Spotify attracts hundreds of comedians who say they’re stiff on royalties
When it comes to famous jokers like John Mulaney, Tiffany Haddish, and Kevin Hart, Spotify isn’t laughing.
The world’s largest audio streaming service has pulled hundreds of comedians from its library in recent weeks, after they demanded payment for writing materials like songwriters do. This is just the latest development in a fight over how Spotify pays creators.
This joke is no longer money
“Streaming services like Spotify have been criticized for paying paltry amounts for plays on their platforms, which are often reduced to fractions of pennies and split between performers, songwriters and record labels. But, unlike music recordings, comedy albums on Spotify are not. Comedians are not considered to be works written as a song, so comedians only receive performance credit and do not receive anything for writing their material. as do musical artists.
When a Bruce Springsteen song is played it gets performance and writing royalty. When a Patron Oswalt track is played, it is only paid for the performance. Spotify has signed deals with comic labels which it said meant it was OK, but global rights agency Spoken Giants, which represents many comics that have been cut, wants the deal to change, which would force Spotify to shell out more money. But if the songwriters’ experience says anything, it’s that getting Spotify to raise royalties is a difficult task:
- Songwriters have fought streaming services against payments that the National Music Publishers Association says are only worth a fifth of what record labels and artists are paid – but an NMPA proposal to increase the rate at 40% of what labels are paid was rejected.
- NMPA also offered streamers – including Spotify, Apple and Amazon – to pay publishers and songwriters the greater of the four sums: 20% of revenue; 40% of what is paid to record companies; $ 1.50 per subscriber; or $ 0.0015 per stream, but streamers fought against that as well.
The hitting line: Spotify – which insists it is not focused on profitability – predicts it will have over 400 million users by the end of the year and already has 165 million premium paid subscribers . It is a huge audience to sacrifice for the actors concerned.