We’re an Indie Label. And This Is What Spotify, YouTube, Beats, Rdio, and Google Are Paying Us…

streamingpayoutindieq42014

 

This is from a smaller indie label, based in the United States, with global streaming distribution through a major digital distributor.  This is what they got paid on average, per-stream, from all of their streaming partners between October 1st and December 31st of last year.  These are just the numbers from a spreadsheet for one label for a specific pay period.

We’ve ranked it from best to worst.  This is before they paid their artists.  Here’s what it looks like graphed out.

perstreamgraph

 

A few notes.  YouTube appears to include some heavy payouts from YouTube Music Key, the beta-launched premium service.  Beats, Cricket, and MySpace are US-only.  ‘Microsoft Zune Music’ is exactly what appeared in the statement and is North American only (no idea beyond that).  KKbox is Taiwan-only; Deezer is in most countries but not the US.  All others are in multiple countries.  

72 Responses

  1. Name2

    Are you ever ever ever ever going to differentiate the on-demand from the fed streams in any of these copious charts and spreadsheets?

    Are you ever ever ever going to provide the raw number of on-demands so we can differentiate the marketplace lusers from the marketplace abused?

    Reply
    • The YouTube # is an Error

      There’s something up with the YouTube number, it’s not right and it won’t hold. The rest is fairly consistent.

      Reply
      • Sarah

        It does seem very inconsistent with the other YouTube numbers I’ve seen – except perhaps for a YT number that represented only payouts from Music Key, rather than from the main ad-supported YT and MK combined.

        If the YT number is actually primarily due to YT Music Key, then I suspect the higher rates simply reflect low traffic at this time (lower traffic = revenue split amongst an artificially low number of streams, as jw explains below). If not, it’d be interesting to see how they make the numbers work so well when it’s the same model as Spotify.

        Of course, all these questions could be resolved if these services would just be reasonably transparent. Trying to piece the picture together from snapshots is not likely to result in an accurate understanding.

        Thanks to the label for sharing the information 🙂

        Reply
        • Paul Resnikoff
          Paul Resnikoff

          Sarah, you’re correct on that, I really should have clarified this aspect earlier. The YT numbers include some very low, ‘regular’ payouts from the main service, interspersed with some very high, Music Key numbers. I think these Music Key numbers are abnormally high numbers based on very low volumes and you will not see those levels continuing too far into the future.

          Reply
      • KS2 Problema

        The YT payouts probably reflect so-called ‘signing bonuses’ paid to get highly desired labels into a service. As I understand it, not surprisingly, artists don’t tend get much or any of that passed along to them. Of course, as a number of articles and breakdowns have pointed out in recent weeks, many labels take a very large slice of the streaming pie even as true independent artists (self-owned labels, as it were) take more or less the whole pie.

        Reply
      • Name2

        Spotify – even the premium – doesn’t have to be songs on-demand. You can request “radio” based on an artist, playlist, etc.

        The mobile app also goes out of its way (to say the least) to encourage the user to “shuffle play” – even after you’ve selected an album.

        I’m not sure what is behind the economics of the latter, but I’d bet good money that the streams pushed out in the former situation don’t result in the same, full, “on demand” royalty.

        Reply
        • Jon Hockley

          I would love to see the difference between On-Demand and Fed music. A download is a download but a stream is so much more.
          Did they click on the song by mistake? did they listen to the whole song? do they click on the same song repeatedly? was it in a playlist but the listener was out of the room at the time? All these have different values and need to be represented so that the wanted music doesn’t subsidise the unwanted music.

          Reply
          • jw

            There’s no way to differentiate between active & passive consumption when it comes to streaming, technologically. It all evens out over the course of hundreds of millions of plays, anyhow. I don’t see that being an issue.

          • Name2

            ??

            Historically, the payouts are different on an individual fed vs. demanded stream.

          • Me

            Payouts from Spotify’s radio service go through SoundExchange (like most internet radio services), so they won’t be included in statements from the label’s distributor. These rates are strictly for on-demand streaming services. The Spotify rate seems to be in line with the normal rate for Subscription streams (Ad-Supported Spotify streaming rates are much lower).

          • jw

            By active/passive consumption, I mean whether or not the user is paying attention, or even present when the song is played.

          • Jon Hockley

            The trouble is we are not talking consumption also browsing. Someone listening to 10seconds of a song should not pay out as much per minute as someone listening to a whole song.

            Example
            You have a bad song, Throw in lots of hype a million people click it, hate it, never listen to it again (This is browsing) Artist gets paid.
            You have a good song, Throw in lots of hype a million people click it love it listen to it again (This is consumption) Artist gets paid. Except their are less royalties because the disliked music is sucking it up.

            It is technologically possible. For example, youtube knows how much of a stream someone listens to. Spotify have also limited how many on demands stream a free user can have in the past.
            Again, evening out over a million plays is ludacris. The numbers game only benefit labels and distributors but not the artists.

          • Jeff Robinson

            That information is on the Audiam site as Jeff Price outlines the Youtube system as it relates to music.

  2. jw

    Guessing that Microsoft Zune Music is just Xbox Music… I’m sure when they changed the consumer-facing product, they kept the distributor partnerships in tact & the distributor just never updated the name in their software.

    Interesting about YouTube music key. Wonder if the payouts come from users not yet fully adopting the service for regular listening, i.e. $9.99 being distributed across fewer premium plays per month. Also wonder to what degree this might affect Beats payouts. I still have yet to meet someone who uses Beats. I’ve had a subscription since day one & haven’t used it for months. So I’m sure my payments are really beefing up the payouts.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Pretty good? 🙂

      Again: If this were true it would not only save the industry, it would start a goldrush. Everybody would make music again.

      Reply
      • Adam

        Yeah. Because so many people have given up making music. Nothing new coming out at all anymore…

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          “Because so many people have given up making music”

          Indeed, the industry has been cut down by 50% since 1999. That’s just a fact…

          And yes, people would obviously start investing again if YouTube paid 0.04 per stream.

          But it doesn’t. Not even close.

          Let’s see what happens when Videscape comes out of beta.

          Reply
          • jw

            >> Indeed, the industry has been cut down by 50% since 1999. That’s just a fact…

            Has it really, though? Obviously recorded music sales has gone down, but at some point labels switched to 360 deals & started bringing in new revenue streams. Someone commented here a few days ago that he worked in major label merchandising & they had unprecedented growth in sales during this recorded music sales drought. (Of course, that’s easy to say, considering there wasn’t really major label merchandising before 360 deals, so that growth is actually just cutting into what would traditionally be artist profits… a revenue stream that already existed. But with this incentive, you can’t help but think that the major label muscle has grown the overall merchandise pie.)

            Could it be that the overall industry is doing better (if not much better) than the recorded music sales figures would suggest, only labels have found a way to take an even larger cut of overall revenue? Artists are at a disadvantage, inherently, not being business people. And labels are traditionally ruthless in their quest for profits… the streaming picture tells all there. Huge revenues are being generated, but the artists aren’t seeing them.

            Perhaps a much larger picture than just recorded music sales needs to be painted.

            >> Let’s see what happens when Videscape comes out of beta.

            lmao! lol.

        • Paul Resnikoff
          Paul Resnikoff

          Because so many people have given up making music.

          Actually, the amount of music being made has massively increased in the digital era, despite massive drops in royalties and monetization.

          Reply
        • Gregorio

          That is quite possibly the most incorrect thing you could possibly say about the music business today. There are by every possible measurement FAR more tracks being released by FAR more artists than at any point in history. If you want to join the chorus of whiners about how there is so much being released every minute of every day that it’s impossible to even sort through… well, you’d still be whining pointlessly, but at least you wouldn’t be 180 degrees out of phase with the facts on the ground.

          “Back in the day” sucked. For the few hundred folks on the planet who were ever even given the opportunity to put together a professional product, 70% were never released and no longer even owned the rights to put anything out themselves. Of the few that made it past that last hurdle, MAYBE 5% of them ever made a single dime once the advance was paid back.

          There are whiners everywhere, and some people just love to believe it’s worse now for musicians. Believe what you want, but if you truly think it’s worse now for FANS, then you must be too young to know any different.

          Reply
  3. JTVDigital

    Interesting but sorry to point out that comparing unit per-stream payouts makes no sense without ponderation based on each service weight / market share / volume.
    Zune, Omnifone…etc. may pay more than Deezer or Spotify but the volume of transactions / overall revenue represented by these services is peanuts.

    Reply
      • JTVDigital

        Well having a line for “Omnifone” in a report is quite confusing, since Omnifone provides the back-end technology for various services like Pono, Sony Music Unlimited, Guvera, SiriusXM…etc

        Reply
  4. dave chappelle

    Ok, now let’s see your download sales. I’m sure you were just DESTROYING it over there before streaming came along….

    Reply
    • Ur Kultcha Sahx

      ah, the voice of the jealous no-talent non-creator who wants everything for free. Now go steal and skin and prepare a chicken. I hear they’re now free.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      The You Tube royalty comes from Music Key plays, who have so few spins that what they pay out seems decent. If it were to ever catch on and be widely used, the payment would drop.

      Reply
      • Me

        We must be getting much more plays than this label on YouTube, since our royalty rate was much lower!

        Reply
  5. Stona

    Listen what we as labels need is not these dull revenues, but instead recognition. To date its impossible to look for music from a particular or any label on Spotify or itunes or anywhere. the distros are just gobbling us up!

    Reply
    • jw

      On the desktop app, you cn search for label:”daptone records”. For the life of me I don’t know why they don’t have that in the mobile apps.

      Reply
  6. Disruptive

    I was recently on the Harry Fox Agency website looking to purchase a licence for a cover song that we were looking to upload to Spotify. The cost to us per stream (should someone listen to it) was $0.01. So the $0.00728 that is shown above doesn’t seem too far off the mark once HFA and Spotify have taken their cut.

    Most artists would probably say that this royalty rate is too little…but I’m one of the minority that believe it to be reasonable. Avicii’s manager is also a believer in the ‘power of streaming’ and here is an excerpt from an article featured in Billboard recently with him summing up his thoughts on streaming;

    “Streaming is, for the foreseeable future, the optimal way of consuming digital content as the world grows more and more connected. According to Next Big Sound, there were more than 434 billion total music streams in 2014, up 95 percent from 2013. And an Edison Research report shows that teens spend more time streaming music than listening to AM/FM radio. Are you really going to say “no, thank you” to millions of Spotify users because you are waiting for the old way of doing business to return?”

    Here is a link to the article:
    http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/6465422/avicii-manager-defends-spotify-too-many-people-have-the

    Reply
  7. Disruptive

    I was recently on the Harry Fox Agency website looking to purchase a licence for a cover song that we were looking to upload to Spotify. The cost to us per stream (should someone listen to it) was $0.01. So the $0.00728 that is shown above doesn’t seem too far off the mark once HFA and Spotify have taken their cut.

    Most artists would probably say that this royalty rate is too little…but I’m one of the minority that believe it to be reasonable. Avicii’s manager is also a believer in the ‘power of streaming’ and here is an excerpt from an article featured in Billboard recently with him summing up his thoughts on streaming;

    “Streaming is, for the foreseeable future, the optimal way of consuming digital content as the world grows more and more connected. According to Next Big Sound, there were more than 434 billion total music streams in 2014, up 95 percent from 2013. And an Edison Research report shows that teens spend more time streaming music than listening to AM/FM radio. Are you really going to say “no, thank you” to millions of Spotify users because you are waiting for the old way of doing business to return?”

    Here is a link to the article:
    http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/6465422/avicii-manager-defends-spotify-too-many-people-have-the

    Reply
  8. Disruptive

    I was recently on the Harry Fox Agency website looking to purchase a licence for a cover song that we were looking to upload to Spotify. The cost to us per stream (should someone listen to it) was $0.01. So the $0.00728 that is shown above doesn’t seem too far off the mark once HFA and Spotify have taken their cut.

    Most artists would probably say that this royalty rate is too little…but I’m one of the minority that believe it to be reasonable. Avicii’s manager is also a believer in the ‘power of streaming’ and here is an excerpt from an article featured in Billboard recently with him summing up his thoughts on streaming;

    “Streaming is, for the foreseeable future, the optimal way of consuming digital content as the world grows more and more connected. According to Next Big Sound, there were more than 434 billion total music streams in 2014, up 95 percent from 2013. And an Edison Research report shows that teens spend more time streaming music than listening to AM/FM radio. Are you really going to say “no, thank you” to millions of Spotify users because you are waiting for the old way of doing business to return?”

    Reply
    • Faza (TCM)

      “Are you really going to say ‘no, thank you’ to millions of Spotify users because you are waiting for the old way of doing business to return?”

      Yep. Pretty much…

      These abstract millions of Spotify users are completely irrelevant to every single artist out there. The only people an artist rightly needs to care about is his or her fans.

      The simple truth about fans is that they come to you. Not the other way around. They come to you because you’ve got something they want. If they want it bad enough, they’ll even pay good money for it – just ask Taylor Swift.

      It is completely wrong-headed to believe for a second that a real fan of your music will go away because it’s not on Spotify. The only reason they’re on Spotify is because they can get the music they want there. If they can’t, they’ll go someplace they can; tough luck for Spotify, I guess. It really isn’t complicated.

      Reply
      • JTVDigital

        Well, so…you are waiting for the old way of doing business to return then, right?

        The concept of “fan” is becoming completely irrelevant, I must admit I still use it when talking to artists or managers to describe “the people who listen to your music” because it is a convenient descriptive word, but the whole idea of a fan is really terrible, it means “fanatic”, someone who would “die” and/or do anything for the love/passion of their idol…

        Honestly, in terms of strategy I don’t care that much about “fans” since they will buy / listen / go to shows, anyway (since they are blinded by their “fanaticism” :))

        Streaming services and YouTube help artists to reach the masses, the “non-fans”, the millions (billions?) of random people who had no intention at all to buy your music (and who never will) but may use a few seconds or minutes of their time to listen (=stream) to your music, since it’s “free” after all (or included in their monthly plan).
        For the audience, streaming is a “risk-free” approach of on-demand music listening (“interactive streaming”).
        For the music industry, it is a HUGE revenue stream still in the early stages of its potential.

        So, sorry guys but Avicii’s manager is right on that one. CD and “good old times” will never come back, deal with it.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Streaming services and YouTube help artists to reach the masses

          no, no they dont, stop selling that delusional dream to people…

          MARKETING AND PROMOTION WITH BUDGETS AND MONEY helps artists reach the masses, and ultimately, the masses coagulate in certain places, and guess how you reach them and who you work with to reach them????

          Streaming services are just a platform, a virtual shelf, you still gotta work it, maybe more then ever, and reaching the masses is getting harder and harder…

          Reply
          • GGG

            Yes, they absolutely do. Don’t let the low pay and your hatred of the platform block the facts. Getting paid is one thing, getting in front of eyes and ears is another. I believe I read something one time that said in the 60s and/or 70s the average was about 2K releases a year. We probably have 2k releases every two weeks, if not sooner, these days.

            We are in a very shitty middle ground of consumption models.

          • GGG

            You can pay a PR firm thousands a month to promote your record, doesn’t mean anyone will buy it. Far more people will look it up on Spotify or YouTube or whatever streaming service if they are interested in hearing it. That’s just how culture works right now. As a smaller act you will get far more ears if you are on Spotify than if you are not.

            And yes, it is a crappy middle ground. Not enough people buying, not enough streaming to get rates up.

          • GGG

            Umm, did you not say this in big bold letters: MARKETING AND PROMOTION WITH BUDGETS AND MONEY.

            What do you think some of that money is used for? And you’re calling me dumb? Jesus, you’re a fucking joke.

          • GGG

            It’s all part of the same thing. If people have nowhere to hear your music, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend to market it. And if they DO buy it, you ARE paying to sell records. That’s like….the entire reason the concept of marketing exists…

            Yes, Spotify isn’t spending time/money advertising your music, but it’s the second half of the marketing equation (if that’s the route you are going).

          • GGG

            No, I’m not wrong. I have/am acknowledging that streaming services (usually, though they can through features) don’t actively promote artists’ music, but you are completely ignoring your own concept, which is “they just exist.” The simple existence of Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, Rdio, whatever, i.e. ways to play music legally for free/cheap, helps bring music to people. There are far too many acts for people to listen to as much music as they want by buying it, even people who still buy a lot of music. I stream because if if I bought every album I was interested in hearing I’d be spending like $100-$200 a week on top of what I DO buy, plus going to shows, etc. I can’t afford that. If the bands would then rather me just not hear their music then they have the right to not allow it to stream.

            So yes, you’re right but you’re only looking at the first part of the picture. When I initially responded I was only looking at the second part for the most part. They both go hand in hand, though.

          • Anonymous

            the point was about the masses and whether spotify is helping artists reach the masses, suddenly you are talking about something different, that therefore makes you wrong, and the more you belabor it, the worse it gets…

          • GGG

            The post you responded to was using “masses” to mean anyone that’s not already your fan. Pay attention now…

          • Anonymous

            I was cherry picking and taking out of context something that was taken out of context so I could put it back in context…

          • GGG

            We’re arguing different points, which really comes down to semantics. Because you’re a moron.

          • GGG

            “Everything is not about you!” says guy who posts 1000 word essays about himself on every article.

            If nothing else, your lack of self-awareness is remarkable.

          • GGG

            And also, when I first responded up there, I didn’t know that was you. So don’t flatter yourself, I didn’t purposely pick you out.

          • Anonymous

            Don’t worry about it ggg, all is good, life is good, good time to be alive, enjoy whatever time u have…

        • Wallace Grumby

          Another fantasist defending a plantation system, then claiming they are the all-knowing realist because that’s the way it’s gotta be in generation too homeless to pay for anything. Reminds me of the Confederacy and another group of psychos in 1930s Europe.

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            Whos defending what?

            I dont appreciate being called as such and these continued defamatory remarks and constant bullying and sullying of my reputation is starting to get beyond out of control!

            What did i ever do to all these people that deserve this continued treatment? Its unjust, unfair and libelous!

            Luckily you people help make my mind up over and over again about life and what i want out of it, so thanks for that!

            This morning i was a bit groggy from too much sleep and was kind of questioning what i was doing and how i was living, and luckily you people along with other things continually make provide me the confirmation i need to know ive made the right choices.

          • Anonymous

            And who ever claimed they were all knowing?

            Stop putting words in other peoples minds about me that were never said and simply are not true!

            The luckiest thing i have here, is the tides are turning and so many people are starting to see what is going on here, what you people continually do and how yall act.

            I never said i was all knowing and i never said anything about some plantation and i never said anything of the sort.

            IMMEDIATELY STOP CALLING ME A RACIST!!! I do not take kindly to such defamatory acts of reputation assault against my person and my property.

            Unbelievable you people, grow up already!!!

            Thanks!

      • Anonymous

        “If they [fans] want it bad enough, they’ll even pay good money for it – just ask Taylor Swift.”

        Agree. We should thank her every day for showing us that nobody needs Spotify.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Agree. We should thank her every day for showing us that nobody needs Spotify.

          Right, just the fans, listeners, customers, cattle, probably cattle for you music biz types, i mean, other then those people, yeah who needs it right???

          what the t to the dot swizzle does is what she does and has zero bearing on what anyone else does…

          i mean seriously, you are going to take that album with that ridiculous budget and marketing and promotional plan, and call the sale of a few million records into a global market of 7 ought billions of people as some sort of success on who needs and wants what???

          yall are crazy… straight lunacy…

          Reply
          • Belo Mi

            Something is really wrong with your type. You are just born to defend gatekeepers. You defend middlemen over people who create value. Were you born with a barcode stamped on your scalp?

          • Anonymous

            Something is really wrong with your type. You are just born to defend gatekeepers. You defend middlemen over people who create value. Were you born with a barcode stamped on your scalp?

            My type??

            You don’t know me at all, obviously!

            Please show me how and where i defend middlemen to the point you can lump me into some sort of type of person!

            Please show me how and where i defend gatekeepers to the point you can lump me into some sort of type of person!

            Please provide further evidence that i value gatekeepers over those who create value?

            Do you even know how i am, what i do and what i believe?

            Where are you drawing these wild based accusations?

            Who are you? Who do you work for?

            Failure to provide all details and evidence as such will make your damaging and defaming remarks towards my person, image, character and reputation null and void and i demand that you stop doing as such immediately!

            Thanks you kindly!

  9. Winnie

    This is per stream. It would be more compelling to also see the number of streams. At $.04 per stream for YouTube that’s not bad. It’s not great but there is room for potential.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      It’s not great? Are you kidding? It’s the equivalent of someone buying a song off itunes, getting to listen to it 25 times, and then having to buy it again.

      It’s as good, if not better, a rate than itunes. It’s just very doubtful that it’s sustainable.

      Reply
  10. MK

    You really must have messed your paper work up…
    I’m an independent label (one artist-myself)
    and I make plenty of money from Spotify,Amazon,Deezer etc.
    I own 100% of my copyrights worldwide… When I license my albums to record labels around the world I only give them rights to physical CDs/vinyl…I retain 100% of my digital rights…I make plenty of money from streaming etc.
    I receive payments about every 10 days or so…
    MK

    Reply
    • PishTosh

      Amen. Spotify, Deezer, Muze… that’s the easiest money out there. People on other continents who never would have heard of me otherwise. I don’t have to make a video for it. I don’t have to… well… do anything at all, and I get money in my account every month.

      Adds up to a hell of a lot more than YT for me. Those numbers above must be screwy from Youtube Key anomaly of some kind.

      Reply
  11. NewAge Musician

    I find a lot of the services that you get auto enrolled in through the likes of auto aggegators like cdbaby and the such are fairly low. For me the highest payouts, not just on per play, but on actual full quarter profits are from digital and physical cd sales on amazon and other store fronts along with plays on pandora and sirius.

    Reply

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