Last week, we discussed the controversy started by Neil Young removing his music from Spotify because of its carriage of Joe Rogan’s podcast. In that article, we looked at the relationship between music royalties and the decision of Spotify and other music services to emphasize podcasts and other talk programming over music. Today, we will look at how music rights and royalties impact decisions like those of Neil Young and other musicians who may have wanted to pull their music to support the protest over Rogan’s podcast.
At its most basic level, there is the question of how much the artists themselves stand to lose from the withdrawal of their music from a service like Spotify. Young himself said that he would lose 60% of his streaming revenue from pulling his music, which one source estimated to be over $700,000. Given the other streaming services that now exist, his music is still available and generating revenue on his catalog, though apparently less than the amount generated by Spotify. The 60% number in and of itself is interesting as, while artists and other music representatives complain about the Spotify per song payouts (likely because they offer a free, ad-supported tier with lower payouts than those from subscription services), the wider variety of services offered by Spotify seem to bring in big numbers of listeners – likely including many who would not subscribe to a pay-music service. Thus, because of the sheer numbers of listeners, and assuming that Young is representative of other artists, Spotify is responsible for the majority of the streaming revenue that has allowed the music industry to enjoy in recent years some of their most profitable years ever. Even with these banner payouts, as we noted in our article on the Spotify side of the equation, the music industry is still not satisfied, recently calling the payouts “appallingly low.” More on that issue in an upcoming post on the discussions of a US broadcast radio sound recording performance royalty.
Continue Reading Spotify, Joe Rogan and Neil Young – Looking at the Rights and Royalty Issues Behind the Story (Part 2 – The Rights of the Artists to Pull Their Music)