How Your Information is Used in the Music Industry

Written by: Emily Scott


We have all heard the term “big data.” Big data is defined as large sets of data that are analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. So what does this mean for you?

Recently, Spotify updated its discovery page to a Pinterest-like design. This new feature takes your cookie-tracked data to create recommendations for you. Data such as your profile (which music you’ve played and what playlists you’ve created) and other data is used for this feature.

Spotify uses all that data for other things. For example, in the beginning of 2013, they used streaming data to predict the Grammy Away winners. This was made possible by breaking down listener habits and how often a certain song/album is played. In the end, 4 out of 6 predictions made turned out to be correct.

Without the use of big data, Spotify would not have turned out to be as popular as it is. It’s presence in many countries continues to grow, as well as their data on a growing listener population. “More data will mean better recommendations, better predictions, more users and thus more payouts to the rights holders. Big data truly enabled Spotify to change the music industry.”


Spotify vs. Apple Music


The source used is a well written article comparing the two services. There is a lot to go by so I will try to scratch the surface as to what it’s getting at.

Spotify hasn’t had much competition since its release back in 2008. Now that Apple a massive global brand has hopped in to the music streaming game they finally have competition worth worrying about. Apple music launched back in 2015, 9 years after Spotify launched. It has a plethora of features that rival other streaming services of its kind. For one Apple owns it, and because of this users have complete access to the whole iTunes library. That is a big deal for people who are lifelong apple users. Even though the service has a massive following and is gaining close to the numbers that Spotify has it’s still falling short. Spotify’s integration with Facebook make it easy for you to relate and see what your friends are listening too. Also their interface is a lot more user friendly than Apple’s. Each service has their ups and downs, but for now and maybe forever Spotify is the king of music streaming services.

Written by: Graham Garner

Big Lawsuits Against Spotify

In December of 2015 and January 2016 Spotify was hit with back to back lawsuits concerning unpaid royalties to two artists. David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick both filed similar law suits on the company after they felt they weren’t being paid. Lowery sought for $150 million, Ferrick wanted $200 million for her losses. With a $350 million dollar law suit at their feet Spotify felt as if they needed to fire back. Spotify argued that in some cases “the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights holders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rights holders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association [NMPA] to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good.”

Shortly after the suits were filed and Spotify made their defense statements a $30 million dollar deal was made with the NMPA to pay the royalties that were “set aside” for rights holders issues.


Written by: Graham Garner

Spotify Purchases MightyTV

Spotify bought MightyTV, a startup company that revolves around using artificial intelligence and “Tinder-like swipes” to customize content recommendations. Spotify is purchasing MightyTV and shutting it down, but taking the data and technology MightyTV has to improve their company. The acquisition of MightyTV is a great thing for Spotify and will help the company cater even more to users’ listening preferences. The goal of this purchase is to be able to improve the recommendations that Spotify offers. Spotify would be able to use the tools that MightyTV has to collect more interesting data on their users to help them discover new music and serve interesting ads to them. The data and technology provided by MightyTV will help guide Spotify to having relevant music recommendations that are more to the users liking. In addition to music recommendations, the data and technology acquired for MightyTV will also allow them to deliver more relevant ads to the customers who are non-paying listeners.

Written by: Caitlin Brock



Drake’s ‘More Life’ Has Already Broken Two Major Spotify Records


“Drake’s More Life has already broken two Spotify records”


Drake’s newest album More Life has only been out since Saturday and has already broken two Spotify records. The first full day of availability, More Life was streamed 61,302,08, Surpassing Ed Sheeran whom previously had the best first day streaming 56.7 million times in its first 24 hours on Spotify. As Spotify continues to grow its audiences and artist are still holding out on their music some are artist are starting to recognize their value. Allowing them to see the benefit of the Spotify service.



Written by: Marjorie Newman

Spotify Lawsuit: Copyright Infringement

In 2013, Spotify faced a lawsuit against Ministry of Sound, a London-based record label. This company claimed that Spotify infringed on their copyright laws and allegedly created playlists directly from their own albums.

The premise of Spotify is that its users can create their own playlists with whatever songs they choose, and Spotify used this concept as evidence against Ministry of Sound’s allegations. However, the latter claimed that the playlists that were created so closely matched their own records that it was a violation of their copyright laws. The representative from Ministry of Sound asked that Spotify take down the copied playlists and sought to receive reparations for the users they lost in the process.

At the time of this dispute, Spotify was only about five years old and had not yet faced any incidents such as this. With Ministry of Sound being a more established business, they proposed a licensing agreement be made with Spotify, but no compromise could be made.


Written by: Danielle Lewis

Spotify Analytics

The existence of the Spotify we all know today relies entirely on their ever-growing data set. The information they gather is what helps them suggest new artists and genres for each user, pick the next song that will be played, and continue to effectively market their brand for us as consumers.

To do this efficiently, all core Spotify employees can access three separate platforms that gather data: Dashboards, Data Warehouse, and the third which is known as Luigi. Each tool does something a little differently than the others, but all are able to identify trends in usage and listening patterns among specific artists or within a particular region, as well as break down other aspects of their business in an orderly report. The data gathered is put into an analytics pipeline, which essentially is the warehouse of sorts, where all of the information is put into different compartments to be further investigated. The data gathered is sorted through by engineers who then share that information throughout the company to come up with new ways of marketing the brand to be even more embraced by current customers and to gather new users as well.


Written by: Danielle Lewis

How Much does an Artist Make?


Like every other music streaming outlet, when it comes to how artists get paid for plays, it all comes down to the contract they have with the company.

According to The Verge, no tall the money is going straight to the artist. In fact, not all artists get the same cut of Spotify revenue either, it all depends on the contract with the label. “Some musicians might only recoup 15 to 20 percent of the streaming revenue they brought in,” The Verge says. Other factors like the country in which a song was streamed, and the currency value in that country, also come into play when it comes down to an artists’ revenue. Still, Spotify admits the average “per stream” payout to rights holders lands somewhere between $0.006 and $0.0084.


Sony Music Makes $$ from Spotify


One of the biggest questions regarding Sony and their contract with Spotify is how much Sony Music gets paid per stream. And well, according to The Verge it’s pretty complicated.

In the contract, there is a section outlining how Sony Music split its label fees into three different sections: the ad-supported fees, online day passes (which no longer exist, and Spotify’s premium service. In each of the three sections, Sony is able to profit a share fee of 60% of Spotify’s monthly gross revenue, multiplied by Sony’s Music’s percentage of overall streams. The Verge gives this example: if Spotify earned $100 million in gross revenue, the labels would would get $60 million. If Sony Music made up 20 percent of the streams, it would take home $12 million.

However, the contract includes what’s known as the usage-based minimum and per subscriber minimum, which are two different formulas that allow Sony Music to earn even more money from Spotify. The Verge says that, “if the royalties from usage in any particular month are greater than what is paid out by the revenue share, Sony Music gets that amount instead.”

Also, the contract states that Spotify must pay $0.00225 per stream, due to a discount that lasts for the length of the contract. However, if the growth targets are missed in the previous month, that number could rise to $0.0025 per stream. These rates, according to The Verge, are only relevant if the usage-based minimum exceeds the revenue sharing model.


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