el causante de esto. En efecto, ciertas piezas musicales llaman nuestra atención porque imitan los sonidos de los depredadores o de sus presas en situaciones difíciles. Y, aunque algunos afirman que el miedo está en nuestra mente y no en la música, la investigación demuestra que, biológicamente, es posible sentir miedo sin ser consciente de ello. Básicamente, es una manera natural que tenemos para estar alerta ante situaciones de peligro.

De ahí que muchos compositores utilicen cierto tipos de sonidos no melódicos; para desestabilizar al oyente y provocar esta sensación de temor. Es el miedo a lo desconocido lo que puede llevarnos a situaciones de pánico y verdadero pavor.

Disfruta, o no, con la siguiente lista que hemos preparado y que contiene algunos de los temas que han sido utilizados a la hora de realizar el estudio: Psycho, Jaws, Victims of Hiroshima, Lacrimosa, The dream of Jacob, The Shining, The Exorcist…

 

June Beats presented by @thursplay

thursplay

Here’s what you’ll listen to on this June Beats by our friends at @thursplay :

Closing the month of June with 15 awesome hand picked songs on June Beats by @thursplay [2013]: listen to Kisses with their very catchy “Funny Heartbeat”, Husky Rescue has new music out, check out “Treehouse”! Also with new music is Swedish group Club 8, listen to “Into Air” from their latest album “Above the City”.

What else? Oh yeah, listen to brand new music from American indie rock band The National with “Don’t Swallow the Cap”, Rhye with their ever so smooth sound with the song “Last Dance”, British singer Sivu with “Better Man than He” and Vampire Weekend with “Unbelievers”.

Still on this playlist: When Saints Go Machine, She & Him, Laura Marling and a beautiful song by David Lynch & Lykke Li.

What were your favorite releases during June?

Share them with us today on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #thursplay.

Disfruta a Eagles en Spotify

Son una de las bandas más importantes de todos los tiempos, con seis álbumes que han estado en las listas de éxitos durante treinta años.

Es por eso que estamos muy emocionados de anunciar que ya puedes escuchar álbumes de Eagles en Spotify. ¡Disfruta!

Our Interview with LTJ Bukem

“It doesn’t matter where music comes from; if it hits you, that’s it…”

LTJ Bukem

When the lists of Great Drum and Bass Pioneers is drawn up – and can that day be far off? – the name of Danny Williamson will be on it, only he won’t be called Danny Williamson, he’ll be called LTJ Bukem, for LTJ Bukem is as legendary, as forward-looking and as groundbreaking as they come. In concentrated bursts over the last 22 years, Bukem has been recording, releasing, and DJing a uniquely melodic and textured stream of breakbeat fuelled drum and bass. Now, as he prepares his Good Looking label for a relaunch, Bukem is bringing his entire back catalogue to Spotify.

“We’re embracing the digital world,” he laughs. “We know there are thousands of fans who, over the years, have been asking, ‘what’s Bukem doing?’ It’s been three or four years since I last released something new, so now it’s time to reach out. It’s time to really do this…”

There is something curiously timeless about your music.

LTJ Bukem: That’s been my ethos since the beginning. If I pick up a piece of music to play in a club or to release I want it for life. I want to be able to pick up that piece of music in 20 years’ time, and still enjoy it for what it is.

Tell me a bit about the first music you ever really loved.

Blimey, well, this sounds really weird, but one of the first records I actually bought and got into, was by Bert Weedon! I’ve still got the record somewhere; he was doing Shadows cover versions. I also really liked Scott Joplin and a lot of that ragtime stuff. Then I began listening to The Police and The Jam – Paul Weller heavily influenced me. I think he’s an amazing guy, if you listen to those 70s Jam albums now they’re still amazing.

What was the first gig you went to see?

I would have been 9 or 10 and my piano teacher took me to see Chick Corea, that got me into the whole jazz scene, which became a massive influence and opened up the door to a lot of reggae too. When I started collecting music there was no genres, not for me, I just wanted to hear things that were great, so I got into all sorts of different styles of music. Still now, it doesn’t matter what it is or where it comes from: if it hits you, that’s it.

As a teenager you ran your own Sunshine Sound System – what would we have heard you playing?

Frankie Paul’s Pass The Tu Sheng Peng, Sylvia Striplin’s You Can’t Turn Me Away, Archie Bell and the Drells, Don’t Let Love Get You Down…

Just thinking about those songs is making you smile!

Yeah! Then there’s Loose Ends’ Gonna Make You Mine. We played a lot of that mid-80s funk and soul, but a lot of James Brown too. In fact, I’d play any James Brown I could get my hands on. I played a lot of early hip-hop like Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane too. I used to love those times – that’s why I’m smiling – because in those days you literally could just go to a dance and play for seven hours straight from any style of music that you loved.

People like Kindness, Rhye and Jessie Ware are revisiting that time, that pre-acid house era.

I think there’s a lot of people revisiting that music because there were some ground breaking sounds in there, musicians will always be going to go back to those elements.

Where should people begin with your own music?

You have to start at the beginning, with Demon’s Theme. I’ve always said that was three or four tunes in one, because at that time in drum and bass that’s how it was. You’d have the reggae start, the techno / house middle section, the soul breakdown and off into a mad rave kind of finish! My stuff was more about strings and bells, long intros and drums and promoters would say to me, ‘you’re not going to last five minutes, son! It’s not rave-y enough, it’s not mad enough!’ I was disheartened until I took it to (drum and bass legend) Fabio and Grooverider at Rage one night. They put it straight on and loved it. I played it on dub plate exclusive for a whole year and then thought, ‘Right, I’m going to start a label.’ And that’s the beginning of Good Looking Records. It was what I wanted to hear, records with some melody.

Your label compilation, Logical Progression, was a very big deal at the time.

There was nothing else like it. Nothing! There were compilations, but not an album where someone had put it together as whole piece that was the real start of the label. That got me in touch with London Records and Pete Tong and suddenly we were happening worldwide. I began to bring artists like PFM and Peshay on board. It began to feel real. At the same time I was getting together with Tony who did everything apart from select the tracks for release and gave the label a direction. He still does that now.

You had Photek recording as Aquarius then too?

Ha! Photek, that’s a funny story. I remember when no one had even heard of Rupert. He was still living in Ipswich and I had to drive down to his house to pick up all the DATs off him so I could go and cut the dub plates. Those were amazing times, the birth of it all really.

What record from history do you think, ‘I wish I’d made that’?

I think it would have to be a soul record. If I was allowed a few I’d say, Lonnie Liston Smith’s Voodoo Woman, Chick Corea’s Lenore, Dave Angel’s 1st Symphony, a track called Yeah (Dope Mix) – by Swing Kids and an old tune on XL called Dub War by Dance Conspiracy. Too many to mention

OK, a simple final question: what’s your favourite noise?

Oh man, my favourite noise is peace and quiet.

Do you get much of it?

I’m being serious! And the answer to your question is: no, I don’t, but when I do, it’s like the most wonderful thing ever, because hearing no music for a while really makes me want to hear music again. Sometimes it’s really nice to just sit and contemplate things, to close your eyes and have some meditation time.

That’s what comes of being a grown-up, Danny.

Exactly!

May Beats presented by @thursplay

thursplay

Here’s what you’ll listen to on this April Beats by our friends at @thursplay :

Starting off on this May Beats by @thursplay [2013] listen to Lana Del Rey’s new single “Young and Beautiful” and let’s all agree: yes, she still got it! Also with new music is Swedish electronic duo The Knife, listen to “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” from their latest album “Shaking the Habitual”. Next, enjoy Dublin-based Irish quartet Kodaline with “High Hopes”, followed by Swedish musician Big Fox with her new single “Girls”.

It gets better: listen to STRFKR groovy song “Malmo”, Daft Punk feat. Julian Casablancas with “Instant Crush”, new song by Camera Obscura “Do it Again”, This is Head with “Time’s an Ocean”, American group Haim with their new single “Falling” and British singer-songwriter Dan Croll with “Compliment Your Soul”.

Still on this playlist: Lord Huron, Synne Sanden, Walk the Moon, and Still Corners!

What were your favorite releases during May?

Share them with us today on Twitter using the hashtag #thursplay.