Spotify’s Troy Carter at Music Biz: On streaming, “the best songs win…(but) the value chain is broken”

8D3267CF-4823-4D6A-8D0F-87DBE27FB015[UPDATED] Speaking at the Music Biz 2017 conference in Nashville on Wednesday, Spotify’s director of artists relations and former Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter offered high but unvarnished praise for his employer and the power of streaming to transform music discovery, artist marketing and the entire music industry.


“The best songs win” in the streaming world, declared Spotify’s Troy Carter on stage at Music Biz 2017, as he criticized radio and  other industry gatekeepers who still think that they can “pick” the hits. “We are just scratching the surface,” of how big Spotify can grow both to “satisfy fans and help artists” gain traction.

Far from just data or pitches from insiders, Spotify curators scrape SoundCloud and music blogs looking for new discoveries, says Carter, who added that data is being used to make Spotify a more “anticipatory” service that delivers the right music at the right time.

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Spotify for Artists will become an essential tool for all artists and labels to plan marketing, releases, touring and more, predicted Carter. But in response to our direct question as to whether Spotify would be adding direct to fan messaging tools, as Pandora Amp has, Carter would only say that that this was “Spotify For Artists 1.0.” 

“the value chain is broken”

Asked about streaming payments to artists, Carter conceded that they are not big enough, but he didn’t blame Spotify or its competitors.“I would say that the value chain’s broken. And I think what needs to happen is we need to reconfigure the entire value chain.”

To illustrate his point, Carter used the example of a songwriter who wrote a hit song on an album and got the same amount of money from publishing royalties as the person who wrote the worst song on the album. “Now the hit songs really matter,” said Carter, “whoever that manager is has to rethink the value chain.”

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