Last month we posted a blog about the initiative by the Dutch label TRPTK to add a ‘Buy this artist a coffee’ button to their artists’ web pages. The idea was to offer a relieve to musicians who lost most of their income because all concerts are cancelled to help defeat Covid-19. This button reminded us of Eelco Grimm’s attempt to bring a ‘Karma button’ to the Spotify user interface. Of course it would be ideal to have a donation button right in the app that offers access to the music of your beloved artist. But unfortunately contracts stood in the way.
… Until now! End of March we learned that Spotify was no longer limited by contracts. The road to offer a ‘donate to this artist’ button was free and it was fueled by the desperate need for money by artists. On April 22nd the news was out: Spotify added an “Artist Fundraising Pick” to the artists pages, that can be enabled in the “Spotify for Artist” back office. More info can be found here.
This is nothing less than a revolution! Finally there is a way to express your gratitude towards an artist by giving her or him money directly. The amount of money a musician with a small but loyal fanbase can earn via direct donation is potentially much larger than via the stream revenue itself. Imagine for example a classical music ensemble. They hardly ever have enough stream plays to cover the recording cost. But they do have a loyal fan base that is willing to support them with some extra donations.
The introduction of this possibility is a big step forward and we applaud Spotify for this. We hope that all other streaming services will follow their initiative soon. Of course there is room for improvement still (and Spotify admits it in their introduction text). Ideally the whole team that contributed to an album (songwriters, band members, producers, etc) would get their share of the donation. Information about these shares is available at international ‘neighboring rights’ organizations like the Dutch Sena that figured in Eelco’s Karma button proposal. Hopefully the concept will be perfected in the upcoming months. Happy donating!