Graphic by Drew Litowitz for Pitchfork Magazine

Spotify released their Q3 earnings this week, and with it, announced the launch of a new discovery tool that has already sparked controversy. The product will allow rights holders to influence Spotify’s personalized recommendation algorithm to favor songs deemed to be priorities by opting them into something called ‘Discovery Mode”. In exchange, rights holders will have to agree to be paid a discounted “promotional recording royalty rate” for any streams that are generated in the process. In other words, songs played this way on the platform will cost Spotify less than a regular stream. …

A promotional image of Blink 182 and Lil Wayne from their co-headline tour in 2019. Courtesy of Billboard Magazine.

Last week 24kGoldn and Iann Dior’s “Mood” did what many assumed would never happen; the song simultaneously reached the no. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart, Billboards Hot Alternative Songs chart , and Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart all in the same week. The song was also #1 on the Spotify US and global charts; an accolade that surprisingly seldom pairs with the Billboard charts which so heavily rely on Nielsen ratings. Indeed, a deep wedge exists between the industry-controlled radio charts and the data-driven Spotify streaming charts. This is because, although the music industry has known how…

How the Internet Toppled the Old Guards of the Entertainment Industry

No aisle numbers?! WTF! Image Courtesy of

You may have heard of Quibi, or read one of the 400 articles written about how Quibi raised a monumental 2 billion dollars in capital, but odds are you have not subscribed to Quibi. That’s because Quibi is doomed to be a very expensive failure. Luckily, their misstep can serve as a powerful lesson to independent artists.

If you aren’t familiar by now, Quibi is a content platform that launched back in February focused on bringing Hollywood-level content in short snippets to your mobile device. The ad-free subscription costs $8 a month, which grants you access to their small collection…

Back in July, Spotify released their Q2 financials, and with it reported that the number of artists in the top 10% of earners has increased to over 43,000. That’s roughly 15,000 more artists than the top 10% of earners in 2019. Similarly, AWAL reported last week that hundreds of their artists are earning 6 figures from streaming alone. This estimate has grown by 40% over the last year.

Indeed, these numbers are not abnormal — the investment firm Raine Group has published research which reports a 30% growth in the independent music sector every year for the last four years…

Adam Samuels

Former artist manager turned product manager who writes about the intersection of technology music and culture.

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