It’s one simple question. But getting Grooveshark to answer it was a complicated affair – and ultimately, one that produced a very complicated answer.
Attempt #1: Email
Digital Music News (to Grooveshark SVP Paul Geller): How much does Grooveshark pay artists, labels, or other rightsholders per on-demand stream? On any song?
[two attempts, no answer]
Attempt #2: @ Digital Music Forum West
Friday, Q&A session immediately following a presentation by Grooveshark SVP Paul Geller.
Digital Music News (Paul Resnikoff): “Right now Grooveshark has money coming in. I’m curious to know on a granular basis – on a per on-demand stream basis – what is the rights holder receiving? What is the artist getting, what is the label getting – per stream, per actual song?”
Geller (from stage): “So all of the contracts that we’re doing now are rev-share based, except for those with the PROs. The PROs get their statutory rates, and so do the publishers for interactive. And, the rest of them is just a pro-rata share. So I think that’s the common way to go about it now, I think that’s the only way that you can subsist on this type of money. And that’s why I think that we have to be creative about how to get more money into this ecosystem, because I don’t think anyone sees those numbers and is really inspired by them, I think people look at them and say ‘well this is a soft landing for the music industry,’ it’s ‘hopefully we don’t have to lay off too many people.’ And that’s why I think that Grooveshark is out there trying to be creative about how to infuse the industry with more money in ways that I don’t think are commonplace right now.”
Digital Music News: “But if I’m an artist coming onto Grooveshark, what should I expect? What kind of check should I expect if I get – let’s say – 100 plays?”
Geller: “I think there are plenty of independent artists out there that can expect to be paid a good amount of money, if they’ve gone it alone or gone without a label and they’ve promoted themselves in a way that is effective and you know – they’re big. So if you’re looking for a per-stream rate number…”
Digital Music News: “Yeah, something, some number.”
Geller: “Well I can’t give you a number because it’s really hypothetical. But I can tell you this, though: moving forward, we’re going to be completely transparant about how people are paid. And you can log in as an artist, you can see how many streams you’re getting. And that artist payment system is going to be completely on-demand, so when we roll out this direct-to-artist payment system, you’re not going to need a label. You don’t need a big label to claim your money, that’s not what we’re trying to do. This is an open platform where anyone in the world can distribute their music anywhere in the world. And I think the licensing question is a question – it’s complicated. We’re aggressive about licensing and when we go directly to the artist, the artist has complete control. You have complete control over what you put on Grooveshark and what you don’t.”