Is Spotify Trying To Bring Back Payola With Its New Feature?

The announcement arrives a week after 4,000 independent artists rolled out a campaign calling out Spotify with a list of demands including a guarantee of at least one cent per stream.

Spotify is switching things up. On Monday, the streaming platform announced a new feature that will allegedly allow artists and labels an opportunity to receive more exposure. Rolling out first in the U.S., the feature will grant creators the ability to boost specific tracks. 

According to an official press release, the new function will add the selections to Spotify’s algorithm with the sole goal of amplifying music. Artists will be able to point out brand new selects or songs that speak to a larger cultural moment. The algorithm that will be influenced is the one that determines personalized listening sessions that includes Discover Weekly.

The release reads:

“If the songs resonate with listeners, we’ll keep trying them in similar sessions. If the songs don’t perform well, they’ll quickly be pulled back. Listener satisfaction is our priority—we won’t guarantee placement to labels or artists, and we only ever recommend music we think listeners will want to hear.”

The aforementioned announcement arrives a week after over 4,000 independent artists who are a part of the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers released a campaign urging Spotify to pay at least one cent per stream. A Fader report notes that the campaign also called for an increase in royalty rates and more equitable dealings between major and independent labels alongside the platform. Additionally, the artists asked for the end of “payola” (paid for placement editorial playlists), the introduction of a user-centric model, and more visible credit for behind-the-scenes involvement in recordings.

Spotify also adds in an official statement that the new tool won’t require an upfront budget. But, instead, “labels or rights holders agree to be paid a promotional recording royalty for streams in personalized listening sessions where we provided this service.”

Initial tests of the function will begin on the Radio and Autoplay formats on the streaming platform. 

Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

Published by
Robyn Mowatt

Recent Posts

6 New Hip-Hop Albums You Should Be Listening To (Week of November 25)

This week's New Music Friday round-up includes albums from Meek Mill, Sadat and Dough Networks,… Read More

November 25, 2022

Ranking All Of Marvel’s Phase 4 Movies & TV Shows From Worst To Best

Phase 4 has been about either old heroes recovering or emerging ones stepping up. Here… Read More

November 25, 2022

Arrest Warrant Issued For “Friend” of Shanquella Robinson

Mexican prosecutors are seeking to arrest a friend of Shanquella Robinson who visited Cabo Saint… Read More

November 25, 2022

Fetty Wap Catches A Thanksgiving Hit With “Sweet Yamz”

A remake of "Yamz" by Masego and Devin Morrison, the new Fetty Wap track "Sweet… Read More

November 25, 2022

Kanye West Says He Asked Donald Trump to Be His Running Mate in New Presidential Campaign Ad

Kanye West has continued to tease his 2024 presidential bid, claiming that he asked Donald… Read More

November 25, 2022

Kendrick Lamar Talks About the Making of “We Cry Together”

In a conversation moderated by actress Tessa Thompson, Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free discussed the… Read More

November 25, 2022