Another day, another musician fed up with the royalty statements thanks to Spotify. The above post comes from Paradise, whom you can see, made 3 cents for just a little under 1,000 plays of their songs. But rather than point this problem out again and again, I have decided to instead come up with a solution.
One that was directly inspired by two amazingly innovative companies: Uber and Lyft. Their money-making model is simple. Charge a base rate until there's a larger demand and then jack up the price. Let's do the same for music streaming rates.
I call this innovation Surge Pricing Royalty Rates™. or SPRR™ for short.
With an SPRR™ clause attached to your streaming contract, your music is worth more during a surge. Namely, during times of crisis, times of partying, or emotional moments. Because after all, if this new business model works for Uber and Lyft it can work for you, too.
During Times of Crisis
Uber was criticized heavily and had to refund their passengers' money during the Sydney terrorist standoff. This was incredibly disgusting and cynical and it's not out of the realm of possibility that there will be more instances like this. Obviously the people running these companies are jerks. And don't believe the "When we grow, you grow" pyramid scheme hype, either. Remember, Uber has a class-action lawsuit over shady tip disbursements.
Now I hear you saying "I have morals. I'm not that cynical. I'm not Uber." You're right. You're not Uber. And you don't have to act like them. You're a musician. You don't have to go that far during times of crisis. In fact, it's a lot simpler and more humane, and dare I say, cost effective. Because here's the key: SPRR™ doesn't effect the listener's wallet. It effects Spotify's bottom line. Your listener loves you and your music. Spotify loves content regardless. There's a difference.
Getting back to SPRR™ during Times Of Crisis. Let's pretend you are Robert Smith of The Cure. You're tired of getting screwed over by crappy streaming royalty rates. Here's what you do: Simply monitor your fans on social media. If, for instance, one of them just broke up with their boyfriend, you enable SPRR™, so when they listen to Disintegration then Spotify will have to pay you three cents per song. Sustainable? Fair? We're getting there.
During Times of Partying
Doom and Gloom isn't the only way to make extra cash. Let's say you're an average Joe or Jane and it's Friday night and work is out and you are ready to party. Let's hope you didn't tell anyone on social media! If you updated your Facebook status about that awesome party you're throwing, and you happened to have "liked," KISS's fan page? Guess whose gonna enable SPRR™ all nite? I'd say when you're in party mode, it's worth 6 cents a spin. Because the night belongs to you. By the way, this isn't just for mega bands or one particular genre. If the Club is Open for Guided By Voices or you like yourself some Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears, you'll have to pay the piper. Sorry-- Spotify will have to pay the piper.
During Emotional Moments
Silicon Valley's gonna love this one. See, there are so many apps these days that can monitor your emotions and wellbeing it's like having a mood ring in your smart phone. And what's more, these apps are easy to data mine. Simply partner with this app (and if you're lucky, a big insurance company, too, cha-ching!) and start monitoring your fans' behavior swings. This is where you can fine tune SPRR™ and raise the rates for really particular moods. In other words, if an app detects I'm in the mood to listen to Melancholy Music That Makes Me Feel Okay At The Same Time, then Freeman and his new album has my back. And if I'm really in the mood, I'm a dedicated listener, and Spotify should pay out nine cents per stream. After all, music soothes the soul.
Musicians everywhere: it's 2015. It's time to embrace the digital world like never before. I hope you'll see this as the first step. Silicon Valley's given you the short end of the stick for a while now. It's time to throw that stick back in their faces. Just remember to do it in the name of innovation and all will be well.