What Rhapsody and Spotify Pay Songwriters…

221,699 streams. $131.

This doesn’t include mechanicals.

BMIstatement2

32 Responses

  1. GGG

    So, this is a completely non-leading post. I’m genuinely curious since nobody ever seems to actually discuss it, and I know there’s a lot of old school musicians lurking on here, as well as new:

    How much do you think you should be paid by BMI for 221,699 streams?

    Reply
      • Morris

        Pandora, Spotify, and the other major streaming services are EACH valued at up to $5 billion. Tim Westegren is worth over $100 million. You think maybe a system can be set up so that more than a tiny fraction of a penny per stream is redistributed to musicians!!! The only reason they were getting nothing is because of a miscalculation in the way internet networks were set up. Jaron Lanier in his book, “Who Owns the Future?” explains that musicians are getting the shaft now but hundreds of millions if not billions of jobs will soon be in the same predicament. We must determine a way for all of us to get fairly paid for our work.

        Reply
        • Remi Swierczek

          The way is determined: conversion of all streaming and all of Radio (Pandora and Spotify TOOOOOO) to simple, actually, PRIMITIVE discovery based music store.

          $100B music industry by 2020 with well deserved $5B IPOs for Spotify, Shazam, iHeartRadio or Sounhound.
          Quadruple stock of Pandora.

          Reply
  2. Remi Swierczek

    Both pay NOTHING!
    Both lose MONEY!

    Both operate under WRONG business model!

    Time to convert all of strewing and all of Radio to primitive discovery based $100B music store.

    Reply
    • Remi Swierczek

      Paul, your speller is like quicksilver. “STREAMING” must function in total pleasure/music store MODE!

      Cash and happiness for everyone but freeloading public.

      Reply
    • Consultant

      Zed,

      Neither Rhapsody nor Pandora pay writers directly.They pay BMI. BMI determines what a play is worth.

      Reply
  3. Ari Herstand
    Ari Herstand

    It’s actually “What BMI pays songwriters from Rhapsody and Spotify.” Rhapsody and Spotify aren’t paying songwriters directly. We don’t know how much they pay BMI (or ASCAP for that matter) and why BMI chose to pay out this amount. BMI and ASCAP notoriously have incredibly opaque accounting practices. Would be interested to see multiple BMI songwriters’ statements to see if their streams equal the same per play rates. Wouldn’t be surprised if BMI paid different songwriters differently for the exact same service.

    Reply
    • Brink

      I had a song play 114,000 times on Rhapsody on my Jan. BMI statement and it paid $6.01. Less than the syatement shared here.

      Reply
    • Musician Who Understands

      Ari Herstand

      It’s actually “What BMI pays songwriters from Rhapsody and Spotify.” Rhapsody and Spotify aren’t paying songwriters directly. We don’t know how much they pay BMI (or ASCAP for that matter) and why BMI chose to pay out this amount. BMI and ASCAP notoriously have incredibly opaque accounting practices. Would be interested to see multiple BMI songwriters’ statements to see if their streams equal the same per play rates. Wouldn’t be surprised if BMI paid different songwriters differently for the exact same service.

      Exactly.

      It really is disheartening to see Paul try and gin up the propaganda/misinformation machine here, time and time again.

      I mean, ANYONE who read the headline, clearly announcing a revelation as to what “Rhapsody and Spotify pay,” only to see a BMI statement, should INSTANTLY realize the headline is a flat-out lie.

      And if ANYONE who claims to be a songwriter commenting in here doesn’t understand that BMI (and ALL of the Performing Rights Organizations) keep around 10-12% of the payments they receive to cover “administrative expenses” and then go on to “calculate” what they will ultimately pay out to their affiliated songwriters through very vague formulas that favor huge artists at the expense of middle and lower echelon artists, they should go and do their homework before ever posting in here, again.

      This is a BMI statement – NOT a Rhapsody or Spotify statement – to an individual songwriter, that has relatively low streaming numbers with these services.

      I’d be really interested to see what this songwriter got paid by BMI for an estimated 225k listeners of this song on FM radio. Can we see that?

      Reply
        • Anonymous

          See, this is problematic, and far too many people ARE simply looking at the forest. There are way too many factors and bumps on the road to artist payment to look at everything in black and white.

          Are you not a journalist? Dig a little. Or start paying all the people that put out more info in the comments.

          Where’re the screeds on PROs and SE? Go talk to them and see what you can find out. I think Ari did one on SE last year, that’s it. Where’s the article defining the pipeline of artist payment? Where’s the comparison or internet to radio plays/audience? All this stuff that people on here ask about again and again is beneficial to the debate because it lays everything out. And I don’t know why you ignore half this stuff, like you’re afraid it will hurt your point or something. Some of it may even back you up! In fact, I’m sure some it will just strengthen some argument you have. It really serves nobody any good to mislabel information, and certainly doesn’t help the debate or finding a solution.

          Reply
      • Musician Who Understands

        Paul Resnikoff

        “Gentlemen. Let us view the forest, not the trees.”

        Ha!!!!

        Dude, you can’t even see or properly identify a single tree, let alone the forest, here.

        Nice try attempting to re-characterize Ari and my bringing up additional information and explaining how this information is really mis-represented and needs to be viewed within the greater context as myopic.

        Is it any wonder why, whenever artists manage to get the attention of Congress for a minute, with fact-starved sensationalism like this, it ultimately gets dropped, once ALL of the facts are revealed?

        Reply
  4. Jeff Robinson

    Jeez, if this were broadcast radio, that would have paid $31,037 at 14 cents a spin.

    Reply
    • jw

      Wait, wait, wait… you really think that a Rhapsody or Spotify play has the same value as a broadcast radio play?

      Reply
      • Musician Who Understands

        I am assuming that Jeff Robinson is being sarcastic, as broadcast radio pays nowhere NEAR $0.14 a spin.

        Indeed, for this artists, it is likely that spins to 225k broadcast listeners would pay nothing through BMI.

        jw

        “Wait, wait, wait… you really think that a Rhapsody or Spotify play has the same value as a broadcast radio play?”

        Gee, good question…

        Before we answer that: Do you really think that broadcast radio pays the same number of royalties – or the same rates – as Rhapsody or Spotify?

        Reply
        • jw

          >> Before we answer that: Do you really think that broadcast radio pays the
          >> same number of royalties – or the same rates – as Rhapsody or Spotify?

          No. I don’t know what part of my question would lead you to believe that I think that.

          Reply
        • Musician Who Understands

          Oh, well, FYI, it was this part of your question:

          jw “…Rhapsody or Spotify play has the same value as a broadcast radio play??”

          Which could reasonably be inferred as you having an issue with someone equating a Rhapsody or Spotify play with a broadcast radio play, as you perceive them has having a different value.

          If that wasn’t what you were driving at, what WAS the point of your question about the relative values of Rhapsody or Spotify play to a broadcast radio play, to Jeff Robinson?

          Reply
          • jw

            I really don’t understand where you’re coming from.

            Of course they’re different values. A Spotify play generally goes to 1 pair of ears. A radio play goes to tens if not hundreds of thousands of ears. So the value of the accompanying advertisement (the revenue generating component) are astronomically different.

            Granted, this is an interactive play, rather than a radio play, so it’s not a 1:1 comparison. But clearly the value of a Spotify play lies somewhere in between an internet radio play (like a Pandora play, which generally goes out to 1 pair of ears) & a broadcast radio play, & much, much, much closer to the former than the latter. But it’s kind of convoluted to even compare a Spotify play to a radio play in the first place.

            The idea that these plays would be worth $31k isn’t based in reality. If Jeff was just being sarcastic, I just missed it & I apologize.

            Like my comment below says, a Spotify play doesn’t carry the value of a broadcast radio play any more than a YouTube play carries the value of a broadcast television play.

          • Jeff Robinson

            Broadcast radio is a vague term, because whenever you talk about BMI or ASCAP with regard to Broadcast radio, you are only talking about the top 150 markets in the country and most of what would be tracked by the PROs would be spins on commercial radio. College radio and PROs are a complete loss. A band will NEVER see income from college radio from BMI or ASCAP.

            As for the commercial radio thing, the band/artist would already so buried in debt by the label for paying for airplay, that there would be zero recoupment at the paltry rate a PRO would pay. Sad scenario. As a publishing entity doesn’t pay for airplay, BUT the label does, what does the label get in return from the publisher for providing such airplay?

          • jw

            Who was ever talking about performance royalties? What does that have to do with anything?

            I don’t understand a single point you’re trying to make. Why did you even compare Spotify plays to broadcast radio plays in the first place if you don’t have some inflated sense of what a Spotify play is worth?

            If your point is that Spotify plays are weighted towards the performer & radio plays are weighted towards the songwriter, & maybe they both need to be balanced out, well there’s much clearer ways to make that point.

          • Jeff Robinson

            The point was pretty clear I thought, regardless of the rate Broadcast radio pays the songwriter via BMI or ASCAP, it’s a loss because the upfront cost of obtaining airplay is so high. Every alternative band I know of writes their own songs, so they, as the signed entity, lose in the end.

          • jw

            That may be true, but what does that have to do with “What Rhapsody and Spotify Pay Songwriters…”?

          • Musician Who Understands

            jw

            “I really don’t understand where you’re coming from.”

            It’s simple, really. I’m coming from a place where ANYONE commenting in here ought to know things like a broadcast radio play is valued differently than a non-interactive internet play and differently again from an interactive internet play. As I’ve tried to make clear, your questioning someone comparing Rhapsody and Spotify plays to broadcast radio implied that you don;t think they should be seen as “equal.” And they are not. So, I STILL don’t understand the point of your original question: “you really think that a Rhapsody or Spotify play has the same value as a broadcast radio play?”

            The discussion in these threads – and indeed, often the articles, themselves – just shows how uninformed people really are about these issues. To wit, the two frighteningly ill-informed tidbits below:

            Jeff Robinson

            “As a publishing entity doesn’t pay for airplay, BUT the label does, what does the label get in return from the publisher for providing such airplay?”

            Well, putting aside for the moment that the label HAS to promote the song, as part of the recording, no matter what, what do they get for the publishers? In addition to essentially a free first use license, the label gets things like a 25% discount on the statutory mechanical rate; controlled composition caps, and free synchs for video uses.

            It’s hardly a one-way street, there.

            – and-

            jw

            “Who was ever talking about performance royalties? What does that have to do with anything?”

            Hey, jw????
            ]
            This entire discussion is about nothing BUT performance royalties!!!!!

            Do you think BMI is responsible for, mechanicals?!?!?!?!

            “If your point is that Spotify plays are weighted towards the performer & radio plays are weighted towards the songwriter, & maybe they both need to be balanced out, well there’s much clearer ways to make that point.”

            Hey, jw?

            What do YOU recommend, as to how to “balance out the weighting” of the performer royalties vs. songwriter royalties on broadcast radio? How can we weight those royalties just a bit more towards the performer, than they already are?***

          • jw

            By performance royalties, I meant performance royalties to sound recording owners/artists. I understand that wasn’t clear, perhaps that’s my own shorthand that doesn’t read as I intend it to. My point was that what the record label gets or doesn’t from broadcast radio doesn’t have any bearing on what Spotify pays out to PROs.

            Broadcast royalties don’t pay artists performance royalties. So what I was suggesting, purely in an effort to try & figure out Jeff’s line of reasoning, was that broadcast radio might share with the performer/sound recording owner, as the songwriter is asking for a bigger share of Spotify’s payout. I’m not going to say where I think the split should happen, but I do think that the sound recording owner takes on the primary financial risk in creating a sound recording, & that they, in turn, deserve the lion’s share of the payout, compared to the publisher/songwriter.

    • Radio Pro

      221,699 streams … consider for the sake of argument. I am on numerous radio stations. During any given week more than 221,699 people can listen in. So one song from my show gets 221,699 listens (streams) …. how much does that songwriter earn?

      Jeez, if this were broadcast radio, that would have paid $31,037 at 14 cents a spin.

      really?

      I don’t think so.

      Reply
      • Jeff Robinson

        The life cycle of a single at radio back in the 80’s was about 20 weeks if it became a hit. From there, it would become a recurrent and likely spin 2 to 4 times a day for the next year and a half.

        Reply

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