As music streaming giant Spotify prepares to go public tomorrow, CNBC welcomed an expert on the service’s royalty structure: Jack Stratton, the mind behind Vulfpeck. During the roughly five-minute conversation, Stratton spoke with Squawk Alley‘s Carl Quintanilla about Sleepify, the new currency he uses to measure Spotify’s pitiful artist payouts, and more.
In his trademark deadpan, Stratton offered a variety of parables and new concepts to help illustrate his ideas on the subject. Of course, the segment also featured his usual awkward pauses, off-kilter jokes, and quirky remarks, which coaxed befuddled laughter out of the hosts on more than one occasion.
In the interview, Strattion explained a currency of his own division, “pities,” which are worth 1/100 of a penny and are needed to measure the payout for a song play on Spotify (which he says amounts to about 60 pities). He also explained what he thought would need to happen to make Spotify’s public offering a good investment [Spoiler: it doesn’t look promising].
Spotify has long been the subject of musicians’ ire for their paltry and often ambiguous artist royalty model. In 2014, Stratton devised a way to game the Spotify system with Sleepify, a totally silent Vulfpeck album. The band urged their fervent fan base to play on repeat while they slept to generate passive income, which they promised to use to fund a free tour.
Vulfpeck was able to bring in more than $20,000 and fund a brief run of admission-free dates before Spotify pulled the album. As Stratton explains, “It was removed under the terms violation that ‘the artist shan’t make money.’ That term.”
As Quintanilla noted at the end of the gloriously bizarre interview, “Jack, I think you made your point, uh…over time…with this. We thank you for your time today. ”
Watch the full video of Jack Stratton’s CNBC Squawk Alley segment below.
Jack Stratton CNBC Interview Segment
[H/T – CNBC]