Got your Spotify Wrapped? Treat it like a shopping list.

If music helped you get through this year, you should help the people making it.

12/3/2021 12:30:00 AM

If music helped you get through this year, you should help the people making it.

If music helped you get through this year, you should help the people making it.

as the dominant model for music consumption, the vast majority of artists need you to actually buy things from them in order to make a living.Spotify infamously pays artists fractions of a cent per stream. The actual amount of money that makes it back to the artists varies, depending on how much of a cut labels and distributors take. But most sources agree that

Spotify pays between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream, and that’s before the money is divvied up according to whatever terms are set out in distribution contracts.Money isn't taken directly out of your Premium monthly fee (or revenue paid from ads you listen to, if you're on the Free tier) and paid to the artists you personally listen to. Instead it all goes into one big pot, which is then divided between artists (and labels) according to how many of their songs helped make up Spotify's billions of streams each month.

Safe to say that Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X are securing the bag in other ways, on top of having some of the most popular songs in the world. But for smaller artists — even acts with hundreds of thousands of listeners — it’s brutal out here.Tweet may have been deleted

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Peter Hollo is a Sydney musician and radio host who plays in post-rock/electronic/jazz four-piece Tangents. The group put out a double album this year through a U.S. based label."We managed 170.7K streams and 71.9K listeners," he told Mashable via email."Sounds impressive, but this has resulted in at best triple figures in our pockets."

Artists are beginning to fight back, with a new union protesting at Spotify's offices earlier this year andcampaigning consistently since for a fairer model, including a pay out of one cent per stream. Some people have made a point of ditching Spotify in protest at this imbalance of power — either in favour of other platforms that pay out (fractionally) more, or to return to buying music solely the old-fashioned way, in album and single form.

But it’s still a useful, and fairly comprehensive, platform for both music discovery and access. There’s no shame, really, in continuing to fork out your hard-earned cash for that pleasure and privilege, any more than there is in holding onto your Instagram or Amazon account because it’s convenient for looking at photos of your nieces or getting things delivered in a hurry. (Yes, your ethical mileage may vary, but it’s your call.)

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What you can also do, however, is make a point of supporting the artists who make the music that you love.SEE ALSO:What's an Audio Aura? We asked an aura expert about Spotify Wrapped's new featureMaking music is expensive. Even at the most grassroots level, artists need to pay for gear (whether it’s a single laptop or multiple pricey instruments), insurance, paying their managers and crew, accommodation and travel for touring, studio time, paying for mixing and/or mastering, and the costs associated with putting music out physically — not to mention the countless hours of training, rehearsal, and actually writing and composing leading up to recording a single song.

All of that has to happen, over and over again, in order for you to throw on something to dance or run or cook or sob to. And working musicians have had the roughest couple of years in living memory, with COVID-19 essentially shutting down live music for all but the most irresponsible acts and venues.

So this year, treat your Spotify Wrapped like a shopping list."It takes a ridiculously low number of digital sales to eclipse all streaming royalties."- Peter Hollo, musicianLook at your top artists, and go and buy something from them — whatever you can afford. Buy a digital or physical album from their official website or your local record store. Buy a ticket to their live shows, not just festivals, if you’re vaccinated and feel comfortable doing so — they’ve missed seeing your faces! And pick up a shirt or other gear from the merch table while you’re there, if you can afford it. Shows are usually the best place to buy merch, because generally more of what you pay will make it to the artist’s pocket with fewer middlemen and overhead costs like postage and ecommerce, but online works too.

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Read more: Mashable »

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