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Spotify now allows listeners to donate directly to artists impacted by COVID-19

Rachel Mirakova | The Ticker

Along with negative financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic comes innovative ways to bring in income. Streaming giant Spotify is helping artists deal with hardships during the pandemic in a modern way with the debut of a new COVID-19 relief project, The Artist Fundraising Pick.

The new feature on Spotify is a widget that will show up at the top of artist profiles. Artists can link their Spotify profiles to a, Cash App or GoFundMe account.

By pinning the feature to their profiles, it will highlight a fundraising destination where fans will be allowed to send cash to the artist or a charity of the artist’s choice.

Spotify has stated that it hoped the feature would help artists affected by the lockdown.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spotify has engaged our partners across the industry to discuss how we can support artists and the creative community who have been deeply impacted by the effects of the devastating virus.”

“First and foremost, this feature enables artists who are interested in raising money to support themselves, their bands, or their crews, to get the word out to their fans on their Spotify artist profiles,” Spotify wrote in its official announcement of the initiative.

EDM artist Marshmello was one of the first artists to sign up, encouraging his 33 million monthly listeners to donate to the MusiCares Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was set up by the Recording Academy to support unemployed musicians.

“So many of us have been affected by the COVID-19 virus, and now more than ever we need to stand together and help each other. MusiCares is helping all working musicians, producers, songwriters, engineers and so many,” Marshmello said in the announcement.

Partnered artists have championed the promising impacts of the new feature, as well as journalists such as Ashley Carman, a writer for The Verge, who stated that, “If someone visits an artist’s page every day and they see that fundraising link, they might be inclined to donate. At the very least, it builds awareness of a fundraiser in a place where people are most interacting with the musicians whose work they enjoy.”

Where there is support, there is some opposition to Spotify in calling out how the company’s latest initiative for supporting artists hasn’t also been seen as a priority for the company. Some artists feel that the company should make a bigger impact by increasing the royalties it pays its musicians.

Last month, a petition was created by music artist, Evan Greer that called for Spotify to triple its royalty payments following the loss of earnings that occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for the company to donate $500,000 to Sweet Relief’s COVID-19 fund that helps artists “in part because of Spotify’s exploitative pay practices.”

The petition, which has over 2,000 signatures out of its 3,200 goal, states that Spotify is “continuing to exploit musicians by paying next to nothing for streams, even while there are more and more people at home listening to music. This is a moment when Big Tech companies need to do their part to help.”

Spotify has yet to respond to the petition’s demands. Instead, the Swedish company has separately pledged up to $10 million in donations to organizations supporting artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including MusiCares and the U.K. charities Help Musicians and the PRS Foundation.

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Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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