Spotify’s ‘Music Side’ Deserves Podcasters’ Attention


PodMov Daily: Monday, August 8

Episode 696: Your Monday Mix

Spotify's ‘Music Side' Deserves Podcasters' Attention

As Spotify makes its mark on podcasting, its ‘music side’ deserves some attention. With 31% of the market, the company is by far the biggest player in music streaming. Its expected $305 billion in revenue this quarter will be made possible in part to the lowest streaming royalty rates in the business. 

A new effort led by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib aims to build a per-stream royalty program in which platforms would pay recording artists and production teams directly. Satellite radio operates on a similar system. Under Spotify’s current rates, ($0.003 to $0.005) it takes about 250 streams to earn $1.

The federal government has pushed back against streaming platforms’ tactics for years. In March, members of Congress called Spotify’s ‘marketing tool’ Discovery Mode “a classic prisoner’s dilemma” for musicians: It gives artists a bump in the algorithm – in exchange for reduced royalty payments.

Spotify isn’t the only one fighting to pay artists as little as possible, though its closest rival, Apple (15% market share) pays at least double, around a penny per stream. “Spotify specifically is acting in bad faith in many ways,” Tlaib said, who is coordinating with the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers.

The bottom line here is that Spotify’s podcast and music streaming businesses aren’t islands. Podcasting monetization may operate differently, but there’s a single ideology (or “ambition,” as CEO Daniel Ek puts it) behind the company’s growth, and it’s a mistake to ignore what’s just over the fence.

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Be prepared: “The Next Five Podcast Listener Trends” from Podcasting, Seriously is this Wednesday at 4:00 pm ET. Gabriel Soto of Edison Research, will join Twitter Spaces to discuss trends emerging from recent listener research, and what they mean for you as a creator. No account needed.
  • Case study: With two shows to juggle, indie podcaster Courtney Kocak recently shifted her release schedule from weekly to biweekly. In her Podcast Bestie newsletter, she shares the research and thought process behind the decision. If you're seeking balance to ward off burnout, don't skip it.
  • Moving pieces: “Story Structure: Murder Isn’t Inherently Interesting” from Radio Boot Camp is this Saturday, August 13. Karen Duffin (Planet MoneyThis American Life) will discuss the elements of a strong narrative and how to provoke curiosity, emotion, and clarity in listeners. $100 registration.

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