I Run an Indie Label. And Here’s What Spotify, Rhapsody & Zune Are Paying Us…

If Spotify, Rhapsody, or other streaming services won’t answer the question, maybe indie labels and artists will.  These figures are from an independent catalog of 87 albums and 1,280 songs, as posted on The Trichordist.  On Spotify, they seem consistent with reports of per-song payouts of roughly one-third to one-half of a penny.


per source: “Payable to Artist/Label via digital distributor for sales from July to December, 2011.”

(Rhapsody purchased Napster last year, though the Napster name continues in various European territories.)


15,159 plays

Payout = $437.58

$0.028 per song

Ratio = 25:1 iTunes Song Download



30,238 plays

Payout = $479.07

$0.016 per song

Ratio = 43:1 iTunes song download.



50,822 plays

Payout = $668.57

$0.013 per song

Ratio = 53:1 iTunes song download.



798,783 plays.

Payout = $4,277.39

$0.005 per song.


Ratio = 140:1 iTunes Song Download


73 Responses

  1. Voice of Reason
    Voice of Reason

    Streaming is basically a monumental rip off to artists and labels. Highway robbery. Another way to screw the people that put these very weasels in business..the MUSICIANS AND SONGWRITERS..same as it ever was..same as it ever was…

    • FarePlay

      Spotify represents an early stage template for legalized cloud based file sharing and the pitfalls and challenges that lie ahead. It also represents an opportunity for artists to step forward and demonstrate they have the power of choice and who they choose to do business with in today’s world.
      “You do realize that when fans can create playlists in the cloud and share them with their friends; the incentive to purchase music will drop, again, dramatically. Spotify’s record shattering low licensing fees and the resulting drop in sales will be a devastating 1 – 2 punch and many will not survive.
      While these licensing fees may work for Spotify’s business plan and the revenue projections they are using to raise $200M in VC financing; they sure as hell don’t work for musicians. Unless you are one of the major labels holding a 20% equity share in Spotify. I wonder if that had any bearing on the licensing fees Spotify negotiated? What do you think?
      Can we stop, Spotify, Amazon, Apple, etc.? No way. but in this clearly diminishing revenue future artists have power, the power to withhold their music from these services. Can we stop them? No. Can we force them to the negotiating table for higher licensing fees? Absolutely.
      Spotify has clearly set a very, very low compensation bar and if allowed to continue unchecked will set the standard for cloud based licensing going forward. I saw yesterday that Neil Young and Patti Smith just licensed their music to Spotify in foreign markets. I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach.
      Are we so resigned to failure and power that we just capitulate in the hope that everything will turn out ok? Do we simply adapt and embrace the future, as musicians, as our compensation goes from rivers to “streams” to a vapor “cloud”?
      Or at some point do we say I’m not caving this time, I’m going to stand up for my future.”

      • blackswansongs

        Seems like the complaints about transparency and about streaming music ripping off artists are misplaced.

        I don’t understand why no one seems to understand that Spotify is operating as all private businesses do in concern to the screwed up system that is American (and global) copyright & music licesning law.
        BMI and ASCAP do not reveal their rates and exact figures either. They do not reveal how they calculate their payments. This affects artists much more signifcantly than the sole income stream of streaming music.
        If all the people pissing and moaning about Spotify and streaming music would get together through a 501(c)4 and start lobbying Congress to rewrite the DMCA…and update all of the copyright laws so that they fit the modern world…then Spotify, BMI, ASCAP, Rhapsody, Zune and the like could be legislated to conpensate copyright holders with more transparency.
        Right now, all of this complaining just sounds like luddites pissing in the wind…like listening to people who don’t vote complain about politics.
        The poorly written DMCA is real the problem.

        • steveh

          “update all of the copyright laws so that they fit the modern world…then Spotify, BMI, ASCAP, Rhapsody, Zune and the like could be legislated to conpensate copyright holders with more transparency.”
          What precisely do you mean by this?
          What precisely do you propose?
          I am eager to hear what you mean because for the moment I haven’t got a clue what you are specifically proposing…

        • nighthorse

          I’d ask you to lead the charge against spotify, you have such a big heart and great attitude but when I read where you say “if all the people pissing and moaning about Spotify would get together.” Well, I noticed you didn’t include yourself as having a problem with them, but you do have a problem with ASCAP and BMI, and rightly so, but you are blind to the fact that streams aren’t just not paying, but have created a river of other small streams to bleed the writer and artist to death.
          I’d be glad to lead the charge against the whole damn bunch if someone will give me the vehicle with the keys.

        • Robbie Fields
          Robbie Fields

          Show me the money!
          On June 23, I will get my latest BMI quarterly accounting and on the low side it will be the equivalent of 3 years’ Spotify income and BMI pays the artists, the songwriters their 50%+ directly.
          An old saying in the music business is if you’re getting half of what you think you’re owed, you’re streets ahead. It’s when you’re getting 10 cents on the dollar, you’re getting ripped off.
          With Spotify, my guess is we’re at the nickel level.

          • sasebastian

            And I get my quarterly BMI payment of ZERO dollars every quarter for last 20 years, regardless of how often my songs are played. But my monthly SoundExchange payment of > ZERO, for each and every play (Spotify, Rhapsody, Zune, Napster, you name it) since signing up a year ago.

          • Robbie Fields
            Robbie Fields

            There’s no question that Sound Exchange is better at paying artists than labels. In fact, all it requires is the artist registering with no further formalities. It should be as straightforward for labels but it isn’t, as often the “label” is a production company licensing to other labels who are inadvertently credited with the digital performances still vested in the original label.
            BMI/ASCAP/SESAC require in addition to the writer affiliating, the songs to be cleared (registered) individually. I see you’ve done that for 43 compositions under the name Sebastian Gnolfo.

            In spite of your being an accomplished bass player, all the releases you list in your online bio are highly obscure.
            Extrapolating from the number of your unique “listeners” on a particular streaming service, I doubt if you’re selling more than a handful of paid downloads per year.

            But even so, the relatively low level of plays for your recordings (albeit in the 000’s) will result in a modest amount of money coming your way from SoundExchange, as you coyly enumerate >zero.

            For Atomic Brother, you have a very low “play” to “subscriber” ratio of circa. 2, which suggests listening once is enough for many. A normal ratio is 5.

            As a contrast, your former band Otto’s Daughter has an extraordinarily high ratio in excess of 50 from a base of few subscribers which suggests someone pumping their plays! A normal ratio is 5.
            BMI does try to compensate for unsurveyed works. I suggest you make your case directly to them and you may be surprised by an ex gratia payment.
            Meanwhile I’ll quote your manifesto :
            Radio works much differently. I hate radio royalties. They could be so simple, but they aren’t. Each radio station counts the exact number of times your song was played on the radio and provides this to the performing rights organization (in this case ASCAP, BMI, OR SEASAC). The PRO collects the licensing fee and the data. They then pick a sample period (typically 2 weeks) from each quarter and count only the songs played during that time. If you’re outside the sample period you’re out of luck. The PRO then applies the magic algorithm and if your song was playing in any of the sample periods you’ll get paid your royalty. (BTW-this is often true for TV, too.)

            I’ve had songs from over a dozen releases played on commercial and college radio all over the States, some of which have made CMJ, Gavin and Hits! charts and have never received a single royalty payment from radio. Since the advent of streaming I’ve had songs from less than a dozen releases played on a dozen streaming services and I get paid royalties.

          • Old Fashioned Fan Lady
            Old Fashioned Fan Lady

            I would like to chime in here just because I, as a music fan, want to know how best to support my favorite artists and help up and coming artists I find that I like. It seems like streaming, scrobbling, etc., might doi more harm for the artist than helping.
            I don’t have anything to do with the music business other than enjoying the music I choose to buy on CD, vinyl when I can find it, or an occasional mp3 album or single download from Amazon or i-tunes. I prefer to buy the CD, or vinyl (truly I love vinyl), and the joy of the experience of reading the liners as I listen for the first time. I guess I am a dying breed though.
            I do what I can to support my favorite artists, and I am always looking for new artists to enjoy. I don’t look to radio for that any more. I like my music real, and not so electronically and technologically manipulated to the point of sounding like what I call “Robotica”. I want to hear pure voices with no autotune. I can’t find that on the radio at all any more. With a few exceptions the music played on main stream radio these days is rubbish.(IMO) To that end, I have learned how to scrobble and stream, thinking I am helping, but is that actually the case? Am I just putting more money into the hands of the people who really don’t need it?
            Is there a better way? I usually buy multiple copies of CDs and singles I like, and gift them to family and friends. I love my music and I read all the articles I find on the state of the music industry today and it worries me for all musicians and singers.
            In my ignorance it seems that you have to be with a major label, or be a very long term indy to get radio play at all. A major label not only sucks the artist dry financially, but wants control over everything the artist records. A new indy artist has a tough time breaking through. If I am wrong can someone clear it up for me? I really want to put my support in the best places possible, as on the artists pockets.

          • Robbie Fields
            Robbie Fields

            Thank you for supporting us on iTunes and Amazon!
            As a practical note, on both iTunes and Amazon, there will be a copyright notice listed on the download listing. If it’s the artist or small label that is the primary beneficiary, they will be listed, not a major label.

            With compact discs and vinyl purchases, you’re supporting a large ecosystem with a small percentage theoretically and usually finding its way to the creators. I am very happy for purchasers to buy our vinyl from our licensees, even though we see a relatively small amount at the end of the day. But “small” is a lot bigger than “tiny” as in Spotify!
            If you’re on facebook, join some music oriented groups like this one :
            according to your own unstated taste in music!
            Periodically there is an appeal for funds to help someone battling medical costs, such as this one :
            I also support MusiCares charity for musicians, the only feature sponsored by NARAS (Grammys) that I care about.

          • Georgie Rizzo
            Georgie Rizzo

            A little help from my freinds.
            As a result of a Shindig Magazine article about a vinyl album I recorded in the 70’s, I created an indie label and website for distribution of a re-mastered CD version of my album “georgie only me”. iTunes doesn’t accept record labels with less than 20 albums in their stable and signing on with one of the many rip-off huckster promotion websites wasn’t an option.
            It was a blessing in disguise. The reaction, though slow in coming has paid off thanks to the Shindig article and fans like yourself who restored my faith in the independent American enterprise.
            Thank you

          • dexi

            I understand your struggle as a label. As a person, who enjoys music I feel also deceived. however, I see different problem: Artists are driving cars and posses houses which I will never have. As a student I cannot own music I like because the small amount of money I have is not enough to buy them. Spotify and Zune are the only ways to listen to the music legally. Second thing, American law supports artists, but not the listeners. You should compare the law in Europe and America. In Europe the law stands behind a listener, and still, artists are richer than an average member of a community.
            Hopefully you understand my struggles too.

      • OneWerd

        Sounds spot on to me….. I have a friend that works at google, who was describing the concept of the forthcoming google music. Same concept, cloud based file storage and sharing…. My first response was ” you know what this is going to do to artists, right?”

      • martin c
        martin c

        Did Niel Young and Patti Smith do this? Or did whichever label that controls their music do it. The contract I have from before any of this stuff existed gives me the same percentage from a download as if a record had been made, artwork created, packaging manufactured etc. The record companies are raking in huge profits from back catalogues with contracts written in the days when only physical products existed

      • Da Money-Dogg
        Da Money-Dogg

        All This Digital Stuff Is New To Me ..I KNow Its Here I Know What They Tell Me But I Don’t Know How It Works. But What I Do Know Is That Since I Been Pressing And Distributing My Own Music I can keep track of Whats Sold. I HAve Certain Songs That I Use For Promotional USe Only. So With These Comments I CAn Almost Get The Picture !!!

      • AlexmDrums

        I have a hard time staying objective about anything on that site. Lowery is so strongly oppossed to any advances in digital music, that he often comes off as simply uninformed and unwilling to take the time to adapt. Besides, the whole site is based off of a moot point – an “ethical internet”? That’s like saying “ethical karma”. Ethics only exist in the hands of people, not in the medium itself.

  2. Streaming is a ripoff?
    Streaming is a ripoff?

    Streaming is a ripoff for the artist?
    What is the answer?
    Force subscribers to streaming services to pay $100 a month? How much money will artists get that way?
    How much money did artists get during the alleged salad days of vinyl and CDs when record companies had artists under contract? After the advance and recording costs and promotion and percentages for managers and agents, they got to split a penny 5 ways.
    How many biographies and autobiographies do I have to read of artists in unrecoupable situations?
    Yet you can point your finger at streaming with authority and call it a ripoff for artists. What’s your alternative, asshole?

        • James

          Even without Spotify, the consumer has never had so many options for legally consuming music. Nobody is suggesting screwing the consumer.

          • keygee

            The final consumer should be given only one method of getting music in a legal way. This would heal the industry right away. Sony, Hitachi, Sanyo, IBM, LG etc. – blame them for the piracy growth. They included CD rippers into their devices and encouraged ppl via ads to buy these to rip music into CDs then mp3s, directly. People used what they were sold, then shared what they ripped when te Internet became popular. In both cases there was no strict law to discourage ppl of ripping and sharing. So in fact these companies keep making money on piracy if you can see my perspective.

    • zoso

      the alternative is to pay fairly for access to music. why are you so offended that artists should be paid fairly?

    • Visitor

      The alternative is right there in this article and many more articles on this site. The alternative is sell CDs, downloads, vinyl yourself or through itunes, amazon. The profit difference is shown by a ratio right there in the article. Maybe that was too subtle for you.
      Anyway, it’s a choice that someone who sells music has to make. Stream and get very little revenue or sell direct and get maybe some revenue maybe not

      • Visitor

        Just a slight correction here – this is not an “either or” scenario – virtually everyone who allows streaming on any of these services also has their music for sale on iTunes. Artists make their music accessible in hopes of spreading the word – it is better to have ten thousand people stream your song than no one listen to your music at all. The more people who stream and are exposed to an artist the more will purchase it. The Arctic Monkeys, for example, kickstarted their career by giving away music and the exposure the got from doing so lead to tons of sales.
        So to accurately judge the payout from streaming music one would also have to compile data on how / if / streaming music increases digital sales, ticket sales, etc. but this would be tough data to come by…
        And having said all that, I still believe streaming services should increase their payouts to artists. Another legitimate and substantial stream of income for artists will only help the “music economy” – the industry must understand that these are the people taking the brunt of the financial risk in producing new music – devoting their money in many cases and also thousands upon thousands of hours of their time with no definite payout. All facets of the industry refuse to work for no pay and are very defensive about this – but the ask the most important component, the artist, to work for no pay for many years at the start of their career and then poorly compensate them once there is money to be made.

        • Sad Reality
          Sad Reality

          If I can stream it I won’t buy it…bottom line. Maybe I’ll go hear someone perform live, but why would I buy the track…because I feel bad that the artist is only getting $.00008?

          • LostInDigital

            Sorry but all market researches on the topic show there’s no cannibalization btw downloads and streams. If your music sells, it will generate revenue from various streams (download, streaming, cd sales, live shows…etc).
            Saying streaming impacts download sales is like saying radio impacts cd sales.

          • James

            “Sorry but all market researches on the topic show there’s no cannibalization btw downloads and streams.”
            I’d be genuinely interested to see your source for this, since all logic should point to the contrary.On a purely personal, anecdotal level, I know that I wouldn’t be downloading as much, if anything, if I was paying $120 a year for music.

          • Sad Reality
            Sad Reality

            Thanks for the backup b/c I don’t believe the “streaming doesn’t negatively effect sales” bs

          • LostInDigital

            You’d be surprised to see the stats.
            Ownership is still extremely important for most people (well yes it really depends on some demographic and social factors, but generally downloads are in a good shape despite of streaming services).

          • Sad Reality
            Sad Reality

            Just a couple questions about that market research 1. What was the demographic? I suspect that a large portion was over the age of 30. Did the ages of those involved in the market research acurately reflect all music consumers? and finally who funded/did the research? spotify maybe? if not give us a link.

      • wasabitobiko

        Then be reasonable about the price of a cd.. if they really want to nip this in the bud all they have to do is price point their cd’s at $10.. I’d gladly pay that especially because I get the jacket with that. The problem is and always has been that the record companies control distribution, marketing and every thing else including the musicians under contract.

    • HansH

      You are right. This article puts the emphasis on the per stream rate. But have a closer look the results. Spotify outperforms all other services by miles when it comes to the overall revenue. Let’s use another perspective for the same data.

      Don’t know about the visitors here, but I’d rather haven a full time job that pays me $40 an hour than a job for 3 hours a week with a $100 hour rate.
      In the end the overall revenue is the only thing that counts.
      Of course you can daydream and think what would happen if Spotfy also was able to pay $0.028 per song. That will probably never happen. Why?
      Let’s do some math. About 70% of Spotify’s revenues (advertising + subscriptions) gets paid to the rights holders of the music. This is before Spotify covers their own operational costs (which are still higher than the remaining 30% ) Each month the pay out is calculated based on the revenue and the number of streams.
      How many songs do people stream? 20 songs per day maybe? That would mean 600 a month? Let’s say 700 a month for the sake of an easy calculation. You pay $10 a month, 70% is for royalties, so $ 7 is paid out to labels and artists. Now let’s do the math:
      $7 for 700 streams means $0,01 per stream

      Okay, this is in a perfect world where every user pays 10 bucks a month. You know that is not the case, only 20% is paying. Still Spotify was able to pay $ 0.005 per stream . Not that bad if you ask me, advertising revenues are quite well I take it.
      I do realize that this calculation is oversimplified, but it explains why Spotify just cannot pay more per stream. Live with it our pull your music.

      • FarePlay

        I totally agree with your ending statement. “Live with it or pull your music. My vote? Pull your music and throw a serious scare into the VC community.
        This is your David and Goliath moment or you could just be “virtual road kill” and hope for the best.

      • Really?

        Spotify is currently a music consumer’s dream, and Hans, you are furiously defending it like the consumer that you are.
        I’ll give you credit for that.
        Unfortunately since you’re not on the other side, and have nothing truly invested artistically, financially or otherwise, I find it rather insulting that you’d tell someone to “Live with it or Pull your music”.
        For someone who likes to champion such a forward thinking concept and company, that’s the kind of language we’re used to hearing from a very, very old model and it’s legacy of (quickly diminishing) employees.
        You know this company is notorious for it’s lack of transparency, and since it behooves you, the consumer, you still champion it.

        • HansH

          Really? You are right. The “live with it or pull your music” is a faux pas. I take it back.
          And as for the lack of transparancy I can acknowlegde that. I like Spotify as a concept but not as a company. It’s a real arrogant bunch evading every question about the payment structure.
          What I like is the streaming concept and I am convinced that musicians will benefit from streaming as well. It just takes more time. I hate the constant short sighted focus on the stream rate in stead of looking at the big picture.
          It took four years in Sweden to get 35% of the population to use Spotify and look at what has happened to artists there. In the US not even 1% is using Spotify now. Imagine what will happen if 35% of US inhabitants start using Spotify or streaming services in general. That would be over 120 million users.
          So what I really defend is streaming and not Spotify. To be honest I started to use Deezer next to Spotify and this service has some serious advantages over Spotify. I even think of switching.
          Thanks for correcting me.

          • You realize this is the music
            You realize this is the music

            Spotify does not ever want to publish its rates, nor should they. Just like Netflix or any other subscription service, they are negotiating with their providers (the labels) to get the cheapest rate possible for them to access the catalogue.
            You either negotiate a deal that you feel fairly compensates you for your art, or you refuse to be a part of it. But Spotify is not going to help you set that rate (nor should they), just to take profit out of their own pocket. The argument to force an industry to disclose its pricing structures is in total violation of free trade and fair business practices across industries.

          • HansH

            I do realize Spotify cannot disclose details, but why not paint the big picture? That shouldn’t be to hard?

          • Soundtrackband

            Unless there is a govt/industry set and enforced minimum rate for plays, the gatekeepers/companies can change it to whatever suits them and their profit margins.
            This has happened all over stock photography online. People used to get minimum $50 per image used, then it went to $20, or $5 or 50 cents. There’s absolutely no set standard, and the drive is always for it to go lower.
            Bottom line is, unless you get big enough to start selling out large halls, you’re not gonna make any money in music. You can get that big off of a hit song, and at least Youtube seems to pay reasonably well for videos, but I don’t know why anyone should put their stuff over to Spotify because it just undermines their other online outlets.
            Make great videos, post them to YT, post tracks to the download stores, offer your own music streaming for free ON YOUR OWN WEBSITE.
            THe only possible advantage to streaming is the exposure, but you’re probably better off sending product to college radio etc, where your plays can be tracked by SoundExchange.
            Honestly, if someone thinks less than a penny a song is viable, they should be laughed out of business. The Lady Gaga numbers alone are a giant red flag that these guys are scum. Their proximity to the jerks at Pirate Bay makes me suspicious as well.

        • Sean Mc
          Sean Mc

          I’ve been using Spotify since the day it was made available in the U.S. I’ve bought about 5 albums since that time. I don’t buy albums anymore for the most part. Neither will most people once they have the right setup to use it everywhere. But you what? If the album is really good you’ll get paid more over time. The tunes that become your favorites-maybe you’ll paly that song 1000 times or more in your lifetime. I spend so much more money on live shows now because A. I have so many more favorite bands than before because I’m exposed to so much more music than before Spotify and B. I have much more money to do so because of spotifys superlow fees. Who the f&%k decided we should have to pay $20 for a garbage cd you’ll listen to once and discard whithn a year anyway. We should all be thankful we can explore new music so affordably and if your music is good you are gonna make money. If you have one ok songs and the rest of your album sucks you will make a fraction of a penny and deservedly so. The albums you listen to most over time should earn the most profit and with Spotify they do. The best music earns the most money. Could or should it be more money? Hasn’t the artist always been raped by the industry regardless of the medium? At least this is a good deal for all consumers and many artists. If I listen to your album once and find nothing there worth a second listen why do you think thats worth more than a penny? You should pay me for wasting my time

          • Really?

            You’re covering a lot of ground here, but unfortunately a lot of your points are just unfounded. What’s happening now for artists is that a huge portion of the music ecosystem that’s been in place is being removed. So, to say you can go to more shows is great, however album sales offset touring costs, and honestly while some things make touring easier it’s still a sharecroppers game at most levels, and when you get to the highest level you’re dealing with an entire new realm of gatekeepers and big business.
            The artist that is getting the hurt the most by the issues we’re talking about here are not the artist that came from the land and time of $20 cd’s.
            You say you have “more favorite bands” which to me is a strange oxymoron or misnomer in a way. Not that it’s a bad thing to honestly enjoy more music, however that does spread things thin. I’m not arguing that this isn’t good all around, though we’re in a time where artists and labels are trying to figure out how to survive within that paradigm.
            What streaming services are doing is allowing you to explore new music more affordably, however it’s also changing the way you value music and content in general. That might mean you find more of your “favorite” band, that might mean you find more bands that “suck” as you say. It’s the listeners decision to listen, and then it’s an option to support them further but there is no one, two, or even three ways that equal a valuation or direct income stream for an artist or label anymore.
            The best music does not earn the most money, it’s never been like that ever and now it’s more real than ever.
            What earns money is ubiquity and unavoidability.
            We should pay you for wasting your time?
            This is the type of entitlement that the new media and technology has spawned.
            Teach your children well….

    • WILL

      There’s been lots of talk down the years about a ‘music like water tax’ built in to monthly isp bills. Even Sky and Virgin in the UK have or were going to launch such a service with a monthly fee attached.

      Whatever, these figures should be the knock out punch to anyone thinking of getting into artist management. You have to be a true music lover to get into it me thinks.

    • Members Only
      Members Only

      What does asshole have to do with it? I liked your reply so far, being a musician myself, but why asshole as your last word? Are you a CEO of one of the streaming co’s? Very immature indeed…

    • Mike Hunt
      Mike Hunt

      As a kid in the 1950s, my friends and I fed jukeboxes almost every day. What a ripoff that must’ve been for artists. Jukeboxes everywhere in the US. A guy came around who switched out the records and took the quarters. Somehow I doubt that Fats Domino or Bill Haley shared that $ at all; moreover, unlike today’s pissed-off performers, the stars of the 50s and early 60s had no forum to air their beefs

      • luc77

        I was not a kid in the 50s, but I have the feeling that was the time period when people didn’t own records at all. TV was owned by a very few people as well as radio, and the jukebox had the important function of provide an affordable way to listen to music.
        Therefore you shouldn’t feel guilty: it was another historical picture.

        Nowadays, people can effort to buy music, but they don’t want to because they think “music is freedom, everybody should be able to listen to it”.

  3. Roger Bixley
    Roger Bixley

    If you really want a (forgive the pun) apples-to-apples comparison of the iTunes Song Download ratio, you need to show this data broken down by territory. It’s misleading to compare revenue that’s almost entirely derrived from non-US customers to the price a US customer pays for an iTunes download.

  4. hypebot hater
    hypebot hater

    Sorry guys – streaming versus download comparisons are wrong. if you want to do a real comparison, look at streaming versus radio play comparisons.

    • Run Spot Run
      Run Spot Run

      While there’s some validity to that statement, you need to look at what these streaming sites are.
      Spotify is an ON DEMAND streaming site, which is nothing at all like radio…
      Besides, you can compare streaming sites to other streaming sites, and Spotify pays the worst, while offering much much more than just ‘streaming’. IMO they should be paying songwriters multiple of what ‘regular’ streaming sites do, not fractions…

    • Nope

      On demand streaming is tantamount to pseudo ownership. Therefore comparable. Radio streaming with limited control like pandora can be compared to radio.

      • Roger Bixley
        Roger Bixley

        If you want to get technical, even iTunes sales are “pseudo ownership”.

        But they are not comperable to permanent downloads. If anything they’re comperable to tethered downloads, where once you stop paying, you stop listening.

        • radio & records vet
          radio & records vet

          if you really want to get technical, even physical cd/vinyl/tape sales are pseudo-ownership. We bought a personal use license is all. The medium never mattered.

    • Flippant but...
      Flippant but...

      …what is the answer to this question? I see there’s a debate as to whether Spotify is more like radio or owning, but just for context, what are artists getting for radio, and jukeboxes as long as we’re on the subject…

      • sasebastian

        It’s mystery what the BMI/ASCAP magic numers are. But oversimplfied it’s like this.
        The PRO takes a 2-week sample of music played each quarter. The number of plays of each song is counted against the grand total of all plays. A magic algorithm is applied to determine payout. However, songs that don’t meet a certain plays threshold are not paid out. Songs that are not played in the sample period, are also not paid out.
        Versus online & satellite (paid by SoundExchange) every play of every song is counted monthly. The number of plays of each song is counted against the grand total of all plays. A magic algorithm is applied to determine payout. All songs are paid out. No threshold applied.
        Radio digitally reports all plays of every song to BMI and ASCAP. They could pay the same as SoundExchange but they don’t.

        • Casey

          I’m curious, do you know if SESAC does the same as BMI and ASCAP? I never hear much about SESAC.

  5. Casey

    A major part of Spotify’s lower rate is the free service, which none of these other companies offer. If Spotify paid the same rate as any of these others, they would be in even deeper financial trouble than they already are. Though I think that free plays should cost the same, regardless.

    Let’s not forget that there are mechanical royalties and performance royalties from these services as well, per play. The labels wouldn’t see the money, but someone does.

    • HansH

      Spot on on Casey! Spotify will never be able to pay much more per stream.
      BTW In the statements I have the rate for every stream is $0.005 so for paid and free.


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