By now, fans of Weird Al Yankovic are quite familiar with the comedic singer/songwriter’s trademark blend of sardonic wit and sarcasm. However, if you are one of the lucky few of the Velma voice actor’s 1.1 million monthly Spotify listeners to earn a top listener badge, you likely got your own personal humorous aside from Weird Al earlier this week.
Weird Al “Thanks” Spotify
According to a now-viral video circulating on social media, Weird Al recorded a thank you message to his fans as part of Spotify’s year-end ‘Wrapped’ campaign, wherein the comedian blasts the music streaming platform’s terrible payment figures for artists.
In the final weeks of the year, music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music, offer year-end data breakdowns for their users, offering fun listening metrics with colorful backgrounds perfect for sharing your music taste with friends and family alike on social media.
Spotify And Personal Thank Yous
This year, Spotify opted to task some artists with recording their own personal thank you messages to accompany the Wrapped charts, designed to only be seen by top fans who streamed those artists in high volumes. In Weird Al’s case, this meant thanking listeners for helping him reach over 80 million streams in 2023.
Weird Al’s Earnings
In classic Weird Al fashion, the Grammy award-winning performer told his fans that his 80 million streams accounted for a grand total of $12, remarking that the payout would be enough to purchase a nice sandwich.
While Weird Al’s comments are quite funny, some have quickly pointed out that the performer’s words ring true, as Spotify is estimated to pay artists a whopping $0.003 to $0.005 per stream.
This means that it would take over 300 streams to earn a single penny, 100,000 streams to earn a total sum of $3,000, and Al’s 80 million streams earned him somewhere in the ballpark of $240,000.
Number Is Exaggerated?
While these figures may not constitute the exaggerated $12 figure referenced by Weird Al in the video, it reinforces issues plaguing the music industry, especially regarding major music executives and streaming developers taking in millions while artists who work to produce hits get nothing but crumbs.
There is currently no way to know for sure how much revenue was truly generated by Weird Al. However, previous business models, such as physical sales and digital purchases would have amounted to more than $240,000 for 80 million listens.
Weird Al Hits
On the upside, a one-time purchase accounts for more upfront revenue while streaming allows artists such as Weird Al to continue making money from decades-old tracks such as “Amish Paradise,” “Fat,” “I Love Rocky Road”, and many others.
Unfortunately, artists who don’t have a decades-long backlog of hit tracks and a massive fanbase of over a million unique monthly listeners are put at a distinct disadvantage, with Spotify announcing plans to eliminate payouts entirely for tracks with fewer than 1,000 annual streams.
State Of Music
Though Weird Al can make a comfortable living from his classic songs, his comments regarding the state of the music industry and its abysmal payment models are sure to spark a recognized sigh from musicians worldwide.
Even if the artist only planned to make a brief joke to characteristically spice up his Spotify Wrapped video message, he certainly struck a nerve with music fans everywhere.