Spotify has recently come under fire from more labels and artists for its compensation methodology. Artists such as James Blunt and Joanna Newsom have come out swinging in comments criticizing the streaming service.
The biggest recording artist to date to take Spotify to task was, of course, Taylor Swift, who, last year, famously criticized the streamer and not only refused to release tunes from her most recent album, 1989, on Spotify, but also removed her entire back catalog from being accessed by Spotify's 75 million subscribers.
Recently, composer, singer and harp player Joanna Newsom joined a growing number of artists lashing out at Spotify and, in an interview, called it a "cynical and musician-hating system."
"Spotify is like a villainous cabal of major labels" argued Newsom." The business is built from the ground up as a way to circumvent the idea of paying their artists ... It just gives off a fume. You can just smell that something's wrong with it."
Recording artist James Blunt recently added to the chorus of Spotify detractors when he released a sarcastic tweet, which stated: "I get paid £00.0004499368 per stream. Beers are on me! Cheers @Spotify."
It's not only artists, but also labels, that are having issues with the payment procedures of the service. Victory Records' catalog of music was pulled from Spotify recently, and the label blamed the removal on "Spotify not properly paying publishing revenues due to Victory Records' artists in blatant violation of U.S. Copyright laws. Spotify also pulled down a very large number of albums that Victory is not the publisher for proving that their internal systems are inadequate."
Spotify consistently argues that the company pays over 70 percent of its revenue in royalties. That money, however, doesn't generally go straight into artists' pockets but instead to labels. The major labels are also all stakeholders in the company, which is where much of the mistrust and accusations stem from.
Spotify has also refused to allow artists to restrict streams of their music to only the paid tier of the service, which consists of about 20 million subscribers, insisting all music played on Spotify be made available to free subscribers as well. The company has recently projected that it will approach 100 million subscribers by year's end.