In its short history, Spotify has been held up as both a paragon of, and a parasite on, the modern music business. Making as much music as possible available to listeners in exchange for a small monthly subscription, or even just ad revenue for a majority of users, Spotify has always come in for criticism from a segment of the artists it purports to serve.

As a part of this ongoing struggle to convince creators that theirs is the horse to back in the race to win streaming music market share, Spotify last week held closed sessions with artists and their reps in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York City. While the emphasis was on open dialogue and finding common ground, much of the meeting time ended up being a full frontal assault, albeit verbally, on the platform’s economics and business model.

The fundamental challenge for Spotify is that it doesn’t pay enough, at least as far as artists are concerned.

Even at a maximum subscription of $9.99/month or the discounted $4.99 rate, which together some 10 million users have opted into, the company itself Whether or not streaming is the answer to the music industry’s is a subject that raises some frustration, but Spotify’s version of that future is especially contentious.

Artists and their advocates are working hard to keep Spotify honest, even if they don’t believe in the platform’s long-term viability. The Trichordist does the math for Daniel Ek and co in this post, before going on to suggest why Spotify will struggle to meet its own objectives in another.

Put simply, many musicians don’t believe that Spotify will pay them properly until it raises royalty rates and/or diversifies its service so that users pay more for unlimited access. For its part, Spotify has shown little interest in shaking up a model that is simple for fans to understand and which is showing great promise for founder Ek and his investors.

In the meantime, many industry analysts see only success for both streaming and the current industry leader. Some point to Spotify’s success in the UK as a blueprint for the North American market, while others focus on the opposition of artists as a modern form of Ludditism, harking back to a business model based on record sales that cannot be resurrected in the face of the digital revolution.

The outreach by Spotify, while well-meaning, has only served to infuriate many artists further still. The company positions itself as an ally to creators, on a mission to pay musicians for their work. The growing reality is that a small handful of investors are reaping the rewards, while artists currently receive just a fraction of the worth of their music. If Spotify is unwilling to raise the pay rate for artists then it will have to move quickly to find some other way to placate those whose work it bases its business on.

The potential is there for all to see, but without full artist buy-in the service risks hemorrhaging music if they pull their catalogs, which in turn puts As popular European rival Deezer moves to enter the U.S. market, there’s no better time for Spotify to seek a compettive advantage that not only proves popular with listeners, but which also brings artists back to its side.