Stories » Spotify's plan to go public, could generate $23 billion but doesn't address artist grumbling / RollingStone

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Spotify's plan to go public, could generate $23 billion but doesn't address artist grumbling / RollingStone

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Spotify's plan to go public filed last week, could generate $23 billion and make the world's biggest record labels hundreds of millions of dollars richer - but the Swedish streaming giant has yet to soothe grumbling and litigious artists and songwriters who say its royalty payments are unfairly low. "They rigged it so they don't pay the artist," David Crosby tells Rolling Stone. "I've lost half of my income because of these clever fellas. I used to make money off my records, but now I don't make any."

Spotify's response to these types of criticisms has been the same for years: The service has paid more than $10 billion in royalties to artists, labels and publishers, according to its modified initial public offering, and the company has helped save the record business from online piracy. As with most streaming services, Spotify's royalty system pays big money to the biggest pop stars, leaving scraps for older and more cultish artists. The company pays roughly $7 for every 1,000 streams, which means Ed Sheeran, who led all artists with 6.3 billion Spotify streams, pocketed more than $44 million last year; meanwhile, jazz trio The Bad Plus makes fewer than $100 every three months in streaming and pointedly withheld its latest album from the service. Songs from Crosby's 2016 album Lighthouse streamed 2.2 million times on Spotify, but the veteran rock star says, "It was a good record. I haven't made a nickel." "We have yet to be able to navigate the world of streaming," adds David King of The Bad Plus. "It's laughable. We get pennies from streaming on every royalty check."

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