Spotify Chief Content Officer Ken Parks sat down for an extended discussion with leading industry thought leader Jason Herskowitz of Mediaorite about the controversial topic of artist royalty payments.
Spotify has been keen to be as transparent and as upfront as possible on this topic which has brought it a lot of tough and unfriendly headlines. The issue in a nutshell is that several high profile artists and many other smaller names, have complained at the dollar amounts they receive from digital music subscription services and Spotify is the poster child for that debate. Radiohead front man Thom Yorke famously and colorfully described Spotify as “the last fart of a dying corpse” as he railed against what he sees as miniscule payments via the service.
The goal for Spotify For Artists is to provide clarity on what it pays out to rights holders i.e. the labels and publishers where these artists reside.
In this interview Parks describes it as a “necessary step to take” and says it’s up to artists to take the information provided and ensure they are getting fair compensation in their relationships with labels and publishers. Despite seeming to pass the buck somewhat Parks insists that transparency benefits everyone and is not an antagonistic move.
Even while defending his business as being a major supporter for the future of the music business Parks can’t resist a backhanded swipe at larger platforms –- presumably YouTube.
“The problem is not consumption, there’s a ton of consumption, the problem is those channels of consumption and the amount that they pay and clearly we’ve created something that compensates vastly better than other services be they traditional radio or video streaming services, that’s for sure.”