Three-time Brit Awards winner Eddi Reader has urged her fans to lobby the company to ensure that artists and performers get a greater cut of the income generated by streaming platforms.
Reader, who has won widespread acclaimed for her interpretations of the work of Robert Burns, suggested that musicians who are currently unable to go our on tour face being driven out of the industry.
She has spoken out months after fellow Scottish singer KT Tunstall warned that musicians who were unable to play live were being “completely screwed” by streaming platforms.
Glasgow-born Reader, who shot to fame as the singer of Fairground Attraction in the late 1980s, has been touring and recording as a solo artist since the early 1990s. She was awarded the MBE in 2006 for services to singing.
Growing numbers of musicians have been speaking out over the impact that streaming is having on the troubled industry. MPs recently launched an investigation into the business models of firms like Spotify, Apple and Amazon.
More than £1 billion in revenue was generated from 114 billion music streams in the UK in 2019. However, it is thought that artists can be paid as little as 13 per cent of the income that is generated.
It is estimated that Spotify pays an average of only £0.0028 (or 0.28p) per stream to “rights holders”, which encompasses both record companies and artists who put out their own music.
Reader, who is taking part in this month's Celtic Connections festival, told her Twitter followers the business model operated by Spotify was “capitalism in its cruellest form”.
She said: “I think big business will always be about profit before love.
"Spotify has won the marketplace, but until the law says ‘you must pay the artist you use better’, these cowboys will milk it for money regardless of the damage they do.”
In a lengthy post on her Facebook page, Reader added: “The musician that earns through music uses the earnings to create more music. The musician that doesn’t earn through music must find other work, which stops the ability to focus on making new music.
"The person who wants to support a favourite artist today uses Spotify to provide money to the artist for listening pleasure and hopes for more from their favourite artist.
“There is now no touring or wages for playing live. There is only this Spotify, who are monopolising the streaming and downloading of music.”
Reader told The Scotsman: “Public perception is what must shift – we ain’t all billionaires who create millions and millions of streams.
"Spotify micro-manage how they pay musicians then never micro-manage how they collect from people who want to pay their favourite artist. But it’s a great service and now it has monopolised the industry.
“I wanted to rekindle the old ‘industrial relationship’. We humans spent decades honing those relationships between manufacturing and selling. These two guys have seen a way to profit and I was shocked to learn they were worth £5 billion each.
“I think public and government pressure is all musicians can hope for to protect our industry and its future earning possibilities for future young musicians.”
Spotify has been contacted for comment.