Don't want to depress anyone but... the percentage of artists making 1/4 of minimum wage on spotify is shockingly low

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There are so many things to say, for example :

  • Of the 52,600 artists who generated more than $10,000 on Spotify in 2021, 34% live in countries outside the IFPI’s top ten music markets (Australia, Canada, China, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S.).

So fun that it’s not framed “66% of the 52,600 artists live in countries from the top ten music markets (Australia, Canada, China, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S.).” and also that it’s not described as a ratio based on population alone.

So I did it and it gives us :

The top 10 music markets (Australia, Canada, China, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S.) despite only representing 28,5% of global population, account for 66% of the 52,600 artists who generated more than $10,000 on Spotify in 2021

Kind of a different headline isn’t it. It’s also a headline that implies that for most of the 66% 10k isn’t enough to live because the top 10 countries are by definition much more expensive to live in and in most cases this is bellow the poverty line.

But one of my favorite is this one

"Spotify adds: “Based on our analysis of RIAA data, the music industry in the CD era favored superstars twice as much as it is today. At the peak of the CD era, 25% of US sales were accounted for by the top 50 artists. In 2021, only 12% of US streams on Spotify are of the top 50 artists — meaning that revenue opportunities now reach far beyond the biggest stars.”

Where Spotify basically takes credit for the invention of the internet and the ease of access to a much more varied catalogue (which changes nothing in the end because the “not top 50 artists” that represent the “secondary star market” .ie not superstars but famous nonetheless are also mainly major owned, it just extends the variety of things majors can sell, who they can sell them to and how) which made news outlet / media and other institutions holding authority over arts a little less powerful in directing crowds to a handful of artists. A little less, they still hold much power.

It also doesn’t seem to account for the fact that back catalogue is all powerful now. I’m guessing the “top 50 artists” of 1970, 1980 and 1990 are probably not today’s “top 50 artists” yet they probably are exactly the type of music that’s just below the current “top 50” which is kind of… destroying the entire premise that “revenue opportunities now reach far beyond the biggest stars.

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So much to unpack. If I had time, I would love to do an “honest reviews” analysis of this data with you.

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Yes absolutely, frankly here I’m like, pointing out details, but the ENTIRE premise of equating the revenu from the entire music industry on listen counts just makes my head spin because of how bad of a concept it is to begin with.

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