We’ve already heard from a chorus of high-profile musicians talking down the benefits of ever-popular music streaming service Spotify, with David Byrne calling the streaming model broken while the likes of Grizzly Bear, Thom Yorke and Amanda Palmer have all criticised the Swedish music company’s comparatively low royalty payouts.
Now an independent musician has taken the lesser-heard opposing view, championing how Spotify has greatly contributed to his career, while revealing it has gifted him hundreds of thousands in royalties in the process.
New York-based singer-songwriter Ron Pope, who is currently in the middle of a five-date Australian Tour, tells Huffington Post (via Digital Music News) about “seeing [the] tangible effects from Spotify every day in [his] career” since he first broke onto the music scene in 2005 with his viral hit ‘A Drop In The Ocean’.
“In the past, I’ve heard many people complain that no one wants to talk numbers when it comes to streaming revenue; well, here are mine,” writes Pope. “My music was added to Spotify in September of 2010; through the most recent report, which runs through November 2013, I’ve had over 57 million plays and they’ve paid me out $334,636 with over $200,000 of that coming in 2013,” he reveals.
The 30-year-old also adds that he’s getting “over a million streams” in Spotify’s native Sweden “most months,” and as a result, “I was offered a very respectable guarantee to play at the Bråvalla festival there last summer.” Pope further emphasises how streaming is directly responsible for his growth in popularity across Europe, enabling him to successfully tour in locations that would be previously be considered commercially risky territories:
“I can now sell hundreds of tickets in cities I’d never heard of just a few years ago. Last year, in countries where Spotify is popular, such as Norway and Sweden, I made eight times more per capital than I did in the United States. My three top countries in earnings for 2013 were the US, where there are about 317 million people, Sweden, where there are about 10 million people, and then Norway, where there are about five million people. Almost no one in Sweden and Norway are buying music; more than 97% of the revenue I’m generating in those countries comes from streaming.”
He also rebuts the argument that streaming prioritises singles over album, and that on Spotify, “fans are consuming my entire catalog rather than one specific single.” Adding: “That’s why my Swedish fans are able to sing along to songs that are eight years old the same way they sing along to songs that are eight months old,” he notes, sharing footage of a mass sing-along from Bråvalla festival to bolster his point.
Stressing that “I’m not being paid [by Spotify] for sharing my opinion,” Pope also likens critics of Spotify and similar streaming models to “an angry lynch mob waving pitchforks and torches” and likening them to the outdated concerns of those “who threw up their hands eight years ago bemoaning the death of the CD.”
“If there’s anyone who should be afraid of streaming, it’s me. Instead, I’m watching my fanbase grow exponentially as my fans utilize social networking and streaming sites like Spotify to create an honest to goodness grassroots movement,” Pope concludes.
“I don’t know that Spotify will be the savior of the music industry and bring back the boom time 90s bonanza that this business once enjoyed, but it has certainly worked wonders for my career.”
Ron Pope wraps up his Australian Tour this Thursday 13th June 13 at an all ages gig at the Astor Lounge in Perth. Tickets from ShowTicketing.com.au