With the release of my new album, Love Hate City, I opted into digital distribution via Indie Pool , which automatically gets my music onto iTunes, Spotify, and a number of other digital platforms. I have been hearing a lot of negative things regarding the royalty amounts to an artist on Spotify (sometimes between $0.001 - $0.01 per song) but this is the place where people seem to be discovering music so can it be all that bad? If someone plays my song once and never returns to it, how much is that really worth? Less than a few cents...likely. Spotify users don't want to own my song, they just access to it. If they like it, the will listen to it again. Perfect. Spotify doesn't just give people the opportunity to hear it, they can save it, share it, add it to a playlist, embed it, making it much easier for my song(s) to get around. I don't expect to get rich on it but no one ever did even when they sold CD's only. That is only one part of the revenue stream. I also don't subscribe to the "give you music away and sell T-Shirts at the show." I am a non-touring musician so I still need to make some money of the music I create and release, but that is my job to figure out, not Spotify's.
I am old school late 80s, early 90s and started selling Cassettes, then CD's and then came iTunes. Never really sold much of either but I do know that most of the sales were in and around Hamilton. When I look through my sales portal (listing what songs were played, where they were played from and how much money I made from it) more people are hearing my music than when I just sold Cassettes / CD's. People are finding my stuff all over the world. A few of them come to my website, watch my videos (which are monetized) and they buy my music charts, guitar picks and, hopefully, sign up on my mailing list. Customers, you might say.
In a way, I look at being on Spotify as advertising but instead of spending the money to advertise, I make a little bit each time someone sees my "ad". An odd way to look at it but I don't care, people are listening. I made the music for people to hear. The more people that hear it, the more money I can make so it is my job to make sure people hear it. I'm not a lazy artist at all and am constantly "out there". Many artists point to the "way it used to be" but that doesn't exist anymore. There is only "the way it is" and you have to either figure out how to get in on that, or not. I enjoy new ideas and technology so I decide to study / embrace it. Pretty amazing that I can upload a video or a song today and minutes later, someone from Germany can check it out.
If we take this out of the music world for a second, ask any small business owner how much they really make per-hour and you will realize many of us are in the same boat. We work long hours, make little profit, we make less than what we would make if we just "took that day job", but it's just something you have to do. Back to music, if you want to make money at this, you have to put in the work and while it takes relatively little effort to get your music onto Spotify, YOU now have to make sure people know it is there AND let them know why they should listen to it. Your job, not Spotify's.
I've only been on Spotify for a few weeks since writing this blog and I love it. Great for discovery, great to see where people are listening from and I never have to leave my desk to do that. Same applies to someone who is discovering my music for the first time. I used to spend a lot of money and many DAYS walking up and down Main St., King St, Cannon St, Ottawa St, Kenilworth St..stapling posters to the poles only to have the ripped down or postered over minutes later. Now, my message stays up for as long as I want it to and goes FAR beyond the city streets I used to wander. I can create digital posters (images, videos, sponsored ads) to point people to my music, wherever it lives.
Spotify also lead me to look up some local artists, and I didn't see a playlist that really covered it so I made one, and brought the Facebook community into the hunt! HAMILTON ONTARIO CANADA is a list of as many "Hammer" artists as I could find, and as many as people could recommend. The only rule is that no artist is repeated (the same artists in multiple bands is okay) As I write this there are 125 songs and almost 8 hours of music! That is 125 artists, each with likely 1-3 releases. I may have never known some of these, let alone gone out to buy 125+ albums, but now I can just press play and enjoy them while I work. All they had to do was be on Spotify. Pretty cool.
That's my 2 cents (hopefully going to a local artists or two).
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HAMILTON ONTARIO CANADA