Esthero Protests Streaming Royalties In The Middle Of Her New Song

The Canada-born, LA-based singer and songwriter Esthero has been making music steadily since the late-’90s trip-hop era. She’s worked with André 3000, Timbaland, and Brandy. She’s played the voice of the robot computer spaceship lady on Kanye West’s Glow In The Dark tour. But none of that means she’s rich. These days, Esthero is an independent artist, and she has some opinions about the kinds of royalty payments that artists get from streaming services. On her newest song, she puts her money where her mouth is, interrupting the song itself to talk about those royalties.

As Musically reports, Esthero just released a new track called “Gimme Some Time.” It’s the B-side to her recent single “Baby Steps,” and it’s a lovely piece of downbeat digital pop. But halfway into the song — or into the version of the song that’s streaming on services like Spotify and Apple Music — Esthero breaks into the song, introduces herself, and says that she hopes you’re enjoying what you’re hearing. She also hopes you’re enjoying it so much that you’re willing to buy the uninterrupted version on her website: “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 livable income.”

It’s a bold and attention-grabbing move. But Esthero has a lovely speaking voice, and the music continues to play underneath her announcement, so she somehow manages to avoid messing up the song’s mood with her entirely reasonable request. Here’s the version of the song where Esthero calls out Spotify:

You can only get the uninterrupted version of “Gimme Some Time” with the “Baby Steps” vinyl-single pre-order. And there are some different pricing tiers for it. For instance. $300 will get you an hour-long Skype call with Estero. For $500, you can hike with her in Griffith Park. $1,000 gets you a dinner date along with the single. $2,000 gets you a private booth karaoke party. Details are here.

Tags: Esthero