At the beginning of this week Spotify increased its premium subscription rates, a move that was announced after massive job cuts and a surge in active listeners from previous months. In response to pressure from competitors Apple Music and YouTube Music who raised their prices this past year, Spotify's CEO says “The market landscape has continued to evolve since we launched, (...) So that we can keep innovating, we are changing our Premium prices across a number of markets around the world. These updates will help us continue to deliver value to fans and artists on our platform.”
While the price increase is in part a response to competitors and pressure from investors, it also comes at a time when Spotify has made optimistic comments towards the support of artists and song writers. Amidst decades of controversies and battles over royalties for music creators, the increase in premium subscription hints at the opportunity at restructuring to pay artists and song writers more. Yet, while the uneven distribution of global recorded music revenue has been apparent since the beginning of streaming advances, its unclear whether platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube are attempting to bridge the gap in artist royalties. The challenge of artist compensation on digital streaming platforms is that labels and global companies are accumulating profit while artists suffer from this unbalanced system. Optimism aside, it is likely that these changes will lead to more profit for the platform, at the cost of direct artist revenue.