UK rock band announce album in protest of Spotify’s business model, while Daniel Ek does not believe “silencing Joe Rogan is the answer”

An independent rock band from the UK, The Pocket Gods, have announced plans to release an album that hacks Spotify’s royalties system. The album, called 1000×30 – Nobody Makes Money Anymore in reference to Spotify’s current royalties model, is designed as a commentary on Spotify’s business model which only registers a stream (and its resulting royalties) after 30 seconds of a song has been played by a user. As such, the album is made up of 1000 songs that clock in at 30 seconds, or less. The concept is also inspired by music professor Mike Errico’s article for The Independent which questions how streaming and streaming platform business models are changing the way artists write songs. 

Speaking to i News, frontman of the band Mark Christopher commented, “I saw the article and it made me think, ‘Why write longer songs when we get paid little enough for just 30 seconds?” Elaborating further on the concept, Christopher says the band “wrote and recorded 1,000 songs, each a shade over 30 seconds long for the album… It is designed to raise awareness about the campaign for fair royalty rates.” The band is also aware that this move could run the risk of having them be banned from the platform. Despite this, The Pocket Gods are steadfast in their conviction, pointing to a song on the record called 0.0002, which is the total revenue an artist receives for one stream on Spotify. “We used to get 0.007p a play, still a pittance but that seems to have been cut since Spotify bought the Joe Rogan Experience podcast for $100m.”

Spotify has come under increased scrutiny over the past week following controversy surrounding an episode of Joe Rogan’s podcast. During the episode in question, Rogan’s guests (two medical professionals) shared multiple mistruths concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. Spotify’s continued support for Rogan and lack of action taken against him prompted a number of artists and podcasters to boycott the platform, including rock icon Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Since Rogan’s episode aired, Spotify’s market value has plummeted. The company has released a statement condemning the spread of misinformation on their platform, and have made their terms and conditions for content open to the public. Spotify has since taken down 70 episodes of Rogan’s show, including ones with feature Rogan using racial slurs, but have failed to ban Rogan from the platform despite their multiple-misdemeanour ban rule. Spotify CEO Daniel EK recently commented in a letter distributed to Spotify staff:

“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realise some will want more. I want to make one point very clear—I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer. We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope.”