“There is a loophole in our regulation,” Spanish lawmaker Iban García del Blanco told Politico in an interview. “We need to fill it.”

That “loophole” is identical to the hole in artist’s pockets, at least when it comes to remuneration from Spotify and other streaming platforms.

García is a key lawmaker in the European Parliament and is drafting a report expressing concern over paltry payments to artists by music platforms, which he calls “the most unbalanced sub-sector of the cultural sector at the moment”:

The Spanish lawmaker backed calls to better distribute revenue from leading streaming platforms to the industry’s creators. García hopes his report — while non-binding — will compel the European Commission to fix the problem.


Spotify keeps “roughly a third” of all revenue it collects from consumers — an astonishing number for a platform that creates nothing and profits off works that were, in some cases, created decades before Spotify or the internet itself existed.

Asked for comment by Politico, Spotify’s director of EU regulatory affairs reached into a bag of 2010 talking points and blamed piracy for Spotify’s lackluster support of the artists who created the content on its platform:

“We’ve been criticized for not raising the price, but we started out in the face of piracy, and we’re still facing it,” she added, insisting that investments were still required to keep streaming services attractive enough to beat pirate platforms.


Pirate platforms are, in fact, voluntarily shutting down all over the internet, largely from lack of interest or traffic and often leaving emo notes about it:

You have been visiting in less and less over the years, as the arguably very simple formula of the services we offer is slowly running out of steam. I guess all the competing file storage service companies on the market look better, offer better performance and more features. No one needs a dinosaur like us anymore.


Multiple reports over the years have shown how the little revenue that trickles down from Spotify has been increasingly concentrated in few hands. A September 2021 report from the UK Intellectual Property Office sifted through a treasure trove of data to conclude that less than 1,000 artists in the United Kingdom might be able to eke out something like a normal standard of living from streaming royalties each year. By way of comparison, the UK National Lottery claims to make 300 new millionaires each year.

“Based on a sample of data concerning each October from 2014 to 2020,” they write, “the top 0.1% most popular tracks achieved more than 40% of all streams in all years and the top 0.4% of tracks accounted for more than 65% of all streams from 2016 onwards.”


Read More: Spotify has made millionaires. Almost none of them are musicians

Photo by Agê Barros


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