The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) took to the streets on Monday with a series of organized global protests held outside Spotify offices in support of the ongoing “Justice at Spotify” campaign.

Protests took place across 31 cities worldwide, with musicians and industry professionals congregating in Australia, the US, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia.

“Spotify operates internationally, so if music workers are going to demand more, we need to organize internationally, too,” UMAW organizer Zack Nestel-Patt said in a statement. “Spotify is threatening musicians’ livelihoods everywhere, and it’s way past time that we stand up together to demand more.”

The UMAW launched its Justice At Spotify campaign last October. The petition, which has since amassed almost 28,000 signatures, details a number of demands for Spotify. These include paying artists one cent per stream (the current rate is USD$0.0038 per stream), transparent contracts, a user-centric payment model, and the end to payola.

Downtown Boys, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Ted Leo, Empress Of’s Lorely Rodriguez, Moor Mother, Zola Jesus, Palehound, Deerhoof, Jay Som, Frankie Cosmos, WHY?, Sad13 and Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto are amongst the musicians that signed the petition.

“Spotify has long mistreated music workers, but the pandemic has put the exploitation into stark relief,” adds UMAW organizer Mary Regalado. “The company has tripled in value during the pandemic, while failing to increase its payment rates to artists by even a fraction of a penny. Musicians all over the world are unemployed right now while the tech giants dominating the industry take in billions. Music work is labor, and we are asking to be paid fairly for that labor.”

Following the launch of the Justice at Spotify campaign, the streaming service unveiled a new payola scheme that offered to artists and labels to prioritise certain releases and increase exposure in the playlisting algorithm in exchange for reduced royalties.

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