Spotify’s new policy detrimental for small artists

Junior Cooper Nelson holds up his phone with the Spotify app open. He pays $11 a month for the premium version so he can listen to any song at any time.
Junior Cooper Nelson holds up his phone with the Spotify app open. He pays $11 a month for the premium version so he can listen to any song at any time.
Photo by Gibson Strub

In 2024, Spotify plans to stop paying artists who do not make 1000 streams yearly. This affects small artists who are just trying to start. It is nothing to be surprised about because the music industry has never treated music artists with consideration. Ever since the phonograph, the music industry has been a dirty trade. Record labels stealing music rights and not paying artists enough are just a few things artists have dealt with.

Spotify should be paying artists no matter how many streams they get. The company is still making money from them and the artist should see some of it. Spotify makes money from artists through advertisements and monthly payments, which are all generated by the work of the artist. It does not matter if it is $3 or three $3000, it is still money that is owed to the artist.

Junior Andrew Karas is a small Spotify artist who started in 2022 and now has to deal with this new update.

Even worse, Spotify only pays 0.3 cents per stream, which is a laughable amount. That means for every 1000 streams, the artists will only receive $3. For years, artists have wanted more pay on Spotify, but have been ignored by the large corporation. There is no reason why Spotify can not pay their artists more because Apple Music pays 0.8 cents per stream and has the same amount of expenses. 

“They’re going to have like $11 a month from you and they have so many users, and all they have to do is run servers and pay some employees,” senior Andrew Droske said.

The music industry has taken advantage of artists for decades, and it all starts with record labels. A classic example of this is with Taylor Swift when she could not get the rights to her music from Big Machine Records. Big Machine Records is a subsidiary of an even larger company called Universal Music Group, which is one of the big three commercial music companies that dominate the music industry. These three groups control almost all streaming services, due to the companies having rights to the music. If Spotify or Apple Music does something a large record company does not agree with, then legally they can pull all the music they own off from the site. 

It’s like working a job and not getting paid.

— Andrew Karas


Swift could not get rights to her music because she signed an agreement that said that they would hijack her music rights. Because of this, in 2019 she had to go through immense lawsuits and court dates. She also had to remaster the albums that she previously made so that she could possess the music that she created. She still got wrapped up in legal troubles because of this. When this topic was brought up, Droske explained that anybody should be able to have rights to something they creatively designed. It does not matter what label they are signed to. The artists were the ones who made it, so they should have the rights to it.

Although this new update will affect smaller artists’ ability to make money, most musicians enjoy making music and would do it without getting paid. Artists have an easier opportunity than ever to get music out to the public than any other time in history. Soundcloud and TikTok have given a platform for small artists to get their music out to a large group of people. The whole point of art is to make people feel an emotion through something physical. 

For most artists, it is their passion to continue making music. For real artists with passion, it is “not about the money. They’re going to do it no matter what,” junior Jacob Hansen independent music producer said.

Music is bigger than the industry it is trapped in. Record labels and streaming services may have a hold on most musicians, making it difficult to make a living off of music. Most artists have a passion for music, so no matter what the large industry throws at them, they wont quit because it is something they love.

“I think Spotify really should pay their artists more, and I think that would just help music become better as a whole as an art,” Karas said.

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    Peter BanisterFeb 6, 2024 at 9:16 am

    The emotion this is shown in that writing in this story is phenomenal, it helps makes the story powerful and impactful. I especially like how it showcases a local artist and the impact this has on upcoming artists. With the monopoly of new subscription services, companies are getting more greedy cracking down on password sharing and cutting wages just for more profit. This is an exceptionally written story because it’s an easy read and it makes connections that can have an impact on everyone.

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    Ava AspengrenFeb 6, 2024 at 9:12 am

    This is very sad that spotify is not supporting smaller music artist this is not fair and can hurt the music industry. Overall this is a very good article and it has very strong points of information.

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    Dom SlaughterFeb 6, 2024 at 8:55 am

    These large companies that continue to take advantage of smaller creators and artists need to be held accountable! I love finding smaller musicians, especially local ones from MN, and this just discourages people from starting their career in music. Before too long there will only be large artists and industry plants. Great article!

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    Tyson BlazerFeb 6, 2024 at 7:51 am

    I agree that music artists who are trying to make it big are struggling, specifically on Spotify. I found it shocking that , “Spotify only pays 0.3 cents per stream”. The amount of effort that these small artists put in isn’t worth the money. I really liked your way of writing it flowed nicely with how you wanted to tell the story.

    -Tyson Blazer