Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Spotify sign a new deal with Barcelona FC, but forget one thing – the artists?

Well known streaming giant Spotify have made some outlandish moves as of late. From paying out a huge sum to controversial podcast host Joe Rogan, to the latest partnership deal with Barcelona FC.

It begs the question - wasn’t this supposed to be about the music?

Barcelona FC have just announced that Spotify is set to become their main partner in July 2022. Alex Norström – Spotify’s Chief Freemium Business Officer has framed the commencing deal as an opportunity for the company to connect music to football fans across the world. The deal includes a rebranding of the Camp Nou stadium, to the Spotify Camp Nou stadium and the use of Spotify’s logo across men’s and women’s kits. By bringing more eyes to the service artists will get an unparalleled level of global exposure and potential streaming growth by using locational targeted artist ads. According to ESPN the deal has been rumoured to have cost £280 million.

The deal with Barcelona FC could bring thousands, if not millions of new users to the site, which would turn over a large profit for them. This can also be said for the exposure that the football club will gain from Spotify’s current 406 million users. It is a lucrative deal set to make both parties serious financial gain, alongside the positive exposure of the music and football sectors respectively.


It is worth noting however, that Spotify does not pay artists proportionally based on site user base, instead paying an artist based on stream count (that number falling between $.0033 and $.0054 per stream). A long-time issue of contention with Spotify - and a large majority of other streaming platforms is their approach to artist compensation or lack thereof. The vast network of artists that the company was able to grow off continue to be disregarded during business moves Spotify makes.


Joe Rogan signed a deal in 2020 with Spotify, worth reportedly between $100- $200 million, for his podcast ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’. Podcasts have seen an extensive growth in popularity over the last decade and with the immense viewership power Rogan has this deal came as no surprise. What followed was a backlash from medical professionals due to the host spreading misinformation on the coronavirus pandemic and listeners' backlash over videos of the host using racial slurs.  This resulted in music legend Neil Young, and later Joni Mitchell removing their entire catalogues from the streaming platform. Whilst an internal statement was issued by Spotify CEO Daniel EK and 113 episodes of the podcast removed, Joe Rogan still has a platform on the site.


These core moments for the brand highlight a serious thought to behaviour gap. The site preaches championing artists but doesn’t compensate them. The site says it values all artists but chooses to side with a controversial podcast figure over one of them. Spotify began its life as a music streaming service, in years since it has expanded to more types of media and has lost its right to say it puts its artists first.


Through the sheer amount of money, the site has used on non-music related ventures as of late will lead to dissatisfied artists, as they are constantly undervalued. It is time to put the music first again, to hear the voices of the artists that make up the fundamental parts of the service and give them what they deserve - and what they continue to ask for.


We’re listening Spotify. Are you?


Jessica McCarrick


Image: FC Barcelona/Spotify

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;