Spotify announced a new test project, which will allow artists to promote their music on the platform via personalized playlist recommendations. This new project will allow artists to identify music that’s a priority for them, which will then be sent as a signal to their algorithm that determines personalized listening sessions. If songs do not do well with audiences in this format, they will be removed from these suggestions. This feature will only apply to the radio feature and autoplay, not users’ Discover Weekly playlist.
This service will not charge the artists up front, but artists who participate in the program will receive less royalty fees. “Labels or rights holders agree to be paid a promotional recording royalty rate for streams in personalized listening sessions where we provided this service,” their statement reads.
The company claims: “Listener satisfaction is our priority—we won’t guarantee placement to labels or artists, and we only ever recommend music we think listeners will want to hear.”
This announcement comes at a time of friction between Spotify and prominent music acts affiliated with the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers. The union, which includes Sad13, Deerhoof and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, have been demanding that the platform increase royalty rates and eliminate pay-to-play arrangements on the platform.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek attracted controversy earlier this year regarding after he claimed that artists not getting paid enough for streams was a “narrative fallacy.” Artists such as Neko Case, Fucked Up, Zola Jesus and Massive Attack condemned these comments, while Sumac removed their music from the platform in response to this statement. The platform’s stock dropped by 17 percent in September, only a month after Ek’s initial comments on artist royalties. A new study earlier this year revealed that only one percent of artists on the platform generate 90 percent of all music streams.