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If I worked for Spotify...

If I worked for Spotify...

I'd introduce an indie artist verification scheme with features like:

  • Higher revenue share for releases ≤ 500k streams

  • Bandcamp link up to buy physical & integrate artist to fan messaging

  • 30% of featured content to include indie bands

Without independent artists (not affiliated with the 'Big 3' labels) there is no pipeline of future music. Spotify has an opportunity to take a bottom up approach to democratizing the listening experience without damaging its existing major label relationships.

Annoyingly, on the fringes of the mainstream (and probably within it to be honest) things like pay for playlist promotion are still rife despite being against Spotify's own Ts & Cs. What if Spotify put more time and effort into supporting indies so they didn't feel they needed to panda to these scams? I bet they could even get a share of some of that wasted money themselves if they could regain some of the faith of the indie music community and introduce some useful premium features for artists.

It needs a free scheme in place for everyone, but there's no reason Spotify can't also earn out of it. Spotify is no stranger to the freemium model, they know that a small percentage of people paying for a service can easily offset the relatively minimal cost of giving away a reduced free service.

And much like Facebook when it was good I'm sure many indies would pay a bit for targeted ads to potential fans if the rates were reasonable and they could help them reach the right people. Surely a boosted album to a music fan is much better than a boosted post to a click farm!

But lets not beat around the bush here. Spotify doesn't pretend to care about artists, or even music. Daniel Ek refers to an "audio first strategy" when he speaks about the service - not music. Note below the focus on "capturing the share of time listeners spend elsewhere" in the quote below from an earnings call in 2020, this implies it doesn't matter WHAT listeners do, they just want them to do it on Spotify.

However, in my mind this doesn't mean Spotify shouldn't look to expand music services beyond the current strategy of sheep dipping the audience into one major-label bubblegum release after another. There's money on the table here for them if they choose to take it, and that should be interesting to them.

I respect that its not all about the money for most indie artists. But really what I am proposing is about their music reaching more people who will actually enjoy it. The trick - rightly or wrongly - is to make it make commercial sense for the distributor so that they choose to back it.

Obviously the model needs fleshing out, but if they gave me the job I'm sure I could help them figure out the details!

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