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Martin Guttridge-Hewitt
4 April 2024, 12:37

Spotify officially demonetises all tracks with under 1,000 streams

Customers could soon be paying for more services, according to reports

Spotify royalty changes April 2024

Spotify has officially demonetised all tracks with under 1,000 streams. The new policy came into effect for all artists in 1st April 2024. 

The revised revenue scheme was announced last year, and means music will only be included in the royalty pool calculation if it passes a threshold of 1,000 plays in the preceding 12 months. According to a Spotify blog post, 99.5% of all streams on the platform are of tracks that have above that many plays, with the platform claiming that these tracks will now earn more as a result. 

Additionally, Spotify now requires a minimum number of unique listeners for royalties to apply. This attempt to stop "further manipulation by bad actors" targets people using automatic and artificial plays to ramp up stream counts. Meanwhile, "functional" genres, such as white noise, are being targeted, too. Whereas before these types of recordings could generate income from as little as 30 seconds of play, this has now been increased to two minutes. 

However, the change has been met with anger and frustration from some corners of the music industry. This week, United Musicians and Allied Workers shared a post on X which suggested those numbers could be wildly overstated, arguing that 86% of all content on Spotify will now fail to meet the criteria for royalties based on play count. 

United Musicians and Allied Workers recently spearheaded the Make Streaming Pay initiative, demanding fairer revenue split for artists using platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. The campaign is behind a new Living Wage For Musicians Bill, which was introduced to US congress in March and aims to "ensure that artists and musicians can build sustainable careers in the digital age". You can find out more about this here

While political and public pressure for better royalty payments grows, Spotify is looking to bring in more revenue to plug its own shortfall. Since going public on the stock market in 2018, the company has lost money every year. Just this week, it was reported that the streaming giant has confirmed intentions to revise and increase its pricing.

Between $1 and $2 will be added to monthly bills for customers in several territories, including the UK, Australia, and Pakistan, Bloomburg reports. This is said to cover the cost of audiobooks, added to the platform late-2023. More recently, video learning content was introduced to further diversify the offering. A new basic tier package will be rolled out for those who do not want to access audiobooks, the first of several updated pricing options. This news led to a 4.6% jump in Spotify's share value, although it's unclear what the long-term impact will be.