Like a lot of people who like music and have a phone, I am a Spotify user. I'm one of the millions who pay a monthly subscription, which means the music comes without between-song adverts. Having grown-up buying CD's, downloading songs on Bluetooth before school and saving to buy my favourite records the online service is still a thing of inevitable wonder, a miraculous manifestations of digital ingenuity to date that lets you discover such a wide array of music in a relatively affordable way.
Amongst all this has been a nagging sense of discomfort, as more artists, labels and producers have spoken out about the mistreatment from the streaming service, who have come under severe criticism for their constant negligence surrounding the issue. Spotify wrapped was the latest distraction, it felt like the Black Friday of music, where even some of the most forward thinking publications, music platforms and people online were so absorbed in Spotify’s annual feature, turning a blind eye to the shaky finances, low pay and lack of support towards musicians.
Many artists even took to social to show their growth on the streaming service, it's a bitter sweet moment knowing that they aren't even close to being properly paid for that success in growth. Spotify's fragile business model reflects where it sits in the history of musical commerce. Just under 20 years ago, the advent of mass illegal file-sharing ushered in a world where songs could suddenly cost nothing; most streaming services are an attempt to accept what that incredible shift meant for the public’s willingness to pay for music. So, as with most of the big online streaming services, the rates Spotify pays musicians and their overlords are better than nothing, but still stupendously small. This year's Spotify Wrapped was about recognising the hardships we've all been through this year, it's now time for them to recognise the financial hardship they are contributing towards for artists. Ways to help support artists can be as simple as buying merch, hard copies of their music, Bandcamp purchases or even a simple share on socials.