Despite being valued at over £6 billion, Spotify has repeatedly come under criticism from musicians from Thom Yorke to Taylor Swift for its paltry royalty rates. But the reality for younger, less famous artists is that they usually have to put up with tech companies taking advantage of them because there are so few sources of revenue available. One way of making money for young artists, however, is to play at corporate events — which is exactly where California rapper Vince Staples found himself at SXSW yesterday.
The outspoken California rapper was booked to perform at Spotify House, but he used his performance to criticise the streaming service, as the Austin-American Statesman reports.
“Shoutout to Spotify,” Staples said, “Thank you for giving me this check to make up for what you've done to me and all my musical friends.” Later, he told the crowd that Spotify pay him a quarter of a penny for each stream of his songs, and to “listen to your favorite album 1,000, 2,000 times so everybody can get an album sale.”
Elsewhere, Staples took digs at the audience at the show. “I’m not the most polite person on stage,” he said, “I know you’re all at SXSW like, ‘Let’s watch the black people rap’.”
Staples’ criticism-from-within isn't without precedent: a few years ago, LA punk duo No Age took time out of their Converse-sponsored show to play a presentation criticising Converse’s practises.