The Sussexes’ Spotify deal is being ‘criticized’ by British artists for… reasons

Royal visit to Reprezent FM

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Spotify deal came on the heels of their Netflix deal last year. It felt like the clenched b-holes in the British press made a bigger deal out of the Netflix deal, probably because the Netflix contract was major and very rich. No one really knows how much Spotify is paying Harry and Meghan, but some outlets have put it in the $35-75 million range. I would suspect it’s on the lower end. Earlier this year, we even learned that British members of Parliament had literally no idea how subscription-based business models work, and that Spotify might hire some big-name celebrities to do podcasts simply because those names will drive even more people to subscribe to Spotify. Please allow the NY Post to expand on that completely willful misinterpretation of Spotify’s business model.

Musicians across the pond are fuming over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s megabucks $25 million deal to produce feel-good, woke podcasts for Spotify. Famed musicians including Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Kate Bush, Robert Plant and Stevie Nicks called on the UK government this week to reform the way musicians are paid when their songs are streamed online – with many being paid less than a penny per stream.

Many were especially irked when Spotify boss Horacio Gutierrez told Parliament the Sussexes virtue signaling podcast deal created a “virtuous cycle” that help struggling musicians by getting more people on the site. But struggling musicians beg to differ.

“I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 years-old,” singer-songwriter Callum Gardner told the Star. “I don’t get paid from Spotify, it’s never broken even from the money I used to put songs on Spotify. It’s hard, I don’t know what we are supposed to do because they have all the power and somehow all of the artists have all agreed.”

Another young musician, Harrison Rhys said the Spotify deal with he Prince and his woke wife was an “unethical kick in the teeth.” Rhys, who headlines gigs and has had his music play on the BBC, told the paper: “I believe what Spotify have done is unethical, we are only being paid £0.0038 per stream but they are able to pay out what is probably a multi-million dollar fee to Harry and Meghan. In reality who wouldn’t want to accept that sort of money to have their podcast broadcast and it is likely to be a positive thing for their listeners as The Sussexes definitely are doing a lot of good with their projects around the world,” Rhys continued. “But this last year has been the most difficult one for musicians where many have had the majority of their income lost so I feel this is a kick in the teeth.”

Naomi Pohl, Musicians’ Union Deputy General Secretary told the paper: “Most streaming revenue benefits large corporations like the major labels at the expense of artists making a decent living. The time has come for change and we are hopeful the UK Government are listening and that we fix streaming and get a better deal for all music makers.”

[From The NY Post]

There are two separate issues here and, again, they’re being willfully conflated and misinterpreted by conservative media in the US and UK. Artists are mad (and they have every right to be) at Spotify because they’re not getting paid, and that’s a real issue and it’s something that’s been happening for years. Remember when Taylor Swift used her name and her power within the industry to hold Spotify to account and get them to pay artists more? That was happening years before the Sussexes’ Spotify deal. Then, separately, Spotify pays big money to the Sussexes or the Obamas or whomever as a way to drive subscriptions. Yet only Harry & Meghan get name-checked as the “reason” why artists aren’t being paid properly.

Britain's Prince Harry (L) and his fiancee US actress Meghan Markle (R) visit Nechells Wellbeing Centre to join Coach Core apprentices taking part in a training masterclass in Birmingham, central England on March 8, 2018.  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Birmingham to learn more about the work of two projects which support young people from the local community. The Coach Core apprenticeship scheme was designed by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to train young people aged 16 - 24 with limited opportunities to become sports coaches and mentors within their communities.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

50 Responses to “The Sussexes’ Spotify deal is being ‘criticized’ by British artists for… reasons”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. UnionSnack says:

    Funny how they are criticized but when Andrew is making business w/strange guys – it’s ok.

    • Cessily says:

      Funny how Andrew can start a business for profit while living under the Royal protection and support?
      Would you want to be associated with the BRF after the last few years? The crown is tarnished and it has absolutely nothing to do with H&M..

  2. Noki says:

    Is that streaming amount real ? I remember watching a TLC(the girl group) documentary many years ago and the way Left Eye broke down the money and how much they end up with is sad. And TLC were a huge global group so i cant imagine the less famous musicians,the way the money is divided should be criminal.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yes, the famous “this is how you can sell a million albums and be broke” segment. And that was about albums, way before streaming.

      We have Apple music and its insane to me how I can find almost any song I have ever wanted to hear and its available to me for an insanely low monthly rate. That’s only bc the artists aren’t getting paid.

    • Snuffles says:

      The real money is in songwriting and producing, touring, merchandise and side gigs like being spokesperson for a product or creating your own product line.

      Why do you think Cardi B has her hands in EVERYTHING?

    • Cessily says:

      The music industry has had major documented issues for a long time, I don’t wish to say it is not important but explain to me what that has to do with H&M they are not in the music industry and not really competition.. if I sign up for H&M podcasts it isn’t to hear music (I still like the free songs on the radio🤷🏼‍♀️)The Sussex’s can’t be held accountable for the sins of everything and everyone.

  3. Amelia says:

    Now that the BM 🐀 have no links to Meghan and Harry and have basically been cut off they’re literally just clutching at straws. Not a single one of those papers were given any piece of information about the concert and so this is their response.

    P.s. what happened about the Daily Fail’s apology?

  4. Becks1 says:

    Yeah I can see how Spotify is underpaying artists and how its business model is a problem for artists, but that’s not H&M’s fault. It seems they’re just using the issues with Spotify as another way to bash H&M.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      If Spotify paid H&M NOTH$NG the artists would not get more $$$.

      • Becks1 says:

        Bingo. There is certainly a lot to debate/discuss about Spotify’s business practices, and we can argue that they wouldn’t HAVE so much money to give for exclusive podcast deals (bc its def not just H&M) if they weren’t screwing artists so badly – but its not like Spotify said to artists “well we were going to give you X money but now we’re paying the Sussexes so too bad so sad, no money for you!”

    • Shahad says:

      Also no one is complaining about Joe Rogan’s $100 million Spotify podcast deal , I wonder why ? I guess because he is a white man married to a white woman .

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      Becks1, but is any of the streaming services paying musicians a decent amount? I have a feeling that this might be an industry wide issue. So, the musicians should band together and stop signing contracts that include streaming rights (if they have), and start negotiating AS A GROUP for more money. That means all of the streaming aps would have to up their subscription rates, but people would get used to that. Just a thought.

    • Allycat says:

      In fairness, I don’t think the artist are really bashing H&M. I think they are just saying if Spotify can afford to pay H&M this much why can’t they pay us more and it needs to be changed. They aren’t wrong in that aspect either. It’s also not like the artist have been working on this for a long time too. I can see how it is upsetting the amount of money Spotify is willing to pay but not for artist. Plus, Spotify actually brought this on them by stating H&M will be bringing more subscribers to Spotify thus helping the artist. Which is BS if I ever heard it. Yeah another ,00038 cents. It seems like Spotify might be using this just egg on more publicity while still ripping off artists. It’s sad, but not really H&M’s fault.

  5. Bex says:

    Isn’t this down to the artists’ record label and the recording contract the artist signed?

    • equality says:

      That’s how it sounds to me. And, if it’s just spotify, why not boycott and use other platforms? If the other platforms do the same, where is the anger with them? Don’t these musicians have agents to look out for their interests?

      • Allycat says:

        It’s all of them and the artist have been complaining for years. Take Taylor Swift’s boycott years ago, and Sir Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Kate Bush and other UK artist are trying to get the UK government to legislate it just recently. The streaming services have been claiming they can’t afford to pay the artist more, but then they go and pay H&M and many others millions. I see why they are pissed, but the tabs just go for it’s against the Sussexes cause they can.

  6. Nomegusta says:

    Lol, streams and podcasts are two separate entities.

    The NY Post, Page Six, an BM can go directly to hell, lol

  7. Kersplasha says:

    How do they always use woke as an insult?

  8. Sofia says:

    This is Spotify’s fault and not the Sussexes. Harry and Meghan did not tell Spotify to underpay their artists. Spotify should give more money to artists and I completely understand why artists are upset but they (or more so the media) are taking it out on the wrong people

  9. Aaliyah says:

    Spotify Music and Spotify Podcasts are very different entities. Horacio Gutierrez explained that artists and podcasters are paid in different manners. I don’t understand why they’re lashing out at Harry and Meghan, when there are other big names like the Obamas and that Rogan dude too. They’re still pressed the Sussexes signed a good deal.

  10. L4Frimaire says:

    The Sussexes don’t live in the UK and Spotify‘s issue with artists has nothing to do with their podcast deal. It’s as if they are hoping to bait the Sussexes into this issue that they frankly don’t need to respond to, no more than any other Spotify podcaster needs to.The NY Post really is a racist, right wing rag. They were just called out by the Washington Post for writing blatantly false story on VP Harris( saying her book was provided to migrant children in shelters when it wasn’t, implying she was profiting from it). The writer of the article just resigned, saying she was forced to write a false story. That is the NY Post. Can’t let facts and truth get in the way of a libelous story. I don’t understand the UKs ongoing obsession with the Sussexes making their own money. They told them to stop taking taxpayers money and make their own, so they need to shut up.

  11. Miranda says:

    “I DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE YELLING ABOUT.” – All these artists.

  12. mlouise says:

    Is it me or no one talks about W&K anniversary- not even the Uncle Gary? I am not big on anniversary celebrations but our tenth is coming up and it is getting us to reflect and be excited and even yes a bit proud and surprised. It is easy PR no? it’s weird this silence around it..

  13. Kaybee says:

    I hate hate how the word “woke” is used on mainstream media. I dont understand how they can weaponise a person’s awareness of the world around them and how it reacts to people that are different.

    • Miranda says:

      This bothers me, too. I think it’s a pretty sad indictment of our culture that open-mindedness and compassion are seen by many as concepts to be scoffed at.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I think in the context of the British tabloids “woke” is a dog whistle and used in writing as an acceptable racial slur for publication.

    • Merricat says:

      Right-wing media, not mainstream.

  14. mlouise says:

    tomorrow but usually this would be a month or two of good PR- the day before, still on with their obsessions attacking MM indirectly… even Tom W is not mentioning the anniversary- I mean how can people not change their focus for such a milestone for most couples in ‘real life’, its nothing to them?

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Tom W = ?????

    • Wehweh says:

      Maybe the state of their marriage is not that great. Next year Kate will be 40 and at that age many people dealing with mid life crisis. She’s probably contemplating to leave and start something that really close to her hear like photography or anything. She’s probably also tired with her controling mum and her husband’s wandering eyes. She looks very thin and haggard for a 39 year old mother of three. I can’t blame her if she wants to leave and pursue her own happiness.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        She’s not interested in leaving anything.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Wehweh, Well, that would be the logical thing to do if she’s really unhappy. She wanted the Prince and she got him. I think now she has to decide whether the prize (Queen Consort) is worth it or not. She’s now been part of the royal family for 10 years and hasn’t made any effort to be a working royal. Either that is because she doesn’t want to work, or she’s incapable of doing the work that’s required. Or, maybe it’s both. No one can keep her there if she doesn’t want to be there. So, I have to assume the prize to her is worth it. I do think she needs to start working more and consistently within her capabilities.

  15. Over it says:

    And this is Megs and haz fault how??.. People need to move on and let go and stop using Harry and Meghan for attention.

  16. Lizzie says:

    How does Spotify have the right to stream music? I imagine someone sold the rights to the music but please explain if I’m wrong.
    I don’t know why I know this but singers/musicians make big money mostly from touring. Hopefully they will be touring soon.
    But please keep trying to blame innocent bystanders. If this was right wing US media they would probably blame antifa, lol.
    Everyone please have a wonderful day.

  17. Brass says:

    m & h ‘s deal are just noted as the face of what’s wrong with Spotify’s business model, it could’ve been any other celebrity but it’s true , Spotify abuses and uses artists who have been making music their entire lives and them shills out millions for a podcast that isn’t remarkable in any other way than the fact that it’s created by two popular celebrities.

    • equality says:

      The artists don’t have other options to sell their music? Why can they not boycott the service if they are dissatisfied? Sorry, but I liked H&M’s podcast and the only thing recommending it wasn’t who produced it.

    • Sid says:

      Brass, there has only been one episode of the podcast so far and it was presented as a short year-end intro. We really can’t judge the overall quality when no major content has been released yet. Also note that the podcast deal is with their Archewell production company, and the podcast is not just limited to them. Apparently they can fund the production of other people’s podcasts. Why not wait and see what they present before tossing it away as unremarkable.

      With regard to the artists, why aren’t the record labels sharing the streaming money they receive more equitably with their artists? Or using their power to push the streaming giants to hand over more money. Heaven knows it wouldn’t be the first time the major labels acted as a cartel.

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      The artists themselves are the only ones who can change this. I made a comment above, and said that they are the ones signing contracts. Maybe it’s time they started making some demands BEFORE the contracts are signed. If Spotify had not signed H&M, this issue would still be here and nothing is being done about it as far as I can see. I can’t help musicians, but isn’t that why they have recording labels. Why don’t they start working on this issue together? Take a page out of the Sussexes playbook, and DO something about it.

  18. Nina says:

    This is just more drivel and nonsense by BM. Just because you make music doesn’t mean it’s good. Some of the stuff on Spotify sound worse than cats in heat.
    Secondly, your manager, record label, and you are responsible for what deal you sign with Spotify, not Harry and Meghan.
    In all fairness, the reason why the average person cannot relate to these complaints is that most people don’t have the luxury of living off making art, most people are out there in day-to-day mind-numbing jobs. You have to be really talented with a good dose of luck thrown in the make it big in the arts.

  19. Mooshe1 says:

    I listened to that MP questioning the guy from Spotify and boy was the MP petty! He wanted to know how much the Sussexes were being paid and why. Of course he didn’t tell how much they were being paid but they’re not the highest paid people on Spotify. And when Gutierrez said they were excited because H&M were like big box office stars that MPs head almost exploded, hahaha

  20. February-Pisces says:

    I think the rate is similar to YouTube advertising. If we work it out the cpm (per 1000 views) is probably around £3. I doesn’t sound like much, but advertisers also have to pay more than that for their adverts as Spotify will take its cut. I think it’s hard for undiscovered artists to make any money on there as you needs hundreds of thousands of playbacks to make anything.

    I think it’s probably easier on YouTube cos people are more likely to click on anything recommend, where as on Spotify your less likely to discover new music and you only go for what you search for.

  21. Victoria says:

    The British Media and whoever their critics are can shut their stupid pie holes. If you really cared about where Harry and Meghan laid their financial hats, then you could have treated them right with in the stupid system that existed.

    They clearly weren’t trying to break away from the family, they just wanted to be legitimate useful human beings and transition into other things to protect themselves once WillHELL sat on his green throne of envy and eventually screwed them over.

    But nope, you didn’t want that.

    All of these people who are again Spotify, most likely have the damn app, so they are bitching about nothing.

  22. Beth says:

    Our media will do anything to get people hating on H&M. See in the article it was only one artiste Harrison Rhys who commented but notice the hyperbolic words used, “ artists across the pond are furious”. They go looking for struggling singers and ask them questions about H&M’ deal to make them be furious at them. Funny how people get easily manipulated by the press into hating.