Minimum Gauge: Esthero Uses Spotify to Protest Low Spotify Payments to Artists

Plus, Black Keys and Ticketmaster blame ticket-scalping sites for shutting out fans and MAGA-friendly Kanye West made more money than any other Hip Hop artist in the past year

click to enlarge Esthero - Photo: Provided by the Artist
Photo: Provided by the Artist

HOT: Protesting Spotify on Spotify

Canadian singer/songwriter Esthero found a creative way to protest what she and numerous other recording artists feel is an unfair pay-out system from streaming services — specifically, the leader of the streaming pack, Spotify. About 90 seconds into the Spotify stream of her ethereal Pop track “Gimme Some Time,” the music stops and the singer chimes in with a plea to purchase the song from her website. “It’s really hard as an independent artist to make money, and Spotify and other streaming services only pay about .003 to .008 cents per stream,” she says. “It’s really not a livable income.” Esthero also took to social media to rally for the cause, posting her own streaming income statements (showing she makes about $3,000 annually from digital streams) alongside info on how much Spotify employees earn (on average about $105,000, plus stock options, according to one of her post).

WARM: Black Keys Scalper Tickets Invalid

There was a lot of finger-pointing going on after several fans were denied admission to a recent sold-out L.A. concert by The Black Keys. Those fans had purchased tickets on the resale market from usually-reliable sellers like StubHub and Vivid Seats. Because it was a smaller warm-up show for the tour — with $25 tickets “geared toward the fan club,” the band said in a statement — they made the tickets non-transferable to cut those third-party sellers out of the picture. Ticketmaster said it was made clear the tickets were nontransferable and fans reportedly were given screenshots of codes to use for admission. The Black Keys blamed the resellers, saying they “took this opportunity to defraud our fans and steal their money by selling tickets that were ineligible for transfer.” The major resale sites reportedly refunded all purchases.

COLD: Kanye Got Paid

Kanye West’s odd relationship with Donald Trump seemed destined to lose the Hip Hop artist at least a few fans. But it wasn’t enough to hurt his bottom line — or perhaps a fresh influx of MAGA followers provided a new revenue stream — because West just topped Forbes’ “Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Acts 2019” list. West leap-frogged last year’s biggest earner — Jay-Z — to take the top spot for the first time, thanks largely to his Yeezy shoe line, which, according to Forbes, is expected to notch $1.5 billion in sales this year. That helped put West’s “pretax income” at $150 million for the year. That nearly doubled the annual income of the runners-up — Jay-Z ($81 Million) and Drake ($75 million).




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