Spotify has recently rolled out the pilot program for its newest behind-the-scenes feature, Discovery Mode. Through this program, artists can accept lower royalty payouts in exchange for a higher position in the app’s algorithm.
“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 personalized listening sessions,” Spotify said about the pilot program.
“This allows our algorithms to account for what’s important to the artist — perhaps a song they’re particularly excited about, an album anniversary they’re celebrating, a viral cultural moment they’re experiencing, or other factors they care about.”
Members of the U.S House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property have raised issues with this program. If successful, lawmakers belive that this program could leave consumers with fewer options and artists with less pay. In an effort to make their voices heard, Reps. Jerry Nadler and Hank Johnson Jr. sent a letter to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.
“This may set in motion a ‘race to the bottom’ in which artists and labels feel compelled to accept lower royalties as a necessary way to break through an extremely crowded and competitive music environment,” the letter reads.
“Depending on how the program is implemented, there is a further concern that accepting lower rates for this boost in Spotify’s algorithm may not even guarantee more airplay if virtually all commercial artists are also doing the same.”
Ultimately, Spotify must answer lawmakers’ questions by June 16. If not, the House could ask Spotify executives to come in to testify.