Aus Artist Laura Imbruglia Calls For Spotify Boycott

16 May 2024 | 11:53 am | Mary Varvaris

"Spotify is the cage egg of streaming platforms. It's unethical to continue to give them money."

Laura Imbruglia @ BIGSOUND

Laura Imbruglia @ BIGSOUND (Credit: Lachlan Douglas)

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Australian indie-rock songwriter Laura Imbruglia is calling on Spotify users and fellow artists to boycott the streaming service, citing “unethical” changes to its royalty payout model.

In November, Spotify announced it would no longer pay royalties for songs with under 1,000 streams – much to the outrage of independent artists, who generated about half of Spotify’s revenue last year.

In addition to the new streaming number threshold, Spotify made two further changes to its royalty system: labels and distributors are now penalised for uploading content that generates “fraudulent streams,” while the minimum required length for tracks intended to be streamed as background noise (i.e., “songs” of white noise and binaural beats) has been extended.

Posting to social media on Tuesday (14 May), Imbruglia revealed that she’s been trying to remove her music from Spotify for “months”.

She began her post by appealing to music lovers with Spotify accounts and implored them to stop using the streaming service.

Addressing the impact of Spotify’s royalty payments for independent artists, Imbruglia continued, “If you're unaware, as of April 1, they have demonetized all tracks with less than 1,000 streams (ie the work of HEAPS of independent artists). Prior to that, they were already one of the lowest-paying streaming providers - paying artists only $0.003 per stream.

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Tidal, Apple Music and believe it or not - NAPSTER pay artists a little more fairly,” she added, saying that Bandcamp is “obviously the best”. Check out the data here to find out how much artists get paid from streaming services.

But those platforms have drawbacks: the UX, social elements (the colourful, interactive end-of-year wraps you can post on social media, anyone?), and playlisting that just isn’t as massive as Spotify. Imbruglia admitted that even if you choose to leave the platform, you will miss some parts it offers.

“However, I can't think of a better analogy than this one: Spotify is the cage egg of streaming platforms. It's unethical to continue to give them money,” Imbruglia continued. “Oh, and you know what else? Spotify has made lyrics a premium feature - they're now charging for accessibility.

“If you're an artist, I encourage you to take your music off Spotify. I've requested a takedown via my DSP Ditto Music, and unfortunately, it's taking a lot longer than I would like (months) to have my music removed. I'm sure they currently have a backlog of independent artists trying to remove their music from Spotify.

“In summary - Spotify = bad.”

Laura Imbruglia has described her music as a combination of folk, punk, country, and yacht rock, with influences ranging from The Carpenters to Loretta Lynn to Nirvana to Cheap Trick.

Her most recent album is 2019’s Scared Of You. In a review for The Music, Belinda Quinn wrote, “The record showcases Imbruglia’s ability to unpack common anxieties with her trademark oddball humour. Here, she takes uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and transforms them into facetious melodrama, taking away their power and allowing for a sense of catharsis for the listener.”