Snoop Dogg Revealed The Depressingly Low Payout For A Billion Streams That Got Him Interested In NFTs

For the past few years, Snoop Dogg has been one of the biggest advocates for NFTs while also criticizing the current streaming model. In 2022, after securing the rights to the Death Row Records catalog, he removed most of it from streaming services and kept them off until earlier this year. Meanwhile, he told fans he wanted to make Death Row an “NFT record label” and maneuvered to have his supergroup Mount Westmore’s first album released as an NFT on Gala Music.

In a new interview, he revealed what prompted his interest in NFTs: Only getting $45,000 from 1 billion streams on Spotify.

Appearing on the podcast Business Untitled, Snoop explained that creators were using his likeness and name to promote various products and although he was mad at first, his embracing them allowed every one to make money “and not have to pay Apple 30 percent… to directly get it, sell it, and resell it. That was like real estate.” The difference, he said, was “transparency.”

“That’s what the music industry and the film industry doesn’t have, so this was a way to show transparency,” he said. “‘Give me a song,'” he said from the perspective of a traditional label exec. “‘I’m taking 60 percent ’cause I’m putting it out for you, you getting 40 percent. That may sound like a lot, but you just made $100,000.’ In the streaming world… They just sent me some shit from Spotify, where I got a billion streams. My publisher hit me. I said, ‘Break that down, how much money is that?’ That sh*t wasn’t even $45,000… when [NFTs] came out, I could tell an artist that same song that you put out traditionally that didn’t make no money, give it to me. Every time you sell it, if somebody else sell it, you get 10 percent of it.”

As he points out, blockchain technology allows this moeny to be directly funneled from the point of purchase to the artist without having to go through admin at rights holders (which could not only delay a royalty payment but heavily eat into it, as well). This was actually the exciting use case for the tech that made it seem viable in the first place, and while the NFT craze derailed it somewhat (the apes were really dumb, sorry not sorry), that end case is still in play, offering artists an avenue around the streamers, which have notoriously low payouts for artists.

While Snoop’s $45,000 claim seems… mathematically iffy, at best, his point is still valid. Spotify has taken a lot of heat lately for its comically low payouts, so much that the company announced sweeping changes to free up more money in the royalty pool after some less than scrupulous creators found ways to game the system (of course, it also fired over a thousand employees, so… yeah). Since most of Snoop’s most popular music pre-dates streaming, it could just be that a lot of hands are grabbing pieces of the pie before he does — another legacy of the lopsided major label system (for the record, Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group). It’s fortunate that he’s found a new way to revitalize his original revenue stream, even if he’s got plenty of others, these days.