Spotify, and How we Interact with Music Today

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The music industry has been evolving in the past few years. We all remember a time when we used to carry our little SanDisk mp3 player or iPod. The way that we all enjoy listening to our favorite music has always been changing to be most accessible. Now we carry around our phones and most of us use a preferred streaming service such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, or Spotify. In this article, I will dive into how the music industry has changed in today’s digital world.

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To get deeper into how I impact the music industry I used a website called This website allows me to see the songs, artists, and genres I listen to most. One of my most listened to song and one of my favorites is “Love Tonight” by Shouse. It is an electronic dance song and would fall under the genre of House. Shouse’s record label is Hell Beach which is owned by OneLove Music Group based out of Australia. On average, every time I listen to this song the record label makes a percentage of around $0.003 to $0.005 per listen. There are also other factors that influence the payout. Spotify has also been in the news and under fire recently for not paying artists on their platform enough money.

Image courtesy of Frank Schwichtenberg

Another favorite of mine is “Stargazing” by Travis Scott. Scott founded his own record label called Cactus Jack Records out of Houston, Texas. Just like I mentioned since I use Spotify and have the premium version to avoid listening to interruptive advertisements, it costs me $16.95 a month to stream my music. There are many ways in which money is passed from the customer to the artist and the fraction that does go changes based on a number of factors. For one, Spotify’s royalty rate also changes based on how many premium users like myself are streaming their music.

Per (, royalties are paid out and split between songwriters, publishers, producers, session musicians, the record label, and many other people involved in the creation and production of the song. If I had to assume how much money I would be paying per song I listen to it might be around $0.004 proportionally to how many different songs I listen to in a month. As I am constantly diving into different genres and playlists the math would say I would have to listen to around 4200 songs a month. This is reasonable for me based on my listening behavior. I consistently have others at my home listening to music almost every day which would make sense.

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Another recent favorite of mine is from the legendary Adele. A song of hers that has been in my music rotation is called “Oh My God.” Columbia Records is her current record label. Again just like the other songs I mentioned each song play costs me around a fourth of a cent. Where Adele is also making around the same amount of money I assume my cost of listening is per play. In the article “How We Pay Royalties,” from BMI it is mentioned that the revenue from royalties is generally split in half between the writers and the publishers of the songs.

Overall, the current age of digital media has forever changed the music industry and it continues to evolve. People used to have to purchase entire albums via Vinyl to listen to on a record player. The industry has seemed to constantly evolve towards making music more available and accessible to everyone. More recently this trend is having access in any location. Music has become more globalized as I can stream music from any artist in the world either on Spotify or elsewhere. Of course, the financial side is made more complex nowadays with cuts going to streaming platforms and arguably more people than in the past. I can say that we should appreciate the fact that music has become so mobilized today. When I was younger, I would have to download songs illegally to avoid paying $1.29 per song on iTunes just to import to an mp3 player. Now with a monthly subscription, I can play whatever music I want from whatever genre I want with a simple text input.




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