In an article released today about the average Spotify employee making over $160k many of the issues independent artists face are brought out. The people who create the content that many of these content distribution services deliver are not being compensated fairly. The argument that “this is the highest royalty we’ve ever paid” is a distracting and misleading statement that still says “we don’t want to pay what we should pay,” especially since most of that money goes to labels and not to independent artists.
Digital Music News: Average Annual Salary for a Spotify Employee: $168,747
What artists can do is either take their music off of Spotify completely like Taylor Swift or use Spotify and services like them as strictly promotional tools. Keep your good stuff off these services and either sell directly from your site or distribute them through services that pay a higher royalty.
The situation with independent artists is similar to the situation in many industries worldwide. Workers are not paid a livable wage for the amount of work they provide. Economies can’t grow if only a few people are benefiting. There has to be a rising tide for all involved in order to sustain growth, otherwise things will become precariously unbalanced and fall apart.