The Spotify Question

I recently serendipitiously ran across a recording by a music artist named Moshimoss. The link I ran across brought me to his MySpace page where I can listen to all of his songs on the music player., And then I searched and found him on iTunes. Then I noticed him on Spotify. And now I encounter what I am calling the “Spotify Question”:

Am I willing to pay $9.99 plus tax to download his album “Hidden Tape No. 66” from iTunes or just listen to his stuff for free on Spotify as much as I want? How I answer this question through my actions makes a small yet big difference to the livelihood of the music artist known as Moshimoss.

If I purchase the album from iTunes, he will net about $6.31. That’s enough for an average sandwich or a pint of beer here in the U.S. I have no idea what that will buy him in Japan where he’s from.

Let’s say I choose not to purchase his album from iTunes and continue to listen on Spotify, which is essentially the path of least resistance. Let’s say I listen to the whole thing 10 times. Assuming his music is not through a label (big or indie) and he is able to get all of the proceeds, he earns $0.00189 per song stream. Doing the math (14 tracks x 10 plays), Mr. Moshimoss earns about 24 cents. Music artists don’t receive proceeds directly, but rather through any number of intermediaries, so he will mostly likely earn a fraction of this amount for my 140 plays.

So, do I decide to shell out $9.99 plus tax? I am not sure. Meanwhile, I can just choose to listen on Spotify or MySpace (where he earns nothing).

I do know that in order for Mr Moshimoss to make the equivalent of minimum wage from iTunes sales, there needs to be at least 1,229 people this month who are willing to pay for a download of his entire album. Otherwise, to make minimum wage, guess how many Spotify streams are required? 4,053,110.

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