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Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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How Does The Growing Number Of Tracks Released On Spotify Affect The Music Industry?

Digital music streaming has reached a new milestone. According to the CEO of Universal Music Group, Sir Lucian Grainge, more than 100,000 songs are now being uploaded to Spotify daily. This number far surpassed the 60,000 milestone more than 20 months ago in February 2021 and the 20,000 mark back in early 2018, highlighting the massive “congestion” in the already crowded music streaming space.

Whilst the democratisation of music means that artists can easily upload their music without having “gatekeepers” as the middlemen, the growing number of songs uploaded will inevitably overwhelm streaming platforms’ storage costs, affect music discovery for the listeners and further expand the complexity of the algorithms used to surface tracks on playlists. 

For the listeners, having a radical number of new music uploaded to Spotify each day could severely dilute the efficiency of discovering new music. If an average track falls within three minutes, it will take over six months for the listeners to get through all the latest music released in just a single day! This staggering figure highlights how the listener’s experience could be severely affected, especially when discovering new artists and music. 

For the smaller bedroom artists, having a plethora of tracks uploaded to Spotify daily would mean that they would need to cut through the noise and build a solid fan following for their songs to receive attention. CEO of Warner Music Group, Steve Cooper, also noted, “The complexity of being able to separate one’s music from the other 99,999 tracks uploaded that day is incredibly complex and incredibly difficult”. 

This tricky situation has also earned the criticism of prominent artists like Ozzy Osbourne, who made a critical remark recently to display his disapproval of the streaming platform for its royalty payouts, “Spotify is a fucking joke”, he laments that the music platform has not been supportive of artist’s creativity all along, making it difficult for any creator to make music and earn their financial keeps with the different changes happening in the music landscape.

For the record labels, the majors are optimistic that artists would rely more on the services that the companies can offer. To distinguish their music, record labels can leverage the economies of scale and size of their operations to elevate the visibility of their artists in the changing landscape. Lucian Grainge added that the majors like UMG “would only become more vital in navigating the enormous traffic (plus “associated content” on social platforms)”. 

On that note, what can be done to alleviate the stress of overcrowding music platforms with the mounting number of tracks musicians are putting out each day? In the long run, the optimistic view would be to tap into the potential of blockchain technology to pave the way for an alternative option in music distribution. However, new advancements in an ever-evolving digital landscape would come with challenges. Many artists and listeners still lack the skills, knowledge, and accessibility to these alternative platforms. This ultimately means that more discussions should be had around this issue to highlight the importance of keeping the industry sustainable.

Words by Sheila Lim

Posted On 5 December, 2022