Spotify just announced some big news for artists – and their bank accounts.
The streaming platform has long enabled artists to highlight a piece of music on their profile via the ‘Artist’s Pick’ headline.
Now, Spotify has launched a sister version of this feature, ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’, which allows acts to pin a specific destination on their profile where fan can pay them ‘tips’.
Artists wishing to use their Fundraising Pick to encourage their fans to pay money to good causes are welcome to do so – either via GoFundMe, or direct to a range of causes supported by Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief project.
However, artists wishing to use Fundraising Pick to encourage their fans to pay them money, can also do so – via a link to one of two endorsed e-wallet services, PayPal.me and Cash App.
The timing of the launch of ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ is obviously apt, amid a global pandemic that has wiped away any hope of live touring income for artists, while also hurting physical music sales and licensing revenues.
Said Spotify in a blog post today: “Given the urgency and impact of the COVID-19 crisis, we’re working as quickly as we can to develop this new product and get it out to as many artists as possible. However, we’ve never built a fundraising feature like this before. We consider this a first version that will evolve as we learn how to make it as helpful as possible for the music community.”
Time will tell how committed Spotify is to the long-term idea of fans being able to ‘tip’ artists money directly on its platform, or whether these features will be retired after (fingers crossed, everyone!) the COVID-19 pandemic dissipates.
Online fan ‘tipping’ has become commonplace on platforms such as Twitch (via the platform’s ‘Cheering’ feature), and has also become a key tenet of Tencent Music Entertainment’s business in China.
“Given the urgency and impact of the COVID-19 crisis, we’re working as quickly as we can to develop this new product and get it out to as many artists as possible.”
YouTube launched a ‘Fan funding’ virtual tip jar feature for creators in 2014, but later retired it. In 2017, YouTube essentially replaced this tip jar with ‘Super Chat’, which enables fans to pay to have their live chat messages highlighted; creators earn a share of this money.
One of Spotify’s new partners, Cash App, has pledged a $1m fund for artists in the US and UK on the service as part of today’s announcement, which has the double benefit of helping acts during a difficult time… while also monetarily incentivising them to use Cash App rather than PayPal.me.
How that fund works: Spotify for Artists users that submit their “$cashtag” username as their Artist Fundraising Pick — and secure at least one monetary contribution through Spotify — will receive an extra $100 in their account from Cash App, until a collective total of $1 million has been contributed.
According to Spotify, artists from all over the world and at various stages of their careers have helped launch the Artist Fundraising Pick.
Tyrese Pope is fundraising through Cash App.
He said: “I’ve been using Cash App to raise money for a while but now that listeners can contribute through Spotify, it’s going to make a big difference. With touring now impossible, it’s never been harder for artists to make ends meet, so the extra contributions from Cash App and listeners alike will really help when we need it most.”
Boy Scouts (aka Taylor Vick) is also fundraising through Cash App.
She commented: “Like so many others right now, I am out of work as our tours have been cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19. Any help is appreciated as we keep in our efforts to find new ways to get by.”
“I’ve been using Cash App to raise money for a while but now that listeners can contribute through Spotify, it’s going to make a big difference.”
Benjamin Ingrosso is fundraising for Musikerforbundet.
“I want to be helpful in the ways I can during these difficult times,” said Ingrosso. “I’ve seen lots of my fellow musicians lose work due to the current situation. Most of us don’t know when we will be able to go back to work.
“Music is something that always helps us in rough times like these as well as being there with us to celebrate all the happy moments. I’m hoping that this fundraising for Musikerförbundet can help us get through this and get us back up on the stage, when all of this is over, to bring happiness to people with live music again.”
Marshmello is fundraising for MusiCares: “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. Let’s all do our part to help those who need it most!”
Spotify said: “This is an incredibly difficult time for many Spotify users and people around the world — and there are many worthy causes to support at this time.
“With this feature, we simply hope to enable those who have the interest and means to support artists in this time of great need, and to create another opportunity for our COVID-19 Music Relief partners to find the financial support they need to continue working in music and lift our industry.”
Spotify for Artists admin users can select Get started on the banner at the top of their dashboard to submit their Fundraising Pick.Music Business Worldwide