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.”
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.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.