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Spotify Expands Access to Controversial Discovery Mode Program

DanielT

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More views but lower lower royalty rate. Maybe it makes sense for artists, musicians or maybe it doesn't? What do you think?

Here is an article about it:

Spotify Expands Access to Controversial Discovery Mode Program
Artists can now opt in through the Spotify for Artists tool, the platform announced during its Stream On event.

Spotify officially announced that it has expanded access to Discovery Mode, a contentious program that gives artists the chance to gain more algorithmic exposure on the platform — through Spotify Radio and autoplay — in exchange for a lower royalty rate. The company made the announcement during its Stream On event on Wednesday (March 8), where CEO Daniel EK unveiled what he described as “an entirely new and updated Spotify experience.”

Artists or their teams can now easily enter tracks into Discovery Mode through the Spotify for Artists tool as long as their distributors are participating in the program. “While labels can continue to access Discovery Mode through our team, I’m excited that Discovery Mode is now available directly within Spotify for Artists today,” Joe Hadley, the streamer’s global head of artist partnerships and audience, said on Wednesday. “Now, thousands of independently distributed artists and labels have access to Discovery Mode.”

Managers who are eager to get their artists’ music in front of as many people as possible have been enthusiastic about Discovery Mode — telling Billboard it’s a “brilliant tool” that can yield “incredible results,” for example. On the other end of the spectrum, music industry trade organizations and members of Congress alike have denounced the program as a new digital form of payola that will eventually lead to an overall decrease in the amount of royalties flowing from Spotify to labels and artists. Several members of Congress also questioned Spotify about whether Discovery Mode meets guidelines set forth by the Federal Trade Commission, which notes that “disclosures of paid content” should be “clear and conspicuous.”

Spotify’s announcement about Discovery Mode’s expansion should not come as a surprise to much of the music industry — for several months, it’s been quietly emailing artists to tell them they can use the program through Spotify for Artists. “We’ve been in testing mode, but the results speak for themselves,” Hadley told the Stream On audience. “On average, we’ve seen users save Discovery Mode songs 50% more often, add them to playlists 44% more, and follow the artists 37% more. And that’s just what they see in the song’s first month of Discovery Mode use.”

The streaming service first announced that it was testing Discovery Mode towards the end of 2020. In a blog post at the time, Spotify said it developed the program in response to artists “tell[ing] us they want more opportunities to connect with new listeners.” Discovery Mode provides artists and labels a chance to “identify music that’s a priority for them, and our system will add that signal to the algorithm that determines personalized listening sessions.”


...and so on. To read the entire article click here:


What do musicians think about this? Here are Justin, The Darkness, Hawkins thoughts on Discovery Mode:


Edit:
This thread might be posted here?:
If the moderator thinks the same, it's ok to move the thread there.:)
 
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henologist

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It stinks, but Spotify (and the major label music industry) make the majority of their money off of music older than eighteen months, and the methods of discoverability on the platform are already a sort of pay-to-play (PR-ing your way into curated playlists, going to third-parties to buy streams, etc.). This is just a more accessible way of paying-to-play, for the limited amount of streams going to new music, but you at least don't run the risk of putting money in and getting nothing out. Like Twitter Blue, it's another way for a company fueled by VC capital and with no clear shot at profitability to stretch its remaining funds. Programs like this don't give me much confidence in the company's future, relative to other players like Apple and Amazon.

I've found Jaime Brooks' articles on Spotify very enlightening, especially this one on its general impact on the market and this regarding Spotify's other attempts at making money peripheral to music streams (podcasts, generated interstitials between tracks). We both grew up with file sharing and the internet music scene of the late-00s/10s, so we have similar perspectives on it. Interesting to hear Justin Hawkins' take on it too, since he came up around the peak of the physical music industry, and things have changed a lot. He's right in that a bunch of people will take the deal, but I don't think it'll directly lead to any breakthrough successes. You're better off keeping the full royalty rate and paying a PR firm to use your single in a forced TikTok meme.
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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I actually don't really know what to say because I'm not an artist myself. An individual artist may have difficulty negotiating with a large streaming company. It should be between representatives of artists and streaming providers.That should be a strategy for artists anyway, to come together and unite, I guess.:)

We consumers of streaming services should really investigate which streaming providers provide the best, or good (relatively) compensation to artists and take that into consideration when choosing streaming services. More than that, I don't know what we can do.

Streaming is a relatively new phenomenon, perhaps new/other compensation models to artists will crystallize in the future?
It was as recently as 2011 that the physical CD format was overtaken by digital downloads and at the beginning of 2015, streaming came to first place. Therefore, things skyrocketed for streaming, see here:

 
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DanielT

DanielT

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That doesn't sound like a fair exchange at all... :facepalm:


JSmith
Well, that MAY be true but it is, if you listen to what Justin, "The Darkness", Hawkins say in the video, #1 in the thread, probably pros and cons. It depends on where in the career the artist is. A fairly unknown artist can consider exchanging lower compensation for more views, because it will be more rewarding in the long run. BUT Justin Hawkins concerns are that this might lead to lower remuneration levels, generally, to all artists. Maybe so, maybe not. Those were Justin Hawkins' concerns, anyway.

Edit:
But I'm just guessing. Thinking about and giving tips and advice to those in other professional categories about what to do with their career, remuneration, salary or whatever else can be imagined is not easy. In detail, I have no idea what is the best choice or strategy. But of course that doesn't stop me from thinking about things I know nothing about.:)
In general, all of us who have been in professional life for a while have general experience of this with salary negotiations. That in various forms, different types of bonuses, earning models, commission, fixed salary and so on , so in a sense it is not completely unfamiliar.

The more I think about it, this thread is in the wrong section on ASR. It is not about any General Audio Discussion but about a General Salary (remuneration model) Discussion. :)
 
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Rednaxela

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We consumers of streaming services should really investigate which streaming providers provide the best, or good (relatively) compensation to artists and take that into consideration when choosing streaming services. More than that, I don't know what we can do.
I have a Spotify family subscription. Not for the quality, not for the price, and certainly not because I enjoy the thought of artists being extorted. Also not for their discovery stuff, which I don’t (actively) use.

The reason I have it is because everybody has it. I took a family subscription because all my children’s classmates have Spotify. When you want to share a link to some music, your best bet regarding the other one's access to what you are sharing is probably YouTube closely followed by Spotify. At least that's the (my) perception. Finally, when I got my subscription there was nothing as elegant, seamless and widely supported as Spotify Connect.

Thinking out loud, I feel that any more ethical alternative will have to have all the pros mentioned above before I'll consider switching. I'm afraid this is the case for the majority of Spotify subscribers. Like perhaps WhatsApp, people have it for reasons despite all the aspects they might feel uncomfortable about when they'd be being honest.

I guess my point is that if you want change, it may be better to focus on what Spotify does right instead of their darker sides.
 

JSmith

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spotify.gif



JSmith
 

henologist

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I actually don't really know what to say because I'm not an artist myself. An individual artist may have difficulty negotiating with a large streaming company. It should be between representatives of artists and streaming providers.That should be a strategy for artists anyway, to come together and unite, I guess.:)

We consumers of streaming services should really investigate which streaming providers provide the best, or good (relatively) compensation to artists and take that into consideration when choosing streaming services. More than that, I don't know what we can do.
Outside of quitting streaming and paying artists directly for their music (via platforms like Bandcamp or Beatport), there's not much. I doubt that'll ever happen en masse, as @Rednaxela said, it's too convenient and too much of a value for the average person to pass up. The same goes for rideshares versus taxis, shopping through Amazon Prime versus other online retailers, etc. It's pointless to try to shame consumers out of taking a good deal.

The musicians I personally know hate the streaming model and would rather have people pirate their music and buy the tracks off Bandcamp or get merch if they like it. As for negotiating with the streaming services, I have friends in Los Angeles who organize with Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, and they've done some good work with getting eyes on issues like Spotify royalties and how festivals like SXSW pay artists and handle volunteers, but it's a fairly new/small union without a ton of pull. (And yeah other streaming services aren't much better in terms of payments, but Spotify is the most visible here in the States, so it makes sense to focus on them as it'll draw the most attention to the union and the issue at hand.)

I'm of the opinion that the current streaming model will not last much longer anyway, it seems like another result of the last decade of zero-interest-rate loans moving around the tech sector and startups "disrupting" industries by devaluing their product, and whatever comes out of that (revitalization of the record pool concept, more artists moving to Patreon, a more equitable streaming model, etc.) will probably be better for everyone involved. It helps that the companies doing better by musicians, like Bandcamp, actually turn a profit.
 
D

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I actually don't really know what to say because I'm not an artist myself. An individual artist may have difficulty negotiating with a large streaming company. It should be between representatives of artists and streaming providers.That should be a strategy for artists anyway, to come together and unite, I guess.:)

We consumers of streaming services should really investigate which streaming providers provide the best, or good (relatively) compensation to artists and take that into consideration when choosing streaming services. More than that, I don't know what we can do.

Streaming is a relatively new phenomenon, perhaps new/other compensation models to artists will crystallize in the future?
It was as recently as 2011 that the physical CD format was overtaken by digital downloads and at the beginning of 2015, streaming came to first place. Therefore, things skyrocketed for streaming, see here:

Fascinating. Especially that CD actually wasn't the most popular for that long really.
1678894820072.png
 

JRS

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That doesn't sound like a fair exchange at all... :facepalm:


JSmith
Seems if successful, at some point Spotify should have to release you and pay the market rate once you are drawing sufficient airplay. You know instead of naked, perpetual exploitation give them a break--indentured servitude.
 

Philbo King

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Lower royalty rates? They can't get much lower without crossing zero...
I stopped allowing my music on Spotify, and I urge other musicians to do the same. Starvation is how you kill the beast.

The thing to remember, an indirect quite from Spotify management: "We don't sell music. We sell subscriptions."
They simply don't care in any way about music.
 
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D

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offtopic: I hate these videos. they put something you can put in a graph you can understand in 4 seconds into 4 minutes
Yeah, they X-axis should just have been from 1960 - 2022. Clicks = Money.
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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Generally about , not just streaming, I found this link. So go to live music performances and support the musicians that way. Plus of course live can be damn fun and nice to go to.:)


Screen-Shot-2022-11-18-at-1.37.55-PM.png
 

henologist

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Generally about , not just streaming, I found this link. So go to live music performances and support the musicians that way. Plus of course live can be damn fun and nice to go to.:)
Yup, definitely support live music, especially your local live music scene. Unfortunately the pandemic and resulting economic changes have made it very difficult for small/mid-sized acts to have profitable tours, like Animal Collective and Santigold cancelling their tours last year. I see a lot of acts opting for limited residencies (multiple shows in one city/venue over a few days) rather than tours because the logistics are much simpler.

I try to support the local music scene here in Austin but it's been decimated by venue closures before the pandemic hit, now most of my friends in it have moved on in one way or another. Since we're the "Live Music Capital of the World", every bar needs to have some band playing, and there are so many acts here willing to play for little-to-nothing/~exposure~ that it's devalued live music horribly. You can't go to downtown Austin without overhearing mediocre bar bands playing covers for drink tickets. The few venues that'd take chances on more experimental or aggressive music (like the Red River Street punk scene) are mostly gone now. Some people I know are running a dance club downtown and paying for quality underground DJs from overseas to swing by, but I have no idea how they're keeping their heads above water. We also don't have much in the way of arts funding, so it's pretty much impossible to make a living off of being a musician in Austin.

Anyway, my point is live music is awesome and totally worth supporting, but the economics of it vary wildly depending on your location and whether the acts are local or touring. Cities like Berlin, with lots of arts funding and rent control, are about as good as it gets for maintaining music scenes and letting people survive off of their creative work, and that's why it's the center of the electronic music world these days.
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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From the bio of an artist I was listening yesterday:

View attachment 273720
Definitely an aspect when choosing a streaming provider. Research how much they compensate artists and musicians.

What speaks for Spotify is probably the UI, the ease of use. But it can be tested and compared because there is a free trial period for (all?) streaming providers. There shouldn't be such huge differences regarding the aforementioned.

We know that Spotify likes to make money (which companies do not?). Spotify were going to introduce lossless in 2021. But with Apple and Amazon music releasing their catalogs lossless without an extra increase in the fee, it more or less made it impossible for Spotify to increase the monthly fee for those who had subscribed to lossless through them. Thus, there was no lossless from Spotify. That's what many people, including me, think happened. Regarding Spotify's and their now dormant launch of their lossless that is.

With that said, in the weighing scale for a Hifi interested is that lossless can now be obtained at a lower monthly cost than Spotify. If and when you can hear differences in streaming quality we can discuss in another thread. I'm just stating what the supply looks like.


Speaking of changing suppliers. I think Apple music can now be used via Android, if I remember correctly. For those who want to try it. That said, I'm a bit skeptical about mixing different data ecosystems. I can imagine there would be problems, but I could be wrong.
 
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Liya

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Fascinating. Especially that CD actually wasn't the most popular for that long really.
View attachment 271946
I wonder where music piracy is in all of that now.

Hopefully, for those who rely on streaming services as a permanent music library, that the owners wont just switch it off as they did with the most popular camera review site, dpreview.
 
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