Spotify shrinks revenue for non-music tracks

Spotify announces to only compensate tracks that generate more than 1000 streams
A representational image displays the logo of Spotify. — Unsplash
A representational image displays the logo of Spotify. — Unsplash

In a significant development, Spotify has introduced a new royalty system that will minimise earnings from functional noises, such as the sound of rainfall, compared to traditional music files.

The move comes as part of Spotify's strategy to tackle "bad actors" who exploit the system to generate revenue illicitly.

Nature sounds, white noise, sound effects, and silence recordings will fall under the category of functional noise.

The company revealed plans to increase the minimum track length for functional noise recordings to two minutes and to value streams of these sounds at a "fraction of the value" of music track streams.

The decision by the streaming platform has closed the window of exploitation for the creators of functional sounds, which they did to supplement their revenues in return for little effort.

Since streaming payout is also measured by the number of times the music is played, creators have been shortening sounds to as little as 30 seconds to gather huge streaming numbers and revenue.

While the exact devaluation of these streams has not been specified, Billboard reported that functional tracks would now be worth one-fifth of their music counterparts.

The equal valuation of a stream containing white noise and a stream by a renowned artist like Ed Sheeran has been driving controversies in the music industry.

While expressing dissent over this model, Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kync said, "It can’t be that an Ed Sheeran stream is worth exactly the same as a stream of rain falling on the roof."

In an attempt to curb fraudulent behaviour, Spotify also announced it would charge labels and distributors on a per-track basis if suspected "flagrant" artificial streaming occurred. Moreover, the platform will only compensate tracks that generate more than 1000 streams.