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Former Spotify executive calls musicians “entitled” for wanting better streaming royalties

"The problem was to get artists’ music out there. The problem was not to pay people money," said Jim Anderson

  • Paddy Edrich
  • 6 July 2021
Former Spotify executive calls musicians “entitled” for wanting better streaming royalties

A former executive at streaming platform Spotify has called musicians “entitled” for requesting better streaming royalties.

Jim Anderson made the comments when speaking at the SyncSummit music industry conference in New York in 2019, and an upload of the conversation was recently shared by Digital Music News.

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The ‘solutions architect’ was pushed on the issues of artist payment by musician Ashley Jana, who only recently released her recordings of the conversation.

Jana, a piano-playing singer-songwriter, asked why Spotify wasn’t paying more after Apple Music had upped its per-stream royalty payout to one penny per stream.

Notable artists including Taylor Swift have called out the streaming platform over their poor rates, which at last count were hovering between $.003 and $.005.

Answering Jana’s question surrounding why the payments were so low, Anderson said Spotify had no obligation to solve the issue of artist compensation and that artists were “entitled” for saying so.

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He said: “So we should talk about entitlement. I mean, I have an issue with Taylor Swift’s comments. I have this issue with it, and we’ll call it entitlement.

“I mean, I consider myself an artist because I’m an inventor, okay? Now, I freely give away my patents for nothing. I never collect royalties on anything.

“I think Taylor Swift doesn’t need .00001 more a stream. The problem is this: Spotify was created to solve a problem.

“The problem was this: piracy and music distribution. The problem was to get artists’ music out there. The problem was not to pay people money.

“The problem...was to distribute music. Not to give you money, okay? The problem was to distribute music,” Anderson finished.

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Spotify founder Daniel Ek also drew criticism in the wake of the pandemic when he said artists who were not making money were not “putting the work in” or “keeping a continuous dialogue with [their] fans”.

Listen to the conversation below.

Paddy Edrich is a freelance writer, follow him on Twitter

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