Esthero interrupts her own track to protest streaming royalties


Canadian artist Esthero has found a novel way to make her views known about streaming royalties: within a track that she’s released on streaming services.

One minute and 37 seconds in to ‘Gimme Some Time’, she interrupts the music. “Hello there, sweet listener. So, I really hope you’re enjoying my song. This is Esthero by the way. But I hope you’re enjoying it enough to go over to… and purchase the uninterrupted version,” she says.

“It’s really hard as an independent artist to make money, and Spotify and other streaming services only pay about .003 to .008 cents per stream. It’s really not a liveable income. So once again, I really hope you enjoy my music, and I hope you enjoy it enough to actually go and support and buy the song from me…”

Esthero currently has just over 52,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and the track has been played just over 3.2k times at the time of writing.

While it’s unlikely to get boosted by being chosen for any of Spotify’s big playlists, it’s already picking up off-platform attention, with approving tweets from artist Nitin Sawhney and Ivors Academy chair Crispin Hunt – the latter encouraged fellow musicians to “smash it into the charts”.

On her own website, the uninterrupted version of ‘Gimme Some Time’ is available as part of the pre-order for the vinyl version of her new track ‘Baby Steps’.

The campaign offers some other rewards for fans prepared to pay more. $300 gets them an hour-long Skype call with Esthero to get advice on songwriting and production; $500 gets them a hike with her in Griffith Park; $1,000 gets a dinner date night.

$2,000, meanwhile, gets a private-booth karaoke party: “Yes, I’ll do my spot on impression of Fred Schneider. Yes, I’ll also do my impression of Bjork singing Sinatra. I’ll rent the room, you just bring yourself and three friends!”

Written by: Stuart Dredge