A bold plan for Apple to win music streaming back from Spotify

Jack Stratton, of the independent band Vulfpeck, has taken to YouTube to offer, in an entertaining diatribe, a bold plan for Apple to take the music streaming crown away from Spotify. Spotify has more than double Apple's number of music streaming subscribers.

Spotify currently offers artists what Stratton calls a "70/30 pro rata" model. They take the entire pool of subscription money and distribute 70% to the various participating artists, pro rata based on each artist's share of the total streams.

Stratton says that the 70/30 is an arbitrary split for iTunes that Steve Jobs "blurted out" on the spot.

He proposes that Apple change that split to what he calls the "90/10 fan centric" model. In his plan, Apple would take each subscriber's monthly fee and distribute 90% to the artists that subscriber listened to that month (pro rata based on streams, I assume). Each individual "fan" has an equal effect on the artist's distribution, instead of heavy listeners having an outsized effect compared to light listeners.

So if you're in a coma for 29 days out of the month, and on the last day you wake up and steam The Final Countdown once, Apple takes their 10% [of a $10 monthly streaming fee], and then that $9 left, that goes to that artist of The Final Countdown.

That would be the band Europe getting that windfall.

Stratton says that the "fan centric" aspect of his proposal solves "pro rata" streaming fraud, in which bots and streaming farms are used to artificially inflate streaming numbers. With the "fan centric" model, a small number of accounts can't fraudulently stream lots of music to direct huge payments to certain artists.

And he believes that as a less diversified company than Apple, Spotify won't be able to match that 90/10 split.

While it seems to me that Spotify has a significant advantage with consumers with their more social platform on which people share music and playlists, Stratton thinks that the "90/10 fan centric" model will win over listeners because they know that their money is going to their favorite artists. And artists will prefer it and so will promote it.

Artists want to come home. They want to come home to Dada Apple. Okay, we've been trapped in a lime-green Airbnb-font Swedish prison for ten years. We wanna come home, okay. We're ready… This would set off a massive artistic renaissance. People would be making more money to reinvest in their projects. …

Listen, Apple was built on music. … You get this artist ecosystem back to you, and you're selling more stuff. I think this may be the way to disrupt Spotify. I think that is the next major disruption.