Saturday, 27 July 2013

Sloppy Journalism

I’ve just caught up with last Sunday’s Observer, where an article suggested that Spotify are ripping off music makers because they only pay 0.004p per play, whereas Radio 2 pay something like £59.75.  One famous musician, and one or two self-serving unknown ones, burbled about how exploitative this was, getting their arithmetic completely wrong.  But what pissed me off was the biased reporting.
In particular, qualifiers such as ‘just’ (in relation to Spotify’s payment) and ‘in contrast’ (re the BBC’s) were bandied about as if they added any value or information to the report.  In fact, all they added was a slant which doesn’t belong in news reporting.
To be specific, the factual content was that, for a million listens on Spotify, the artist would earn about £4,000 (0.004p per listen), whereas, if a million people happened to be listening to R2 at the time, the artist would earn about £60 (0.000006p per listen).  Put this way, Spotify looks like a bloody good deal to me.


  1. Yes, completely specious argument because the payments refer to completely different things. And the Spotify subscribers would have chosen to listen to that piece of music, so the money will go where the listeners want it to. If it's something we all rush to turn the radio off from, the artist gets as much as if we listen with pleasure.

  2. I saw this and agree with you. A Spotify listener is also probably better value than a Radio 2 listener in terms of commitment, although the serendipity of a large Radio station must be a lot better for the promotional value of new music. The writers of the music get hardly anything from Spotify I believe but now they know how bloggers feel.

  3. I have a sneaky feeling that Spotify will eventually go the way of WE7, now the property of Tesco and called Blinkbox.

  4. I have no clue, as usual. If I want to listen to it I buy the lp. Or one of these modern things in silver.