While there seems to be near-universal consensus about the benefits of Spotify from a consumer-perspective, the same cannot be said for the artists whose work actually appears on streaming services. There are varied reports as to how much money musical acts actually make from services like Spotify, MOG and Rdio —one widely circulated report last summer claimed that Lady Gaga only made $167 after her song “Poker Face” was spun one million times on Spotify— and some acts like The Black Keys have been very vocal about the reasons they have NOT chosen to make their music available there (“For a band that makes a living selling music, it’s not at a point where it’s feasible for us.”)
This hot button issue was on the top of everyone’s mind at this year’s SXSW Festival, where the worlds of technology and music collided for a few days earlier this month. Spotify executive Sean Parker explained during a VH1 Rock Docs panel audience that “There’s definitely some sort of dissent brewing between record labels, publishing companies and artists [about the compensation they get from streaming services] … Spotify is returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]. If we continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”
But what do the musicians themselves think? We sat down with a number of artists at varying stages of their careers —veteran acts like Train, The Shins, and Keane, as well as relative newcomers like Alabama Shakes, Best Coast, Fun. and Gary Clark Jr.— to get their perspectives on this controversial subject. Find out what they have to say in this exclusive VH1 Tuner video!