$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. 

 

 

Welkom bij Spotify, Brazilië!

Brasil

Spotify is vanaf vandaag beschikbaar voor iedereen in Brazilië. Je vrienden in Brazilië kunnen zich nu voegen bij de 40 miljoen mensen wereldwijd die muziek op een nieuwe manier beluisteren.
Spotify is nu beschikbaar in 57 markten, hierdoor is het nog makkelijker om muziek te delen met je vrienden over de hele wereld en om nog meer muziek uit alle streken te ontdekken.
Ken je iemand in Brazilië? Stuur diegene vandaag nog een nummer!

No more time limits on Spotify – #freeyourmusic

NoMoreLimits

In case you missed the news, you can now get Spotify on your mobile or tablet, absolutely free. Find the right music and shuffle play it on any iOS or Android device.

But what about listening to music on your computer – with no time restrictions?

In the past, we had to restrict your listening time to some hours a month once a 6-month unlimited grace period had passed. But now, if you haven’t noticed, there’s no more time limit if you are using Spotify for free. We have removed these caps completely across all platforms – you can listen to your favourite songs as many times as you like, for as long as you want.

That’s right, no more time limits.

Music makes you happy – why limit your happiness? #FreeYourMusic

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.

The Eagles have landed!

Ze zijn een van ‘s werelds grootste een van ‘s werelds grootste bands, met zeven nummer één hits en zes albums in alle top lijsten in de afgelopen dertig jaar.

Wij zijn dus heel erg blij dat de complete catalogus van The Eagles nu te streamen is op Spotify! Van hun debuut klassieker ‘Take it Easy’ tot hun meest beroemde hit ‘Hotel California’. Luister The Eagles nu!

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.

Weet je niet wat je hierna wil luisteren? Begin met Ontdekken.

Groot nieuws! Vanaf vandaag kun je op Spotify genieten van een compleet nieuwe en persoonlijke manier van muziek ontdekken.

De geheel nieuwe Ontdekken-pagina

Je zoektocht naar de juiste muziek is voorbij! Via de Ontdekken-pagina van Spotify krijg je voortdurend persoonlijke luistertips.

• Eindeloos veel aanbevelingen aan de hand van de muziek die je luistert.

• Nieuwe single- en albumreleases van artiesten die je volgt.

• Alle muziek en afspeellijsten gedeeld door vrienden en trendsetters die je volgt.

• Wil je weten wanneer je favoriete artiesten in de buurt optreden? Blijf op de hoogte met de persoonlijk aanbevolen shows van Songkick.

Naast de Ontdekken-pagina introduceren we ook onze nieuwe Audio Preview-functie. Hiermee kun je tijdens het luisteren snel even nieuwe muziek checken zonder het huidige nummer af te zetten. Klinkt het leuk? Dan kun je het bewaren voor later of meteen afspelen. De keuze is aan jou.

De Ontdekken-pagina is vanaf vandaag te bewonderen via onze gloednieuwe web player die nu beschikbaar is voor alle gebruikers.

Ook zijn we begonnen met de geleidelijke uitrol van de Ontdekken-pagina voor onze desktop- en mobiele apps. Je zult een melding ontvangen zodra je account kan worden bijgewerkt.