Spotify Wrapped went live today, giving users a detailed roundup of the music they listened to in the past year, which makes us all ask, “Is that seriously my most listened-to song?” This year’s Wrapped featured messages from your favorite artists, such as Taylor Swift, SZA, and even Weird Al, who had some choice words for Spotify’s pay structure.
“It’s my understanding that I had over 80 million streams on Spotify this year, so if I’m doing the math right that means I earned $12. So, you know, enough to get myself a nice sandwich at a restaurant,” said Weird Al in his message on Spotify.
Weird Al, known for his parodies like “White & Nerdy,” “Polka Face,” and “Eat It,” is calling out Spotify for its royalties payments to artists. Spotify pays its biggest artists $0.003 per stream, and yes, that is the correct number of zeros. Not 3 cents, a third of one penny per stream. By that metric, Weird Al would have earned a little more than $12, more like $350,000 but his point stands.
Most artists don’t make anything close to Weird Al. Spotify has roughly three million artists with more than 10 songs on the platform, according to 2022 data, but just 16,000 of them make more than $50,000 from Spotify. That means less than 1% of artists can make a reasonable living from Spotify alone.
The video from Weird Al also calls into question whether anyone was really vetting Spotify Wrapped’s artist messages. Only a select number of artists delivered messages to their biggest fans, but it seems that Weird Al’s message slipped through the cracks.
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