Portishead’s Geoff Barrow stirred the Spotify pot when he posed a question to musicians on Twitter last night: “How many of you have personally made more than £500 from Spotify?”
His tweet spurred tons of responses from artists coming from different corners concerning the topic. Many were naysayers who claimed that Spotify doesn’t generate any income for music makers, but someone who did have a favorable experience with the streaming service was Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo. He replied to the tweet, writing:
Since 2013 I’ve made almost $30k from spotify streams of non-matador albums. I use Distrokid. Income from those streams (again, not even counting my two most recent albums) would be enough to support me month to month. Not trying to brag, I just want some transparency. I see a lot of voices of authority disparaging streaming services as a source of income, and as someone who actually came up using them, it always seemed much better than relying on album sales.
Granted, Toledo built his fanbase in the complete opposite way that Barrow built his, having started out on Spotify as an independent artist. He further explained to Barrow: “My take is that a lot of streams come from people who aren’t necessarily interested in paying for music on an individual level. The idea is to get them interested enough that they do buy the album, but streams can make a difference in dealing with less committed listeners.”
To no one’s surprise, Thom Yorke chimed in to denounce Spotify, although he recently made his solo catalog streamable on the service. Regardless, he did famously liken Spotify to the “last desperate fart of a dying corpse,” and those are pretty strong words to take back. Yorke quote-tweeted Barrow’s question, adding, “I refer you, ladies and gentlemen, to the comments below … without further comment.”
The debate on the benefits of Spotify continues, but from the responses Barrow received, there’s a certain divide on whether it’s a friend or foe to the music industry.