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New Spotify feature offers to boost artist exposure for reduced royalties

Spotify is testing a new algorithm which would see artist exposure boosted in exchange for more money.

It feels like just yesterday that the music community banded together to fight for better royalty rates from the streaming giant, but now Spotify is at it again. The platform has announced it’s testing a new algorithm which could lead to them acquiring even more money.

‘Discovery Mode’ is a new feature in which artists can choose to boost a song’s algorithmic placement – in exchange for lower royalty rates.

Spotify
Photo: Mahmut Serdar Alakus

When an artist has a song they want to highlight, they can opt into discovery mode. However, Spotify does not make any guarantees that the song’s appearance will be boosted, and if it is, they will pay out a reduced rate for those streams.

Spotify has recently been under heavy fire for their incredibly low royalty rates – but the company sees this latest feature as a step in the right direction.

A Spotify spokesperson told The Verge, the idea is for artist teams to be able to earn a positive ROI [Return On Investment] by using the tool”.

“In this new experiment, artists and labels can identify music that’s a priority for them, and our system will add that signal to the algorithm that determines personalised listening session.

If the new algorithm were to work, hypothetically it could give musicians the chance to increase the exposure of particular tracks and albums, which in turn could attract more listeners in general, all leading to slightly more money.

However, it’s easy to imagine artists feeling pressured into using ‘Discovery Mode’, just so they aren’t overtaken by others who are using it – in the end simply losing money.

The announcement comes only months after musicians demanded increased royalty rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the streaming giant is announcing a new way to take money from them.