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Spotify Probed by Congress Over Controversial “Discovery Mode” Characteristic

Spotify is being probed by Congress as a consequence of ongoing issues over the platform’s Discovery Mode characteristic.

Spotify’s Discovery Mode was introduced final November as a pilot program for artists to decide in to receives a commission out partly in publicity. For a charge, Spotify agrees to push music into varied personalised playlists, which might arguably be a helpful device for lesser recognized artists — so long as they’re protected.

In Spotify’s phrases, “Labels or rights holders comply with be paid a promotional recording royalty charge for streams in personalised listening classes the place we offered this service.” Nonetheless, the success of any given observe continues to be as much as the listeners and total streams.

The Discovery Mode characteristic is being scrutinized for varied causes. Most obviously, as a result of the platform pays out such a low quantity in royalties to artists per stream as it’s. Moreover, an op-ed from Rolling Stone citing the Artist Rights Alliance calls it out as a “cash seize” and a type of “payola.” Our explicit issues with the characteristic are outlined right here.

Onto Congress getting concerned. A letter despatched by Consultant Jerrold Nadler (chairman of the Home Judiciary Committee) and Consultant Hank Johnson Jr. (chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Mental Property, and the Web), addressed to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, states issues over Discovery Mode — a possible “race to the underside” as artists try and “break by way of a particularly crowded and aggressive music setting.”

Nadler and Johnson write, “At a time when the worldwide pandemic has devastated incomes for musicians and different performers, with out a clear path again to pre-pandemic ranges, any plan that might in the end result in additional minimize pay for working artists and in the end probably much less shopper selection raises vital coverage points.”

Congress is asking for Spotify to develop on the pilot program in nice element, together with if and when the characteristic will turn out to be everlasting, how the platform is stopping a “race to the underside” state of affairs, how the “promotional royalty charge” is being calculated, how the measure of affect is recorded, and whether or not or not artists will be capable of get well misplaced royalties if this system doesn’t yield elevated streams.

Spotify’s response is anticipated by June 16.

Learn the letter in full right here.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone

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