Weird Al Yankovic Roasts Spotify In His Spotify Wrapped Artist Message

1 December 2023 | 3:50 pm | Jessie Lynch

"Enough to get myself a nice sandwich at a restaurant."

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic (Instagram)

As Spotify users worldwide revel in the annual ritual of sharing their Wrapped lists, "Weird Al" Yankovic has served up a different tune, instead roasting the streaming platform for paltry compensation for artists.

In a cheeky video message on his Wrapped feature, Weird Al revealed that despite amassing a staggering 80 million streams on Spotify this year, his earnings amounted to a mere $12 – enough, he joked, to buy “a nice sandwich at a restaurant”.

“It’s my understanding that I had over 80 million streams on Spotify this year,” Yankovic said in a clip posted to social media.

“So, if I’m doing the math right that means I earned $12. Enough to get myself a nice sandwich at a restaurant. So, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for your support, and thanks for the sandwich.”

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Yankovic's criticism of Spotify's payout structure follows the streaming giant's recent announcement of updates to its royalties payment system.

Spotify said the move, purportedly aimed at addressing streaming fraud, would nject an additional $1 billion into the pockets of both emerging and established artists over the next five years.

However, the controversial new model, set to impact more than two-thirds of Spotify's song catalogue, has drawn criticism for its potential impact on smaller artists. With millions of songs falling below the 1,000 streams threshold, these tracks will no longer qualify for royalties, redirecting the funds to a broader royalty pool.

Despite Spotify's assurance that this will only marginally affect its royalty distribution, insiders estimate a mere 0.5% shift, equal to around $46 million, in 2022's total payout of $9.27 billion.

Meanwhile, Spotify's Wrapped list has unveiled Taylor Swift as the year's most streamed artist, dethroning the three-year-running champ, Bad Bunny. Swift's dominance extended to her album Midnights, securing the second spot for the most streamed globally, while her 2019 LP, Lover, claimed the seventh position.

In response to Spotify's extensive marketing campaign for Wrapped, the United Musicians & Allied Workers (UMAW) took to social media to highlight the issue of payment inequality within Spotify.

“One stat you won’t find in your Spotify Wrapped is how much artists are paid for all that listening on the platform. The max possible in 2023 is $0.003 per stream. And in 2024, Spotify will stop paying anything AT ALL for 2/3 of the tracks on the platform,” they wrote on Instagram.

“Spotify gets away with this fuzzy math because there is no regulation over streaming. UMAW is working to change that, and we have big plans for 2024.”