An Amazon Alexa device can help you accomplish a variety of tasks, from turning on smart lights throughout your home to playing music.
If you use Alexa to play music via voice command, you can connect your Spotify account to Alexa so that all your music automatically plays from Spotify rather than another music streaming source. Here’s what you’d need to do.
When you listen to your favorite musicians, accounting is probably the last thing on your mind.
Number-crunching may be the least sexy side of the music business, but for Stem CEO Milana Rabkin Lewis, it’s the key to an industry-wide revolution.
“One of the unfortunate things about the music business is that getting paid isn’t a given,” Lewis told Insider. “There’s this notion of the starving artists … that when you work in music, you’re not necessarily doing it for the money.”
After five years working at United Talent Agency, one of the best artist management companies in the country, Lewis realized the traditional agency model wasn’t working for the majority of rising artists.
“The major label system is really designed to drive superstardom,” she said. “Anyone can make a song … they’re not able to provide this sort of machine that makes superstars every single one of them, so a lot of artists are frustrated.”
On Spotify alone, nearly 60,000 songs are uploaded every day. That’s almost one song every second, the streaming platform reported in February.
While the number of superstars has increased, so has a growing pool of mid-sized artists – musicians who still rely on streaming and touring revenue as their main source of income. Without the backing of large labels, many artists are jumping through hoops for each paycheck.
“Getting people paid wasn’t as big of a problem when there were a bunch of major labels that controlled the whole entire business, and there were 40,000 songs released a year,” she added. “The volume was manageable for humans to be doing the accounting flow.”
Spotify, which has 155 million paying subscribers, generally pays between $.003 and $.005 per stream. Artists need about 326 streams to make $1.
According to Spotify, 13,400 rights holders are making over $50,000 a year – the median salary in the US – from Spotify streaming royalties. Artists who made more than $100,000 per year totaled 7,800, while 1,820 made more than $500,000 per year.
Converting an indie song played one morning in a coffee shop to cash in the pocket of the songwriter, singer, and producer is a lengthy and complicated process that entails different licenses, rate calculations, and publishing deals. For independent musicians, all this accounting is left up to them.
“Royalty accounting has been made to feel complex and burdensome,” Lewis said. “It scares most independent managers, artists and labels, to the point where they punt handling it so no one gets paid.”
Stem is trying to change that. Its automated distribution and payment software allows creators to get paid 3-9 months sooner and saves business managers roughly 15 hours of administrative work per month.
On Stem’s platform, producers, songwriters, vocalists, and promotional partners can split earnings according to personalized percentages and receive payouts on the 15th of each month.
Through “Scale,” a feature launched last year, artists and independent labels can also request advances in the form of a revolving credit line provided by the company’s financial arm.
“The economics are way more favorable to the artists,” Lewis told Insider. “They get to keep anywhere between 80 to 95% of the profits, whereas it’s kind of the reverse if they’re working with a major label deal.”
Last month, Stem launched “Recoup Rules,” an automated accounting option that enables managers to pay out expenses such as marketing or promotional costs before splitting the monthly revenue.
“I know it sounds unglamorous, but until now it’s been a serious pain point for all artists and especially independent ones,” a Stem spokesperson said.
Alex Goot, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose YouTube channel GootMusic has more than 800 million total views said Stem has helped him run his own business.
“I’m an artist who buys a ton of cover licenses, but all of those expenses come directly out of my pocket. With Recoup, I’m now no longer losing that initial capital,” he said.
Lewis told Insider that the value proposition of a major label isn’t what it used to be, causing many artists to operate independently.
“More and more artists are doing things on their own because they don’t need to give up a percentage of ownership to a major label anymore,” Lewis said.
Shares of Apple fell as much as 3% on Friday after a judge ruled that the iPhone maker must allow other forms of in-app purchases for app developers and their customers.
The ruling – which came in the Apple vs. Epic Games lawsuit – means Apple can’t restrict app developers use of external links when directing customers to sign up for a service. Apple forced app developers to restrict sign-ups to within the app store, allowing the company to collect a percentage of the revenue generated from subscription signups and in-app purchases.
The ruling led to a Friday afternoon pop in shares of companies that rely on the app-store to generate business. Shares of Netflix, Spotify, Roblox, Bumble, and Match.com all popped following the ruling, with some shares up as much as 5%.
The ruling said Apple is “permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.”
But the ruling also favored Apple in some aspects, and the judge said that “the court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws.” That could represent relief for some investors who are concerned about the ongoing anti-trust investigations into Apple.
Apple said in a statement: “As the Court recognized ‘success is not illegal. Apple faces rigorous competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world.”
The company plans to appeal the ruling. If the ruling does stand, Apple’s revenue generated from its app store could fall significantly, as the company warned late last year.
The Apple vs. Epic lawsuit stems from Apple’s decision in August of 2020 to remove the popular video game Fortnite from its app store after Epic developed its own in-app payment system to circumvent Apple’s 30% commission rate.
Advertising and related services employed 447,300 workers in August, up 3.2% from a year ago, according to BLS data.
Companies also hire a lot of people from abroad. They’re required to disclose information including salary or salary ranges when they hire people under the H1-B visa program, giving insight into what companies are willing to pay for experts.
Insider rounded up its reporting on what some of the hottest companies pay for marketing and advertising roles by analyzing government data for 2020 and 2021 that companies are required to file for visa-holding employees.
Snap marketing and sales staff pay can reach $110,000 per year
Spotify pays marketers $95,000 to $190,000 in base salary
Spotify has become the podcast home to heavy hitters including the Obamas and Joe Rogan, and it’s been steadily hiring as it grows its podcast ambitions.
Spotify offered staffers on US work visas in marketing roles annual base salaries between $94,000 and $190,000. The positions included associate director, corporate development, $185,000; and global agency lead, $157,000.
Netflix’s resilience despite the pandemic and rising competition has helped make it one of the most desirable places to work in tech.
The streamer has been hiring around the world for a variety of positions, from marketers in Seoul to animation roles in Los Angeles. Unlike other tech companies, it doesn’t pay performance bonuses, but pays high salaries instead.
Netflix offered staffers on US work visas in marketing roles annual base salaries ranging from $193,000 and $330,000 per year. They included $193,066 for a manager of brand partnerships and $210,000 for a marketing operations manager.
Intel’s growth has been slowing as it faces growing competition, but its new CEO is trying to turn things around.
It announced plans to invest $20 billion in new factories in Arizona, it’s investing in research and development, and is racing against other tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, and Google to build quantum computers, among other moves.
For all of this, Intel relies on marketers as well as researchers, managers, and software and hardware engineers.
It paid marketing engineers in California $159,536-$229,960 while marketing engineers in Oregon made $110,032-$150,750, for example. Elsewhere, a marketing manager in California can expect a salary of between $124,413-$196,550.
Spotify aired Joe Rogan’s podcast touting ivermectin as part of his COVID-19 treatment, despite the Food and Drug Association (FDA) calling the drug “dangerous” in large doses and warning people not to use it to treat the disease.
On September 1, the “Joe Rogan Experience” host and UFC commentator drew backlash for announcing in an Instagram video that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was using the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat the illness.
“We immediately threw the kitchen sink at [the illness], all kinds of meds,” Rogan said in the Instagram clip, which has amassed over 6.5 million views. Rogan has over 13 million followers on the platform.
He then listed a number of drugs, including ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, an antibiotic, and a steroid, that he took to treat his diagnosis.
A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan)
The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both issued warnings about the dangers of using ivermectin, which is commonly used as a horse dewormer and has been adopted by people trying to self-treat coronavirus infections. The drug has been approved to treat some conditions in humans, like head lice, but COVID-19 is not one of them.
Ivermectin-related calls to poison control centers have increased during the pandemic, especially in summer 2021, when the drug made headlines. The dewormer can be toxic in large quantities, causing overdose symptoms including hallucinations, blurred vision, and even seizures.
On Tuesday’s new podcast episode, which aired on Spotify, Rogan spoke out against negative news coverage of the announcement and defended his use of ivermectin.
“Bro, do I have to sue CNN? They’re making shit up,” Rogan said on the podcast, appearing to reference CNN coverage criticizing his Instagram statement. Later in the episode, Rogan specifically mentioned CNN anchor Jim Acosta as someone who criticized his ivermectin use, although Insider was not able to verify whether Acosta did a segment on the podcast host.
“I literally got [the ivermectin] from a doctor. It’s an American company. They won the Nobel Prize in 2015 for use in human beings,” Rogan said on the podcast.
The scientists who discovered ivermectin did win a Nobel Prize in 2015 – for reducing the incidence of the parasitic diseases ivermectin is meant to treat.
Some people have obtained off-label prescriptions for ivermectin from doctors, with dispensed prescriptions increasing up to 24-fold from pre-pandemic times.
Others have found creative ways to self-medicate. A recent CDC report described two ivermectin-related hospitalizations: one patient consumed injectable ivermectin meant for horses, and the other took ivermectin tablets of unknown strength purchased online.
Taking doses meant for large animals increases the risk of overdose and unpleasant side effects. Again, no health agency recommends ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
Rogan, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has a long history of sparking outrage for making explosive remarks on his podcast. In an April episode of the podcast, Rogan spread misinformation about COVID-19 and discouraged young people from getting the vaccine, although he later recanted his remarks, as Insider previously reported.
In a September 2020 podcast segment, Rogan made transphobic comments about Caitlyn Jenner, falsely speculating that living with the Kardashian women somehow influenced her identity as a transgender woman.
Journalist Matt Flegenheimer called Rogan “one of the most consumed media products” in the world and someone who has “the power to shape tastes, politics, medical decisions” in an article for The New York Times in July.
Olivia Rodrigo’s hit single “Driver’s License” is the newest addition to Spotify’s Billions Club playlist, an initiative launched by the company “to celebrate the world’s most listened to tracks and the artists behind them.”
The playlist released in late May includes every song with over 1 billion streams on Spotify, a benchmark currently met by 167 songs. For context, more than 60,000 new songs are uploaded to Spotify every day.
Spotify said members of the growing club receive a silver plaque that takes inspiration from the “iconic framed record” award given to artists when a song or album is certified platinum or gold.
The Billions Club serves as a who’s-who of the highest-earning artists, featuring pop singers Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, and Post Malone, as well as Vance Joy, Bad Bunny, and Foster the People, among others.
While some of the music industry’s top players are breaking into the Billions Club, smaller artists are asking the streaming platform to raise its streaming royalties.
Streaming represents over half of global recorded music revenue, according to Spotify’s “How the Money Flows” video explainer, and Spotify accounted for more than 20% of recorded music revenue in 2020, a company spokesperson told Insider.
Spotify, which has 155 million paying subscribers, generally pays between $.003 and $.005 per stream. Artists need about 326 streams to make $1, and 1 billion streams equals roughly $3 million in royalties.
The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, a group of more than 27,000 members of the music industry, are calling on Spotify to increase its royalty payment to at least a penny per stream.
In response to recent pressure, the Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek launched the company initiative Loud and Clear to “shed light on the complicated economics of music streaming.”
According to the site, 13,400 rights holders are making over $50,000 a year – the median salary in the US – from Spotify streaming royalties. Rights holders who made more than $100,000 per year totaled 7,800, while 1,820 made more than $500,ooo per year, according to the site.
Competitor SoundCloud announced this March that the platform will pay artists royalties based on overall listening time through “fan-powered royalties” as opposed to the “pro-rata” system commonly used.
In April, Apple Music said its streaming royalties pay double what Spotify pays. Both platforms, though, calculate royalty rates on a streamshare basis, not a per-stream basis. As Spotify explains, it calculates “streamshare by adding up how many times music owned or controlled by a particular rights holder was streamed and dividing it by the total number of streams in that market.”
The World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized agency within the UN, last month released a report investigating the economic and legal considerations facing artists in the digital music marketplace. The report included a comparison of streaming royalties across platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon, and more, and found “royalty payments are both unsustainable and out of balance compared to the value transferred to the streaming services.”
A Spotify spokesperson told Insider the royalty pool paid to music rights holders from Spotify has grown by 50%, while the number of artists generating $10,000 or $50,000 has grown by more than 80% since 2017.
“That means the number of artists achieving these levels is growing significantly faster than the overall size of the royalty pool, which we think is great for the industry and is enabling even more artists to make a living from music,” Spotify added.
Every year, Spotify releases a few special playlists that auto-generate based on your tastes. They’re fun extras that let you share your unique tastes with friends and even discover new tracks.
Related Article Module: How to find and use Spotify’s new ‘Only You’ feature to get a musical astrology reading and see your unique tastes
One of the most popular of these playlists is the Pet Playlist. Based on musicology research and a pet-focused survey that Spotify conducted, the Pet Playlist generates a list of songs that you’ll enjoy, and your pet might too. The playlist’s songs are picked according to what kind of pet you have and their personality.
Here’s how to make a Spotify Pet Playlist, and get jamming with your small friends.
How to make a Spotify Pet Playlist
You can do this on your computer or phone, but it doesn’t use the actual Spotify app.
1. In an internet browser, head to Spotify’s Pet Playlist homepage and click Let’s Go. If you haven’t already, you’ll be asked to log into your Spotify account.
2. Pick what kind of pet you have, and then click Next. You can choose a dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.
3. Use the sliders to describe your pet’s personality. You’ll have to pick between Relaxed or Energetic, Shy or Friendly, and Apathetic or Curious.
6. Finally, type in your pet’s name and – if you like – upload a picture of them.
7. Spotify will take a moment to generate your playlist. Once it’s done, click Listen Now to start playing it. You can also click the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram icons to share a preview of your playlist on social media.
Once you click Listen Now, the playlist will be saved to your Spotify Library so you can easily find it again.
We pored over public data to get a snapshot of Spotify’s salary levels. The data, released by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification, shows how much Spotify offered to pay employees who it wanted to hire in the US through work visas.
Spotify offered certain US staffers between October 2019 and March 2021 annual base salaries ranging from $60,000 to $260,00 for a variety of roles, according to the data.
Our full analysis breaks down salaries for jobs including marketing, research, engineering, finance and administrative roles.
A former Spotify boss who is credited with helping to create the Swedish music streaming platform said Spotify was never built to pay artists.
“Spotify was created to solve a problem,” said Jim Anderson, who also co-founded About.com, at a 2019 music industry conference in New York, according to a newly released recording of the event. “The problem was this: piracy and music distribution. The problem was to get artists’ music out there. The problem was not to pay people money.”
Anderson’s comments were recorded by singer-songwriter Ashley Jana, who didn’t share the recording until this week in fear of retribution from the music industry, according to Digital Music News.
The comments now made public follow a growing push for music streaming platforms to raise royalties, or the amount artists are paid per stream. “Artists are really broke,” Jana told Anderson at the 2019 event. “We’re not making any money off of the streams.”
Anderson used Taylor Swift, a long-time advocate for new musicians, as an example, saying she “doesn’t need” an increase in streaming royalties.
Ek wrote that one of Spotify’s goals is to help artists make a living by creating opportunities for more musicians to reach more listeners, saying fans ultimately determine the financial fate of musicians.
The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) organized international protests against Spotify this March. The company did not meet the union’s demands such as the one penny per-stream royalty rate.
A quick look at your bank statements will most likely reveal a consistent theme in each month’s transactions: payments to Netflix, Apple Music, or Amazon Prime.
A generation of consumers, and I’m one of them, have become addicted to subscription services.
Simple and no-strings-attached, subscription services seem to exist for every possible product out there. And now cars are joining the subscription surge.
The auto industry has experienced significant upheaval over the past decade.
Auto executives have dedicated most of their time and attention to adapting the physical and technical make-up of the cars they produce, such as shepherding from internal combustion engines to hybrid or electric in response to a more climate conscious market.
However, changing consumer attitudes are fuelling another major shift for the industry to contend with – and automotive executives are slowly waking up to it.
The industry has long been known for its resistance to change and may find this shift in consumer behaviour difficult to navigate. The good news is that it requires is a marketing shift rather than an operational one, which is easier to manage.
Manufacturers that already cater to a younger audience will naturally find this shift in marketing easier.
In September 2020, Volvo became one of the first brands to launch a direct-to-consumer subscription model. Sixt, the international rental service, also launched a subscription service in the same month.
For a monthly fee, Volvo gives motorists access to a car with everything but fuel included in the package. The simplicity of this appeals to younger generations and urban dwellers who see cars with less emotion and romance than those of an earlier vintage.
For the baby boomers, cars represented post-war prosperity. The VW Beetle became a generational icon in the 1960s and 1970s.
For Generation X who entered their economic zenith during Margaret Thatcher’s era of yuppies and flashy excess, cars symbolized status and wealth Millennials were a trickier sell, but were ultimately attracted to cheaper, smaller and urban-friendly vehicles to suit their lifestyles and budgets.
The lifestyles and budgets of Millennials and Gen Z are no doubt behind the reason why they are by far the heaviest users of subscription services.
To many, the beauty of the car subscription model is that it confers the convenience of car travel provided by ride-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft and ride-sharing ones like ZipCar while still giving customers their own car they don’t have to share that they can get to know and become attached to.
There is also an argument that, as zero emission vehicles become more popular, the subscription model is better suited to electric vehicles.
Over time and after excessive use, electric vehicle batteries become less effective. This means that you’ll progressively get less mileage from a single charge.
Rather than replacing the entire vehicle, which would be highly expensive and inefficient, we may see battery leasing become the modus operandi for motorists in the near future.
While Volvo’s entire car subscription package has created buzz, Renault are leading the way when it comes to battery leasing. When purchasing a Renault Zoe, buyers can choose to lease a battery on a subscription basis rather than owning it outright, reducing the price of a new car by nearly $10,000.
With the Netflix model becoming so popular in other industries, it is only logical that consumers will begin to demand this level of flexibility for more high-ticket items as habits continue to shift.
Dr Andy Palmer a former CEO of Aston Martin and COO of Nissan. He holds non-executive positions, including chair of electric bus company Switch Mobility, vice-chair of battery manufacturer InoBat and chair of EV scooter company Hilo.