There have been some high profile cases where the creator owned the rights and pulled out. Spotify also didn't have rights to quite a few big names for years for the same reason. Beatles I believe was one. One of my favourites, King Crimson was another. AC/DC, Metallica, etc, were in the same situation.
So yes, you can stay out of Spotify. Of course a smaller band won't get any exposure but I can't see how this is different to the era where labels controlled who gets to make records. At least now any band can now put their music to Bandcamp which is a million miles from the days when they had to pay for a small batch of LPs or CDs and then try to sell them themselves.
Profit sharing could and should be fairer. Not sure I'd call Spotify I thief for that, though. I don't personally understand why the most successful artists who already make f*ton of money from gigs need a proportionally larger slice of the pie from Spotify as well.
YT/Google is a bunch of asshats for sure. They screw over their own content creators as well. More and more people use Patreon to get money because YT has made it impossible to monetize the videos on their platform. My favourite channel, World War Two is one such. Because it has Nazis in it YT doesn't promote it and the videos have no ads. So they are totally dependent on Patreon for funding. And that's far from the worst example, some people have had their entire channel (and livelihood) removed for arbitrary reasons.
One of the things with Spotify is that although the company has not made profit, its core owners have personally made good money.
A music maker doesnít sign a contract with Spotify, but with a record company. The record companies grant Spotify, or any other streamer, the rights to upload music. A creator cannot stay out of stream services in any other way but to stop making records completely. Few want to do that.
Of course the whole industry is in transition. The problem with Spotify and other pro rata streamers is not so much in how little they pay, but in that they share the money unfairly.
I have no statistics from Idagio. My own works have been so sparsely listened to there that they havenít so far brought me any payments. I guess they let very small amounts wait until the pile is a bit higher.
A big difference there is also that there isnít a free version of Idagio, funded by advertisements. All listeners must subscribe. Spotify doesnít pay for free listening at all, yet it draws the advertisers money for it.
Itís an interesting question what performers thought about the records a hundred years ago. Afaik, they didnít object them, because endless number of records could be sold without them lifting a finger. Until the age of streaming services, bands and performers gigged to market their records. Now itís the other way round: they must make records to support the live events, although for most itís nigh on impossible to make any profit of record sales whatsoever.
For whatever reason it always ends up with me criticising Spotify when I open my mouth. 😄 I will thus repeat: YouTube is an even bigger villain.
I also think that any artist who has made a contract or signed an extension since Spotify began has no right to complain. They knew what they were signing.
Spotify could not pay any more to artists. Maybe the payments would be spread more evenly but they can't possibly pay unless more people subscribe to the service. How much do Idagio pay artists?
Spotify could improve their system for sure but I'm guessing vast majority of the music listened there is between 3 and 5 minutes. Idagio is probably very different in this regard. Why Spotify pays like that I don't know but remember that the whole service was started by an agreement with the labels who also got shares in Spotify.
Spotify's system is similar to the system where libraries pay authors for the books (Finnish "Lainauskorvaus"). They pay a flat rate for each book. It's just as unfair because it doesn't matter whether the book is 50 or 1000 pages long, only number of loans matter.
There is no going back to times when you could only listen to music once you bought the album except if it was on radio. So hearing anything outside the mainstream was rare. You must remember from your youth how much rock you could hear from the radio in Finland back then.
Good, but long article on Spotify: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/spotify-statistics/
One thing that article doesn't discuss is why the per track pay is so low in Spotify. Could it be because people use Spotify more? If both Deezer and Spotify cost the same and people on Spotify listen twice as much then obviously per track the pay is half.
No doubt things could be better but IMO the key issue is that the whole industry, just like movies and television, is changing. Last such big change happened with the advent of recordings. Wonder what the artists thought back then? People could just buy an album and listen to it as many times they wished instead of coming to a live performance!
In effect, piracy has been made legal, streamers just pay a little to some bigger companies for selling other peopleís music. Spotify - and nearly all other streaming services - pays unfairly. Deezer is about to start paying user centric, which is the first step towards fair trade in music. Hopefully others will follow the suit. Once Spotify does the same, I have no problem with it. YouTube is even bigger criminal than Spotify.
The best system is deployed by Idagio, who not only pay user centric, but also according to the length of listening. Pro rata payers pay the same amount for a half a minute track and a five hour long opera.
The EU should just ban the pro rata payment, because it is unfair exploitation.
Contracts might be bad for artists but they are not making money either as far as I know.
People don't pay if free music is available. That is the core issue. If you go back to before streaming people will just go back to piracy. It's just a lot easier now.
Google has just blocked all Danish music licensed by their prs Koda on YouTube, to blackmail them to a depriving contract. They did the same with the Finnish Teosto a couple of years ago, and tried in both cases to make it look like it were just greed by the rights holders. YouTube doesnít pay proper royalties. In absolute majority of cases, the rights holders donít get a cent. This is theft.
Companies like Google, Spotify, FB etc. are really dangerous, and should be stopped by legislation.