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A Grammy Nominated Artist Shares His Royalty Statements….

The following comes from Armen Chakmakian, a Grammy-nominated composer, keyboardist, and recording artist. 

quotationmarksThere are tons of articles about music streaming sites like Pandora, Spotify, etc in relation to recording artists making money or not.  Here’s a screen capture of my quarterly royalty statement.  14,227 performances of music (almost every track 100% owned by me) generated $4.20.  Notice one performance of “Ceremonies” or “Distant Lands” streaming radio show like Hearts of Space that brings in 26 cents for the full writer’s share compared to 2,088 performances of “Gypsy Rain” on Spotify that brought in a total of 60 cents.

Someone’s making money, and in true fashion with the music industry, it’s not the artists.  Business practices like this are one of the reasons I jumped ship and only write for television now.

 

armen4

 

And since I’m in full-disclosure mode, I attached my SoundExchange artist’s statement from the same period showing payment to me of $11.50.  I received a total of $30.89 from them – $11.50 for the artist; $19.39 for the label (I’m the label, TruArt Records).

Please note that the SoundExchange statement includes additional entities not listed on my BMI streaming section.  Please see the “Earnings by Entity” section of the SoundExchange statements and you’ll see Cable Radio, SiriusXM, Music Choice, etc.  Those companies are not part of that $4.20 payment from my BMI statement.
BMI and SoundExchange are my only known sources to collect money for my music that’s used on these streaming services.
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Comments (437)
  1. Anonymous

    “I’m a Grammy Nominated Artist. Want to See My Royalty Statements?”

    Not really — we already know them. :(

    (Don’t get me wrong, it’s great you have the guts to come out. It’s just so depressing to hear the same tragic story over and over and over again. I hope you’ll find your way out of this friggin’ streaming hell.)


    Reply
    1. Armen

      “Tragic stories” involve death and destruction. Don’t feel bad for me. I have a good life. I just wanted to put this out there for discussion and awareness.


      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        ““Tragic stories” involve death and destruction”

        Yes, and streaming kills the financial basis for music production.


        Reply
        1. Willis

          420…ha, ha.


          Reply
          1. Adam

            It’s fair to say that music should be made because of a passion for music rather than the potential financial gain to be made, but that also doesn’t mean that musicians shouldn’t get fair compensation for their work.


            Reply
            1. andrew

              no, that really isn’t fair to say. at all.


              Reply
              1. Alexander

                +1 for what he said.


                Reply
              2. Tristan Sydney

                Yeah, its not “fair to say” in the slightest… music sales is the way professional musicians make a living, to enable them to continue to make music. That’s like saying, you should go to a 9-5 job “for the love of it” and not expect fair remuneration..


                Reply
                1. AnaniA

                  perfectly and succinctly put, Tristan..


                  Reply
                2. D Crowe

                  He said they should get paid a fair wage, re-read the statement. He said music should be made for love, and artists should receive fair pay.


                  Reply
                  1. justjohn

                    D Crowe covers what rings true, not what cha-ching’s through. You want to make music for money? Make sure you love making music, not money, ’cause everyone else will know the difference.


                    Reply
                    1. Clark

                      No way! People craft music for money all day and no one knows the difference! Its just done a a very high pro level, much of the hit charts are this. I know this as a music pro in Hollywood.


            2. eli

              Even when one creates music out of passion and love, doing this for all of his/her life, one still needs to pay for every”thing” used for that creation; so how exactly it is expected from someone to create music with out the use of the material side of this existence?


              Reply
              1. Greg

                Most music artists have not made much money off of their recordings, but rather, off of their touring, so take your music on tour! There are very successful artists that release all their music for free (Pretty Lights is a great example), but tour a ton, so they make enough money. Plus, if your music is more widely available, demand for your concert tickets goes up, therefore the price of tickets goes up.


                Reply
                1. bessermusic

                  you mix up “artist” and “composer”. there are many composers who do not perform as an artist on stage, they just compose for succesfull artists. so these composers have no possibility to earn money by touring :-(


                  Reply
                  1. DJ Freesoul

                    So then, if I was an composer for a fairly known artist, I would take more money from the artist, because this streaming business is not going to pay for my rent, my food, my gear, my software, etc. Then again, in these times, there are plenty of small producers out there, so the artists would just chose another producer.


                    Reply
                    1. Joe

                      You’d just leave a grammy winning composer?? Bold strategy… Let’s see if it pays off…


                2. Bruce

                  Not everyone is a ‘touring’ artist, and BTW…live venues don’t pay squat either.


                  Reply
                  1. Tom Thorpe

                    I agree with Bruce. Small live performance venues are either not available or expect artist to be playing for free these days. They complain to us about the cost of BMI, ASCAP and SESAC fees – while the piped-in music is playing or streaming!


                    Reply
                3. Dar

                  Most artists can’t just ‘go out on tour’. They have day jobs that won’t allow them to just take off for months at at time. And tours cost money too. Even small, local, bare bone tours.


                  Reply
                  1. MostachoXprmnt

                    Thanks for sharing!!! This is not about pity of course, or sadness… it’s about awareness so that we can slowly make a change!!
                    Someone is making money!!! …. off of the artists and the composers. We’ll see the change coming in the next years!! It must!! and we should all propel it!


                    Reply
                4. Djent

                  You dont make any money touring, you loose money like hell, even with sold out venues. The cost are enormous and only meant as a cost to promote sn album…that is free by streaming anyway.

                  Bands go on tour by paying for it from their own pocket. A bus costs about 2000 USD … A DAY.


                  Reply
                  1. Maria

                    Your bus company is ripping you off.


                    Reply
                  2. rich

                    This is absolutely incorrect. I’m not sure what kind of tours you’ve been on, but I’m a professional touring musician and I make money touring in a rock band, quite a lot of money in fact. I don’t pay for anything to tour.


                    Reply
                    1. Roller

                      Rich, Of course you make money because your not the one paying the expenses. Musicians in a band are expenses to the business entity of the band. Buses nor hotels grow on trees, unfortunately.


                5. jason mosall

                  Greg, I respectfully disagree. Touring serves record labels more than bands and artists. For many skilled performers, touring is neither profitable or even viable. The whole ‘shut up man, music is free, tour if wanna get paid’ is a farse. Musicians NEED to make money from recordings, period.


                  Reply
                6. em bee

                  touring costs money.


                  Reply
              2. john

                i think the point here is that someone is actually making money, and it’s not the artist. please research about deals made inbetween spotify and big labels.


                Reply
            3. ken

              Just like student athletes should play “for the love of the game” while coaches have 6- and 7-figure contracts, the schools make many millions, and the umbrella organizations of collegiate make billions. Hypocrisy.


              Reply
              1. Anna

                Because athletes playing sports for the meager compensation of 60,000 to 100,000 college tuition plus room and board for four years is completely comprable to a musician earning about $20.00 for playing music…..seriously?


                Reply
                1. Marlon

                  Tell that to the walk-on or partial scholarship athlete…


                  Reply
                  1. Think

                    If you’re going to make this argument, use some valid points. A walk-on or partial scholarship athlete isn’t earning money for the school and doesn’t have much of a claim to getting “paid” more than he’she already does. It’s the full scholarship athletes whose likenesses, uniforms sales, performance, etc. are used to make millions who should be getting more.


                    Reply
                2. MJ

                  Not that that 100,000$ college degree they are earning does them much good when they train 45 hours a week, travel 20hr which means they can’t study to graduate, much less get a part time job to pay for the two meals a day the tuition doesn’t cover.


                  Reply
              2. Erica

                College sports are EXTRACURRICULAR activities. Not jobs.


                Reply
                1. brian

                  Being a college athlete is a full time job. I walked on in college and we had practice twice a day Mon-sat 6am-715 and 330-530. Occasionally there would even be evening practices. Then add in games and travel. Try doing all that, eating, staying healthy from never sleeping, having no time for a social life…. This isn’t playing intramurals, where you show up for an hour once a week and go out drinking afterwards. It is a full time job that most receive NO compensation for.


                  Reply
                  1. A. Nahn Imus

                    Sounds like being in a band trying to take it seriously…


                    Reply
                  2. Nick

                    Most full-time bands are in the same boat, except they get nothing provided for them.


                    Reply
            4. Allen Forrest

              Do you know much it takes and how it cost to produce a song? You wouldn’t tell a Mcdonald employee to work for free… so why ask us? Lol


              Reply
              1. Nurg

                Because you’re not ‘working’. You aren’t producing anything that helps or aids anyone else, you’re creating art, largely for the benefit of your own ego. Musicians aren’t ‘workers’, and how dare you suppose that you are.


                Reply
                1. Phil

                  sorry dude, that’s just extremely ignorant. People who create music aren’t just singers, and song writers. There are also sound engineers and people do mastering, and mixing (who get no royalties at all). So they should all work for free, and have another permanent job ? That’s about as stupid as saying doctors don’t work, and what they do is just from out of passion and how dare they say that saving people or healing people as ‘work’


                  Reply
                2. B.

                  Great Nurg… never turn on a radio or listen to music. Simple solution for you buddy.


                  Reply
                  1. Laure

                    Because McDonald workers do help people to better their life….. Yeah right. How ignorant is that.


                    Reply
                    1. Bassman

                      In other news, Nurg is run over by a tour bus but nobody cares!


                3. Lef

                  Oh my god you don’t have a soul Nurg. How could you say this? You show how ignorant you are about music in general and… Wow I lose my words here… Because you have a pathetic job doesn’t mean musicians doesn’t have to get paid for the hard work we do…


                  Reply
                4. CrypticWritings

                  you sir , are a fuckwit . no one NEEDS a mc donalds burger , theres plenty of other ( better) options , people go there for the sheer sake of they cant be fucked cooking , now guess what a LOT of people world wide would rather an inspirational song / album ( and heck any form of art ) to take with them in their life , than a shitty greasy burger from a shitty chain franchise , you sir need to pull your head out of your arse and lose the bleak tunnel vision you have on life


                  Reply
                  1. INTP

                    Why do you address him as sir only to insult him?
                    Only because it is an internet trend. Your adjectives that you use to describe him are contradictory. You, along with too many others, make personal attacks on a person as a part of your argument, a piece which is irrelevant and indeterminable. Make yourself look more professional and cut out personal attacks and vulgar language, then maybe your points can be considered.


                    Reply
                    1. Decio

                      i subscribe that.


                5. INTP

                  Nurg is correct at the heart of what he is saying. Music is art, and it is inessential for human sustenance and existence. I love music, and am listening to Muse right now, but Muse is not providing me with anything except entertainment; not food, water, air, or shelter, just entertainment.


                  Reply
                  1. M

                    I provide you with entertainment. You pay me. I buy food and water. We’ve developed the system. Let’s agree that most of what we spend our money on is inessential to our survival. But this Nurg guy would have me believe that musicians make music to satisfy their egos and therefore are selfish and shouldn’t get paid. Hahaha! That’s pretty far fetched. So musicians. actors, dancers and everyone involved in the performing arts… No, how about all artist, like cartoonists and architects and designers shouldn’t get paid because it’s inessential to our survival. Wrong. Entertainment, diversions and spectacles are everywhere. They’re in you front lawn. They’re in the clothes you wear. They’re in the hallways of your school or your place of work. They’re there to make things pretty, to make things interesting or different; they’re there to make things better and more fun. Some might argue that art is essential to their life and those people should be willing to pay something for it.


                    Reply
                    1. INTP

                      You are correct. People should be payed as long as their entertainment form is used by people, and in our developed society today, that is generally how it goes, though this industry seems to be somewhat of an exception. I just felt that Nurg needed some defense, because art is not necessary; however, when people make use of the art, I agree that the artist should be compensated.


                    2. beck

                      Is art necessary for YOUR personal existence? No, but thankfully for the rest of us, the universe doesn’t operate according to what YOU think is “necessary.” Who wants to live in an ugly world? As a species, it seems we don’t, because we sing, we dance, we paint, we tell stories–we keep our sanity, we preserve our culture, we challenge others to see the world with new eyes. Art, it would seem, is necessary for the health and well-being of our species. But realizing that requires thinking beyond the tiny molecule of one’s insignificant existence to the whole living stream of human history and civilization.


                    3. INTP

                      beck: cite sources, then I will consider. The burden of proof is on you to show that art is necessary for human sustenance. You cannot eat art, you cannot drink art, art does not provide love or shelter. Implying that I have a closed mind is ignorant of you. I will reconsider things when presented evidence, just as I will consider this if you provide evidence.
                      We take so many things for granted in life; if we had to work daily for each of those things, then there would not be time for art. Art would not be pushed to the forefront of people’s minds like a need for food and water. That is why I believe that art is nonessential for human existence.


                    4. MegaSteve

                      I agree with M. As for the rest of you, your arguments are completely invalid. Sure, the only “essentials” for human survival are food, water and shelter. But I challenge you to think about this: There are vast sums of people who live in impoverished 3rd world countries. There are also vast majorities of people who live in civilized worlds. Slums who have nothing, people who claw until their knuckles bleed just for a loaf of bread, people who live in excess and gluttony. But guess what they all have in common? Art.

                      Therefore, I argue that music and art… IS … essential for human survival. Sure, you can’t “eat art,” but that doesn’t mean you can live without it.


                    5. Lothar

                      Honestly, I’m sitting here reading these replies in regards to art having no actual substance in the sense of it being sustenance. Well I beg to defer anyone that says art has no honest bearing to our lives is a liar and to provide proof. Go sit in a box with nothing in it at all and add zero color to it. Life would be nothing if not for the creations of art and the pursuit of happiness that comes from art. Its a necessity for life. Want more proof go to any college and ask any professor of psychology or sociology. For goodness sakes really sit down and honestly think about it really long. Where do you think we would be as a species if art never existed. We would still be apes. Seriously think about what your saying. Art is unnecessary? What a FARCE. We wouldn’t have anything we have now without it!!


                    6. modernman

                      Art and music are, simply, essential to our existence as human beings. One can physically survive with food, water, and shelter alone, but that is not human existence. There is no culture on earth that does without music and art. And culture is the key word: we have a culture as humans, where ideas are developed, shared, sung, written, drawn, painted. It is indeed essentially part of our existence even though it is often not visible or tangible or measurable.

                      There are, by the way, plenty of cultures that do fine without investment bankers, chief executive officers, and lawyers; however I don’t notice anyone advocating for those professional people to work for free. No, it is the ESSENTIAL people that we see being asked to work either for free or for a pittance: farmers and farm workers, teachers, artists, musicians. Imagine a world without these people; it would be an inhuman one.

                      We are at a place in history where our technology enables a far greater and more efficient economics. It is time now that the amazingly beautiful essentials of human existence (including our culture) be adequately supported by our amazingly advanced economics, so as not to allow the economics juggernaut to overbalance itself for its own sake, thereby squeezing out the influence of the culture which makes us essentially human. It is time.


                  2. Jay

                    Cultural anthropologists would disagree. Music is culture, which isn’t just something to keep you occupied when you’re not at work or solving world poverty, it’s essential to societal development and even survival in extreme cases. You only have to lightly study the African diasopra and the development of African-American music to understand that.


                    Reply
                  3. Total Normal

                    So, why is it that you don’t live on the strict minimum required for surviving ? You should have the luxury of listening to music, while nobody should have the luxury of making music ? And how would you be listening to Muse while at the same time forbiding Muse to do what they do ?

                    The luxury argment is so tired really. Yes, everything that is not food water and shelter is luxury. You wrote this on a computer, laptop or smartphone, so according to your theory nobody should be allowed to work in that industry also since it is luxury.

                    In fact, nobody should be allowed to make a living out of anything that does not concern food, water or shelter.

                    No ? Ok then tell me why your principle applies to music, but not to everything that was surronding you while you wrote this. You were probably seated on a comfortable chair or sofa, so put that in the “luxuries” also, along with the TV, phone, furniture, etc

                    So you will say that my argument is caricatural, but who then will decide what is luxury or not ? You, of course. You will decide that music is a luxury that you have the right to enjoy, but that people should not be paid to provide you with enjoyment. Maybe you’ll tag in th other arts, books, movies, all superfluous.

                    Then we shall hail the Great You who finally figured out this stuff for us, and you will have to decide between two alternatives ;
                    1. enslave people to make the music that you enjoy, as they should not be paid in your system – but then you will still have to feed them so they can keep on the labor… hmmm that sounds actually more expensive than the actual state of things.
                    2. make music illegal. Make everything non-essential illegal for that matter, and make everyone sleep on concrete beds and eat only bread and water. But then, you will have no music to enjoy yourself.


                    Reply
                    1. INTP

                      Here I stand, making an argument without any personal attacks, trying to have an intelligent discussion, but such things are nearly always spoiled by those that think primarily with emotions. All of your points could have been made without insulting me; regardless, I will respond.
                      You must not have seen what I said just down the page: “People should be payed as long as their entertainment form is used by people, and in our developed society today, that is generally how it goes, though this industry seems to be somewhat of an exception.” (not an exception because they shouldn’t be paid, but because they aren’t being paid.
                      After reading what you wrote, I can tell that you really didn’t grasp what I was trying to say, and maybe that’s your fault, and maybe it’s mine.
                      The fact of the matter is that I never said I wanted to without luxuries, I never said anyone did. Show me where I said Muse should be forbidden to make the music that I myself said I enjoy, then I will answer your questions.
                      And again in your next paragraph, you yourself created a theory that you then labeled ‘my’ theory.
                      I never said that musicians shouldn’t be able to work; that is ridiculous. I said that what they make is inessential, and therefore, unfortunately, you wasted a lot of time typing out that response, although it is always a good exercise to think and come up with arguments, so maybe it was not a waste. Next time, just make sure you address the topic.


                  4. anonymous

                    Your comment about music not being a necessity, I believe you should take a lesson in energy & frequency. Recording in a frequency of 528 hz repairs DNA, gives mental clarity & energy. 528 Hertz is a frequency that is central to the “musical mathematical matrix of creation.” More than any sound previously discovered, the “LOVE frequency” resonates at the heart of everything. It connects your heart, your spiritual essence, to the spiraling reality of heaven and earth. You understand that the world is made up of energy, even our bodies are made up of energy. Energy broken down is a wave frequency. The only reason anything is “solid” is because we have collectively agreed it to be solid. So therefore, the very essence of life is energy & frequency. Which is exactly what music is. Music has the power to immediately change your mood, your thinking & even your life. So I do believe that it is a “necessity”…and especially more of a necessity than a hamburger from McDonalds full of chemicals and GMO shit that is actually killing you. McDonalds is not a necessity. Next time try a better analogy, and research before you speak.


                    Reply
                    1. Cdg

                      You have won this argument- Music is a necessity. Its had to explain this concept to people who don’t understand its need but you nailed!. The end.


                  5. joebob

                    so, if that’s the case, you shouldn’t have to pay for anything not essential to your immediate survival. video games, your phone, ipad, television, sports tickets, books, etc, should all be free. only food, water and shelter should be paid for.


                    Reply
                  6. Kitch

                    You can feel that it isn’t necessary but if you need food and water…so do the people who create that music. and it takes time to do. I am sure you go buy clothing when new trends come out, new shoes before your old ones have holes because of the look they provide. You probably buy things like toothpaste and shampoo which you could make yourself. And since you do not farm for yourself and I know you purchase food that is NOT necessary for sustainable life…just stop paying for that too. Oh, and your car…you can walk why do you need that? Stop watching TV and going to the movies, you shouldn’t have to pay those people for making “art”.
                    And finally, why would you pay for the internet you are using to make these comments? Gone, no need to pay for your entertainment.


                    Reply
                  7. t

                    INTP you are wrong. Art has always been essential to life. Art was the first form of communication that facilitated language and religion. study some Anthropology.


                    Reply
                  8. t

                    INTP you are wrong. Art has always been essential to life. Art was the first form of communication that facilitated language and religion


                    Reply
                  9. LT

                    Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one theory for you. The notion that humans must have various needs met before others can be attended to. For example, the basic survival needs of food and shelter must be met first. If these are not, according to the theory, a person can’t be expected to feel safe and secure, or pretty much function properly in society. Once the basics are met, then a person also feels safe, other, more complex needs can be attended to. So no, our bodies will still function at a basic level without art. We’ll continue to breath and our hearts will still beat. But no-one’s description of a ‘life’ of any meaning or worth will be devoid of art. Some of the most ancient records we have of human civilisation are art. Every primitive, ancient culture created art. They painted on rocks, they sang songs, developed musical instruments, they painted their skin and clothing…

                    Interestingly teaching tends to be another career that is treated in a similar way. If teachers ask for more pay or government assistance, they’re accused of being whingers and slackers. Apparently teachers are also supposed to work ‘for the love of it’. Considering the time doctors spend studying before they can work, they must really love it, too. No-one complains that they make big salaries, though…


                    Reply
                  10. really?

                    So just because its not essential to survival people should not get paid for the work they do? That means that other than a basic set of clothes, all others should be free because they’re really not helping you survive, screw the people spending days of their life to make it. Or your sofa, tv, computer, are they giving you shelter, food or water? We live in a world with a countless amount of comfortable luxuries, and we should pay for the ones we choose to use in our life, to ensure that people will continue to create things for our pleasure. If I want a chocolate, completely unnecessary but tasty, I don’t go to steal one, I pay for it. How many cd’s could you buy a month instead of sodas, candies and other useless things that doesn’t benefit anyone? Music (good music anyway) does a lot more good for the mind and soul than lots of other things we choose to spend money on. People should support the artist they love or not listen to their music. But by all means, if you really mean everything not needed for survival is unnecessary I think you should buy yourself a deck of cards (cheap and reusable!) and entertain yourself with that every night.


                    Reply
                6. sage

                  This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen all year.


                  Reply
                7. rrutz

                  Nurg,
                  you are so far from the truth it hurts. Just for a second imagine a bar, a restaurant, a nightclub, a movie, an advertisment, a radiostation, a tv station, a shop …. without music. Huh? I own a bar and I know just how important music is. A restaurant without music can’t be done. Neither can a TV spot or a movie be done without music. And why do you think mobile companies like nokia or t – mobile or apple have their cell phones come with music streaming flats? Why do you think google launched google+ music services? What do you think iTunes makes per year? And you really say making music is not producing anythin anyone needs? Duh! Fail!


                  Reply
                8. Decio

                  how can anybody compare real work to music production? what if we all just decide to make music? i’m not saying that music is not important, i am a musician, composer and producer myself. but that’s not what describes me. i prefer to say that my occupation is agriculture…even if it’s just doing it for myself and small community. but that is something pertinent to our lives… not making music and being a “serious-dr.-of-music-production-while-i-eat-a-burger-and-light-a-spliff”.
                  and in the case of Chakmakian it’s simple. somebody is taking his money, that he deserves. it’s the reality of “art” business. but people please, don’t compare these 1st modern world jobs with the value of the real world jobs. understand what Nurg intended to say.


                  Reply
                  1. RT

                    I’m a farmer and a musician and I play music because it is harder than anything I have ever done if you look just at the performance of a piece of music sure it doesn’t look like much work but that is just as stupid as saying that when farming all you do is throw seeds in the ground and water them. Do you want people telling you they don’t have to pay for your goods cause your job looks easy to them?


                    Reply
                  2. engineer88

                    Decio, I am an audio engineer. I work producing music. I get paid for my services. Most of the musicians that pay me to record their music do not get a return on their investment. That is the core of the original thesis of this thread. No music is not an essential element to survival. But it is a good and a service, so fair compensation is deserved. Music is a business, and just like all things in life, the CEO makes the dough and the people creating the product collect what falls out their pockets…


                    Reply
                9. Bruce

                  I’m giving the benefit of doubt that this is sarcasm. Music doesn’t bring benefit to someone else? Do people not listen to music? Is it not played in restaurants, stores, and cars on a daily basis…even as background? Why…if it has no benefit? Where does the money come from to pay for the equipment needed to produce music…not just the instruments, but the studio, and the recording equipment? Really..now!!


                  Reply
                10. Mark

                  You’re an ill-educated idiot.


                  Reply
                11. Anonymous

                  Good point said terribly.
                  not producing anything of value yet
                  handing someone a burger has value because someone wants a burger of that type handed to them
                  Some has to need what you produce


                  Reply
                12. Keal

                  I got up at 5am and drove to the load out. Broke a serious sweat loading equipment (including a B3) drove 285 miles, set up, played 3 hours in the Florida summer sun, tore down & load out again, drove 285 miles back, unloaded and got home at 3am. Wound up making $35 profit. Nah, we don’t work….


                  Reply
                  1. Garrett

                    Been there, Keal. I salute you.


                    Reply
                13. anonymous

                  Your comment about music not being a necessity. I believe you should take a lesson in energy & frequency. Recording in a frequency of 528 hz repairs DNA, gives mental clarity & energy. 528 Hertz is a frequency that is central to the “musical mathematical matrix of creation.” More than any sound previously discovered, the “LOVE frequency” resonates at the heart of everything. It connects your heart, your spiritual essence, to the spiraling reality of heaven and earth. You understand that the world is made up of energy, even our bodies are made up of energy. Energy broken down is a wave frequency. The only reason anything is “solid” is because we have collectively agreed it to be solid. So therefore, the very essence of life is energy & frequency. Which is exactly what music is. Music has the power to immediately change your mood, your thinking & even your life. So I do believe that it is a “necessity”…and especially more of a necessity than a hamburger from McDonalds full of chemicals and GMO shit that is actually killing you. McDonalds is not a necessity. Next time try a better analogy, and research before you speak.


                  Reply
                  1. bluegrass rules

                    koo-koo


                    Reply
                14. CKNJ

                  Damn, I hope you were being sarcastic with the remark and did not truly mean it, because if you did mean it, you have lowered yourself to a depth that I cannot even fathom on the level of human existence! Callous ignorance and blunt artlessness at its worst.


                  Reply
                15. Kitch

                  Tell that to my husband who works a 12-14 hour shift at his day job, comes home to work on music over night and doesn’t sleep more than 3 hours just to go back to his day job. His work on the song takes it from sounding like it was recorded in a garage to something people should want to pay for.


                  Reply
                16. lee

                  Nothing you can say further matters. Say no more. You have said all we need to hear. You ARE the problem


                  Reply
                17. Shy Fly

                  @ Nurg…U are Ignorant, PERIOD!!…do you play an instrument?..Produce/Engineer Recordings? have a clue what it takes too operate a Recording Studio?…….Or do you just grab all the free downloads U can of the Latest “single” that “people are currently into”?…


                  Reply
                18. Shy Fly

                  You’re just plain Ignorant Nurg…Period!!…Learn an Instrument, Come on over and try to operate my Studio and record 1 Track!..(No, not a “song”, I wouldn’t ask all that of U,..I mean 1 single Signal path,…any Instrument U want,..and get sound Through the Console!!..I’d love too watch you try to figure it all out, You hard workin Fella you!!


                  Reply
                19. WordAndReason

                  You’re either just playing ‘devil’s advocate’ or you really are that stupid.


                  Reply
                20. CGB&P

                  wow. what an ignorant post. I sincerely hope that was a sarcastic remark


                  Reply
                21. Richy

                  Are you on crack? Thats the same as saying no actor is working, no performer is working, no sportman is working. shall i go on


                  Reply
                22. Jim

                  Art is a manifestation of our power to imagine and think and dream. it transcends the need for a practical purpose because it is a fundamental quality that defines us as humans both individually and collectively. Imagine a world with no music or stories or language or representations of the world around us. Without art, we would be cows in a field.


                  Reply
                23. AT0mC@

                  Congratulations to your parents.
                  They’ve “produced” an complete and utter idiot.
                  I’ve seen and read more sense in a spent toilet paper after voiding bowels and to be honest, in few used up condoms too….

                  From a hard working musician

                  AT0mC@


                  Reply
                24. THX-1138

                  Art is inessential to existence? So therefore don’t pay artists and they should give their stuff for free?

                  How about we, as the ripped-off and soon-to-be-penniless-artists, who create everything from the pictures you see on the Internet to the music that goes with the products advertised that you consume, decide to pay YOU little or nothing for the products and services that, ahem, ‘essential workers’ provide? Like, I’ll walk into a fast food joint where someone’s flipping burgers and I, after being holed up in a studio for hours on end recording, ask you to give me that hamburger for little or nothing, because I was hungry but couldn’t be stuffed acknowledging your labour that went into making that food? That’s the same deal when you think a person’s product (in this case his or her music), is something that should be given away.

                  Here are the parallels between the two, food and music: both are consumed on a daily basis, both are created using a set of techniques that may take moments or many years of learning and skilled practice, and both once experienced or consumed, are done so ‘in the moment’, the music lasts several minutes or more, the feeling of eating a satisfying burger sits in your belly for just as long….HOWEVER, the major difference is that the recording, once purchased, can be played over and over again to please your ears again, the same cannot be said for the burger. What is an absolute joke is that whilst there are a number of laws that guarantee a minimum wage for those that work flipping my burgers, the few copyright laws that used to guarantee some minimum compensation for artistic works (not just music, but visual media – films, photographs, and so forth) have now been so eroded by consumers having that “oh, art should be free, so screw you!” attitude, that soon it will not be financially viable to pursue such varied careers. Do you know who are also suffering losses under these current free-for-all circumstances? Writers, journalists, translators…..heck translators….THAT is as an ‘essential job’ as anything! Think that THAT is something any ol’ Joe can do? Sadly mistaken there (I know firsthand the specialised skill set for that, having worked for a government translation/interpreting department for a number of years AND holding a job as a bilingual telemarketer….Italian/English…with certificates and diplomas in my name).

                  If you think all arts related jobs are non-essential…..who will paint your walls, advertise food to you, educate your kids, subtitle that movie you’re watching and entertain you, just so that you won’t live in a grim, colourless Orwellian utopia with your greasy burger in its plain packaging? None of us, if we have no fair way of compensating us for our labours. Can YOU do what we do? Even better, WILL you do what we do if we had the same sort of attitude held against you?

                  Think about it next time you press a button. You wonder why very very few creative types can live up to the ‘rich-and-famous’ stereotype? The answer is at your fingertips, literally. Time this thievery is put on hold for good.


                  Reply
                25. The Beard

                  Nurg, what an arrogant, insolent fool you are. Musicians don’t do anything that benefits others? Imagine a world without music! A sad, sad, world that would be, but quite probably a place where you belong!!


                  Reply
                26. WVM

                  Wrong, musicians provide a concrete service, a world without music is a dangerous one, there is a reason music was being made since caveman days. It’s a necessity for a majority of people, just as much as food, air and water. Music is a necessity in so many ways, even trival ways like for example, can you imagine a TV show or movie without music? When you are on hold with a company on your phone there is music playing, you walk in a store, there is music playing, therapists use music all the time, you go in a gym there is music, there is an endless list of examples like this that make music a necessity in society. If it’s a necessity then it’s as valid as food or any other service in our society that warrants payment. If it’s not a necessity then take it completely out of society and see how long people’s sanity holds up, you take music out of society and you have a breakdown not only of society but of the human mind and soul. I’d say it’s pretty necessary. Go stroke your ego somewhere else.


                  Reply
                27. jsk

                  “Nurg” is a troll name straight out of Lord of the Rings! Just keep ‘im talking till sunrise, and he’ll turn to stone! :D


                  Reply
              2. Golum

                Nurg, you are an absolute asshole! And by the way, music helps, music lifts up, without music we would not be humans. So don’t you tell a musician that they were doing no good or that they were not working. You ignorant, uncultured idiot!


                Reply
                1. Benny

                  I’m just guessing, of course, but I think it’s possible Nurg’s using something called irony. Anyone here ever heard of it?


                  Reply
                  1. Really?

                    I find your use of the word “irony” ironic. I’m sure you meant “sarcasm”? While everyone else is an idiot for talking him seriously, so are you.


                    Reply
              3. Laura

                Recorded music, live performances, basically everything a musician does is considered a product. That’s why you’re able to sell it, duh. Also, music is a product that helps the world in endless ways by connecting one another. Maybe you are just hanging out with assholes and that’s your own fault, but there are many songs written out of selflessness and a desire to help the world. You sound uneducated and I don’t know why anyone would want to hang with you when you have such a bitchy attitude towards something as awesome as music and musicians.


                Reply
              4. Beast

                You are beyond ignorant. I never thought I’d read a comment this retarded, thanks for breaking the record


                Reply
              5. Pertianen

                Nurg: I see that you’re not familiar with the fact that Music can transcend you into enchanted and somewhat magical world – im much the same way as ypur imagination or literature can. And you seem to be totally obivious of the fact that there is such a thing called “music(al) therapy” which are prescribed to patients who either have neuroogical problems or might be cathatonic and don’t respond to any other treatment.
                Yes – Music can save lives! And it certainly saved mine when I was going throug a hard and rough period.


                Reply
            5. Anonymous

              “It’s fair to say that [insert any job or profession] should be done for the passion.”
              That doesn’t seem to work with all professions.


              Reply
            6. Anonymous

              its not fair to say that i’m a musician and whats holding me back is there is no money to made in i love music it’s my very essence it’s driving me and my wife apart and if i continue loving it the way i do it will probably make me miserable, i might do that because i love it so much, but that wouldn’t happen if there was money to be made in it


              Reply
            7. Anonymous

              There used to be two channels of income for an artists
              One the hundreds of hours in a studio , the creative process of producing /composing and then the hundreds of hours of rehearsals, being on the road , city after city day by day
              .wihout seeing your home These used to be two seperate things.
              It doesnt sound acceptale to me, that at a certain point ppl started
              Saying.:you still got the touring .. Touring is the income”
              Feels like you have to jobs but u actually only get paid for one of them


              Reply
            8. Andy

              That is the most infuriating thing you can say to a creative. I am not a musician, but work as a visual artist. The most ignorant of statements I have always heard is just like the one you wrote; “you shouldn’t be doing this for the money, but for the love”.
              Why not say that to a doctor? Or a lawyer?
              You ignorant scum.


              Reply
              1. kittyglitter

                That was awesome.


                Reply
            9. Time

              If your good at something, never do it for free. Especially in this world.


              Reply
            10. Adam

              I guess, therefore, it’s fair to say that football players should play because they love the game rather than for any financial gain. And doctors should work for free too, because they can feel good about helping people. J.K. Rowling shouldn’t make any money from Harry Potter. She loves to write! Engineers love to build things. So maybe one of them can come design and build me a new studio….for free!!!!


              Reply
            11. Mark

              Respectfully Adam that’s a rather ignorant thing to say, and contrary to what you believe it’s not a ‘fair’ statement. Why should people not be able to pursue the potential wealth in music for the sake of the wealth? I am a producer and songwriter and it’s my living. I work on commercial music (the hint is in the name). I went into this line of work originally because I love doing it. But I would leave the job tomorrow if I knew there was no potential for me to make money from it. Why should those who enjoy their job be penalised for it? If someone else doesn’t like doing their job then they can seek a job elsewhere. This idea that the arts are somehow different from all other industries and artists should allow themselves to be screwed over by everyone else because they earn ‘happiness’ instead of money is destructive and symbolic of just how skewed our culture is. As an example, I played a gig in France and was signing autographs and selling good quantities of CDs to people who didn’t even know me – as an artist I am pretty much a nobody. I have never seen this kind of respect shown from an audience in my country (the UK) and consumers need to learn some lessons.


              Reply
            12. Darren

              So with that logic, Doctors should really work for free since they’re saving lives (all humans deserves to live) and any payment should just be secondary to that. You, my friend have no place commenting here!


              Reply
            13. Pertianen

              Do you reason like that aswel when it comes to software developpers, programmers and engineers and their passion to put to use their skills and experience for coming up with new technical devices, programs and useful appliances that makes our Daily ife so much simpler?
              What’s fair with telling people “We love that you are passionate in your work and pour so much effort into it – but we still won’t pay you for the end product.”?


              Reply
          2. ben

            play some jam band hippie shows and make something


            Reply
        2. Firsto Lasto

          The financial incentive for making music can go to hell. Perhaps then all that will be left is the musical imperative to make music.


          Reply
          1. Dean Hajas

            There is simply a justification by the public for theft. Artists have not given “prior written consent” for anyone to have creations without payment in fair exchange. There is no need to justify the payment for Pizza at Ginos, it’s what he does….it’s what you consume. You consume the product….you pay…….If you choose not to….you pay by going before a judge. End of story.


            Reply
            1. Johnny Gagnon

              I hate to say this,but seeing how this industry treats its producers-creators and wants everything for next to nothing, I dont feel any obligation whatsoever to put anything near of a standard high quality…. you get what you pay for is all


              Reply
          2. Sebastian

            FInancial incentive can go away? How do you want musicians to pay their bills? Guitar center only has so many jobs, and music making takes a lot of time and 8 hrs spent at work only, leave you with little time.

            You pay for TV and still watch commercials.. Maybe pass along a little bit of that respect to Musicians??


            Reply
          3. yeah...

            your obviously not a professional, or probably even a musician at all


            Reply
          4. ken

            Which means there won’t be much music around. Congratulations you just destroyed music with classism.


            Reply
          5. jason weastell

            what an incredibly stupid thing to say……. hold on maybe films should be made just for the love with no financial support from anyone….. no avatars…no LotR etc….. how about doctors studying for 8+ yrs just cause they feel the need to treat people……why not go work in a factory just so you feel like your making a contribution to society ?

            Music takes a life time to learn. recording takes many years to get close to being right. Songwriting takes years before one can call themselves a songwriter……but naaaa lets give it away for free……… idiot


            Reply
            1. Jim Tokar

              Well Said Jason. My Feelings Exactly.


              Reply
            2. Mo

              That’s right Jason! well said… Wow, some of the comments here are so ignorant that it’s entertaining just to read.
              Why are people compelled to respond to things they know nothing about?


              Reply
              1. Edie Elle

                Well put Jason.


                Reply
        3. ekonoklasd

          Oh, no! Then an art form will no longer have a commodity value assigned to it for trade? Oh, the humanity!


          Reply
          1. Josh

            It’s not about attaching a value to music for trade, it’s ensuring that the money and time put into the music is justly reflected in the cost of the music. This means that artists are able to concentrate more on their music rather than spending all of their time trying to earn money to be able to afford studio time etc.


            Reply
            1. Ben

              There are lots of things where the cost isn’t reflected. It’s not about the value of the labor, it’s about the value of the end product. If the labor costs more than the end product, then guess what? You should probably stop producing. Musicians are usually warned by friends and family that their profession is not lucrative because of the incredible amount of competition. Ever heard the term “Starving Artist”? It didn’t come from nowhere.


              Reply
      2. Ryan

        Did you get into music because you are an artist and wanted to express yourself while sharing your talent with the world, or did you get into music for the payday? If your career goal is nothing more than to make money then I guess you have a valid point. If you’re just going to whine about the fact that you don’t make as much money as you would like, then grow up Peter Pan, get out of neverland and be thankful you have a job you should love and quit being a bitch.

        oh no poor little guy doesn’t get to drive a Bently even though he’s been nominated for a gold statue. you’re life must be sooooo hard.


        Reply
        1. Ryan's Mom

          Ryan, I told you to stay off the internet!
          If you’re going to live in my basement, you follow MY rules!
          -Mom


          Reply
        2. sascha

          ryan, please stop listening to music.


          Reply
        3. Ryan's Father

          Ryan, if you don’t leave mom’s computer alone I’m going to have your sister spank you again! And you won’t get your own computer until you turn 12.
          -Dad


          Reply
        4. kittyglitter

          *Bentley
          *you’re


          Reply
      3. Sara Wildavsky

        Well said! You clearly have your priorities straight. This is beautifully illustrated and executed on EVERY level. Your picture is worth 1000 words if not a thousand bucks–particularly for those not in the music industry who would never be able to conceive of this. I have chosen to let my music stream away because people like it and it lifts their moods. Thank god I am not trying to support children this way. Thank you for this.


        Reply
    2. R.P.

      Not really the same sad story for everyone, but I get what you mean.


      Reply
    3. Nick Wright

      Whatever happened to merchandising and touring to make money? Did everyone think that they could write a couple of songs, and the internet would do the rest? Leave your house. Play shows. Charge money. I made more as a scrub cover musician in one night than this. I’m sure you could do better.


      Reply
      1. Nick Wright

        Here’s an example, even though I can’t stand the kid. Justin Bieber used the internet to get free publicity. He used YouTube to build his fan base, free of charge. Then, he started touring. Have you seen his Ferrari? He didn’t sit around waiting for the “internet money” to come rolling in. He cut CDs. He surrounded himself with people who know the business. Now, the little (bleep) is rich. He didn’t do it waiting for Spotify and Pandora to pay him royalties…


        Reply
        1. Chris

          Jusitin Bieber’s success is not a valid refutation to this. Although yes he used the internet – specifically YouTube – as a free platform to get publicity, he did not simply then “start touring” and make money. He was lucky enough to be seen and liked by a talent agent who got him a traditional record deal with a major label, which is what has made him famous.

          Saying that Mr. Chakmakian is “whining” that he doesn’t get to drive a Bently despite having won prestigious awards is ridiculous; what he’s doing takes skill, dedication, and a large degree of either expensive education or an even longer time learning without formal training and if this is how he’s being compensated he’s making less from this than he would working at McDonald’s, he wouldn’t be able to afford any car at all!

          The truth is that classical musicians/composers/performers shouldn’t have to compete with pop stars for attention and revenue. One is fine art and one is entertainment, and they have always been separate. In past golden eras for fine arts funding has always come from wealthy patrons and governments, and it is a shame that despite the wealth of talent in our country the current environment is so inhospitable to genuine artistry.


          Reply
          1. chad holbrook

            I would argue that his youtube uploads (all actually illegal under current US law) was what made him famous. This fame caught the attention of the… {insert the rest of your post}.


            Reply
    4. JD Michaels

      I am a singer/songwriter and a recording artist. I am currently recording my second album. Both of them financed by me. I got a basement cheap deal on a pro studio of $50 and hour. All studio time and production costs were paid for by me. How can artists make a living doing what they were born to do? The answer is that they can’t. I always say to people who play on these records, “Imagine what we could accomplish is music was all that we did!” It doesn’t matter how good you are either. The cards are stacked against artists from conception
      to completion.


      Reply
  2. Ray

    Let’s be honest though, 15,000 streams on Pandora = 1 spin on your average college radio station. You wouldn’t make that much money from 1 broadcast performance of your music. Don’t get me wrong, I think artist should be fairly compensated, but I find so many people approach this argument as if one person hearing them on Pandora = 1 spin on traditional radio where thousands of people are listening at any given time.


    Reply
    1. Anon

      let’s just keep in mind that if terrestrial radio were still the only type of radio Mr. Chakmakian would have received exactly $0.


      Reply
      1. Armen

        Correct regarding terrestrial radio – unless you’re getting tons of “spins.” I put this out there more for the person who enjoys getting their music for “free” and wanted to show how it trickles down to the artist.


        Reply
        1. Amura

          Thank you so very much Armen. I made around $550 from APRA last November, which I’m going to ask for a print out now. All I did was perform at open mic nights a couple nights per week and played at weekend markets! I make over $100 per day busking in Australia and it’s winter, over $250 a day in summer. I’ve never aired anywhere!! Joe Satriani travels the world, has great gear and sponsors for his talent but he’s broke. I’m deeply concerned. I own my music and art and demand a certain return for it. What you showed us is deeply heart wrenching. Perhaps there a a way to own our music collectively, bypassing the money trolls? That’s not for everyone mind you, some artists want to live the popular fame game. Not me that’s for sure! It’ll probably come to me when I’m in the middle of loving what I do. In that moment I’ll be sure to demand the cash in hand that’s relevant to each job, or gold might be more a safer bet. On a side note, maybe pop music is doing more damage to us behind the scenes than it is to the “deeper” music realm. So much to contemplate. Thanks again


          Reply
    2. David

      Pandora-lovers can’t have it both ways. Pandora promotes itself as something quite different from traditional radio: a personalised service which reflects individual listeners’ tastes. Either it is, in which case a much higher pay-per-play than radio is appropriate, or it isn’t, in which case it is a con.


      Reply
    3. Anonymous

      Nope, it’s worse. Terrestrial radio pays NO performance royalties at all.


      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        “Terrestrial radio pays NO performance royalties at all”

        That’s only true for North Korea, Iran and the US.


        Reply
        1. American Musician

          Right, so I get exactly zero from radio airplay.


          Reply
        2. Anonymous

          “I get exactly zero from radio airplay”

          So fix it. Terrestrial radio in the US is piracy.

          The solution is not to allow even lower Pandora rates. The solution is to raise the terrestrial rates.

          If radio stations can’t afford to pay, they can just go away. I won’t miss them. YouTube is the radio of today.

          (Sorry for not posting this as a direct response to your message; I keep getting an error message when I try.)


          Reply
      2. Johnny SESAC

        Wrong. Terrestrial radio *does* pay performance royalties—to publishers/songwriters.


        Reply
        1. Patricia Shannon

          I’m a songwriter, not a performer, and I think performers should get radio royalties. They bring our songs to life. W/o them, it would be back to trying to earn money from our music by selling sheet music.


          Reply
          1. Xfactor

            I am also a songwriter and performer as well.
            One needs to distinguish between terrestrial over the air free radio versus digital non-interactive radio first. There is bookoo copyright law that addresses each sector succinctly, though it might have been overlooked with opinions that some have erroneously formed not knowing the entire picture.
            On digital radio, artists ARE being compensated as well as composer/publishers. Whereas terrestrial radio has ALWAYS played songs recorded by artists. Sheet music does not translate well over the radio. Smile !


            Reply
            1. Saddened Music Lover

              I’m on the entire other side of the spectrum, Im a media buyer. But the amount of money that companies pay to have a :15 or :30 spot on things like Pandora amaze me, yet the real reason people go to Pandora is to hear music they love and in all respect is a great way for artists to receive feedback. But it saddens me the lack of respect that these outlets show for the artists, but just like any business or artist, and in nature of becoming the fittest for survival, you have to find a new and creative way to earn your worth. Only you can determine that. Good luck Armen and know that your art is appreciated, better by some than none.


              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                I am a performer and songwriter. And I do not think that paying a performer per play is necessary, unless they are part of the writing process. Most performers are studio musicians and get compensated on a job to job basis. They are paid for their work. In some case, paid more than that artist will make in the life of the song via airplay.


                Reply
      3. Xfactor

        In comment that Terrestrial pays no performance royalties, is a big fat WRONG. They pay ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for the publishing/composer royalties. You folks have got to get your facts straight. In Digital Radio non-interactive performance, there are master recording performance rights usually collected and paid through SoundExchange, et.al. as well as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
        Back to terrestrial FREE RADIO.
        It was not long ago that labels PAID radio stations big buck (payola) to play a label’s represented artist. With more digital radio out there, instead of artists (for the master right) getting ZERO, they are now making some remuneration. We need to address and off-weight where the money used to be from a sale of a CD, or download. I agree that with dedicated INTERACTIVE streaming services there needs to be rate adjustments. Both the mechanical and master rate should be on par instead of the labels negotiating an independent rate.
        (While I’m at it, we need to have the same methodology across all boards for all PRO’s as well.)
        Here’s a thought, why not have the labels accountable to a compulsory statutory rate just like music publishers (songwriters) are forced to accept? (According to USA c/r law)
        That would make a level playing field where MANY MORE digital services can immediately get licensed, enter the market and pay royalties rather than held up via arbitrary label discretionary negotiated varying high rates that are imposed by labels to all digital companies trying to obtain licensing for songs in bulk for instance. (Read… stymieing the market and fostering more piratical activity)
        Also, how many of you are actually being paid properly by the labels when those labels receive royalties for your songs on your behalf from all digital sources??? Hummmm?


        Reply
        1. I LoveMusic

          Also, monitor your airplay with media base reports. Those show how much terrestrial airplay you are getting and where. And you can hold your performance royalty company accountable for your check.


          Reply
        2. mc

          Agreed. Standardizing the rates for both the performance royalty to the songwriter/publisher AND to the performer/label would make life easier for all involved. I have been on the writer/performer side and I am also on the digital distribution/app side and the chaos and legal costs along with risk of litigation far exceeds the costs it would be to pay a standard rate.

          All said and done – these reports and payments seem relatively fair to me. As a few of the other folks out there have said – it just may not be reasonable to expect to make a living without live performance.


          Reply
      4. Guest

        Incorrect. Terrestrial radio pays no performance royalties to artists. But they do pay the songwriters/composers, etc. I agree that artists should be paid but let’s get the facts right. The statement posted was as a writer/composer so that’s what should be compared.


        Reply
        1. Xfactor

          Read my comment again. I said exactly what you reiterated. Where am I incorrect?I am a major player in the licensing arena.


          Reply
          1. chad holbrook

            Anyone that says “I’m a major player” usually isn’t.


            Reply
            1. Xfactor

              Hang in there Chad and thank you for the compliment. I’m glad I am outside of your “usually” comment.


              Reply
      5. Sebastián

        Terrestrial radio doesn’t pay for the SOUND RECORDING, they do PAY for the MUSICAL WORK– Songwriters get paid, labels don’t


        Reply
    4. Johnny SESAC

      Exactly this. As long as we’re talking about him as a writer/publisher.

      Performer or master owner is of course different.


      Reply
  3. Me

    This is just performance royalties, right? Not songwriter royalties? It’s definitely not sound recording/master royalties. You’re not telling the whole story here.


    Reply
    1. Armen

      This is for internet streaming radio only from the entities listed on the statements.


      Reply
      1. Me

        You should point out in this that these are indeed internet radio streams, as they have a different royalty payment structure as on-demand streaming services. Saying you only got $ 0.60 from one song on Spotify is misleading, because you’re not showing regular on-demand streams, and you’re also not reporting royalties earned on the sound recording.


        Reply
        1. Me

          Sorry, that first sentence was supposed to say “You should point out in this article that these are indeed internet radio streams”


          Reply
        2. never created

          isn’t that what ‘repetoire owner’ means, at least for soundexchange ? repetoire is owner of the sound recordings.


          Reply
          1. Me

            Ahhh… I only saw the “Featured Artist” on the first page of the statement. Makes a little more sense now.


            Reply
        3. B

          Nor is he reporting mechanical royalties, in addition to his performance royalties.


          Reply
      2. steven corn

        Armen, The Spotify payments on your BMI statement were just the publishing side and do not reflect any income from your master recordings. As an interactive streaming service, Spotify does not pay Soundexchange royalties for the master recording rights. Only non-interactive services such as Pandora pay SX. The master recording royalties from Spotify will be much greater than any performance royalties paid to you as the publisher via BMI.

        I see that you used Iris as your digital distributor who then licensed your catalog to Spotify. So you need to look at your statements from The Orchard (the buyer of Iris) and report your Spotify earnings from them. That will give a much clearer picture.


        Reply
  4. Me

    It’s also worth noting that Armen Chakmakian only has one song available on Spotify – on a compilation called “Buddha-Bar.” He only has 26 followers.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Why is this always the case for musicians that post this kind of stuff here? For once, I’d like stats from an actual well known musician.


      Reply
  5. Maugarz

    All this no limit streaming thing its wrong. And it will stay this way until musicians and artist decide to do something about it.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “And it will stay this way until musicians and artist decide to do something about it”

      Good point. Spotify and the reast will be dead without artists. Someone should tell them.


      Reply
      1. Guile

        Unfortunately, those artists sign with labels and transfer their rights, and those labels sign the deals with these platforms.

        Weird I know.


        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          “artists sign with labels and transfer their rights”

          Yes, that was true in the past.

          And 20 years ago, it made sense to pay labels 80-95% of your income because they spent fortunes on talent development and production.

          Today, the labels still take 80-95% of your income, but now they’re reduced to banks and expect you to deliver developed talent and radio ready recordings.

          Solution: Pay iTunes 30% — and keep all your rights!


          Reply
          1. Guile

            Of course it’s that easy!

            All you have to do is sign with an aggregator et Voila! $.70 on the dollar and all problems solved.

            That’s just not the case. Labels may function like a bank, but they’re much more valuable when it comes to sharing brand equity, marketing, manufacturing, tour support, PR etc. Getting signed is not easy, and finding success when signed is even harder, but I guarantee it’s easier than an artist or band trying to get a loan from an actual bank (let alone know how to use it effectively once they have it).


            Reply
            1. Anonymous

              “they’re [labels are] much more valuable when it comes to sharing brand equity, marketing, manufacturing, tour support, PR etc.”

              Again, that was true in the past. iTunes, YouTube, TuneCore, CDBaby etc. changed all that.

              Getting signed used to be something you were proud of. Today, it’s something you hide. Because people just don’t like labels. When you’re signed, they feel entitled to steal your songs. When you’re not, they know they’re paying you when they buy your tunes.

              And you said it yourself: When you sign, you transfer your rights to the labels. Which means you are caught in streaming hell.

              “Getting signed is not easy”

              No, but it is uncomplicated today. Labels don’t invest in you anymore, they buy your crowd. Which means they won’t touch you until you have a few million YouTube spins — and when you do, you no longer need the labels.

              “it’s [finding success when signed] easier than an artist or band trying to get a loan from an actual bank”

              Except you need that money to begin with, whether you sign or go indie. Labels don’t listen to demos anymore, they expect fully produced tracks. If you can afford produce these yourself, you don’t need labels. And if you can’t, nobody’s going to listen to you anyway.


              Reply
              1. Guile

                I can’t disagree more with the majority of what you’re saying.

                Then again, I’ve actually been in bands that have been signed to indies, and majors, and have been with ones who have gone completely DIY, as well as negotiating deals the aforementioned for other artists and running and indie label (all in the past decade mind you).

                It sounds like you had a bad experience and are speaking from that…. though it sounds more like you never got the experience in the first place, and you read a lot of things on the internet.

                People don’t hate labels, nor are many artists ashamed of them.

                Aggregators and Streaming services cannot, and do not replace label infrastructure and capability, they’ve merely disrupted one aspect of the industry.

                It takes money to make things, but a fraction of what it used to, and people do get signed and developed..just nearly not in the same fashion as they used to. I send demos and self produced tracks from artists to labels weekly, they get listened to, some get signed. It really depends on what your doing and how it’s getting there.

                Labels do invest in you, in fact 90% of the contracts you’ll see are for 3+ records, they’re looking to build a brand and a business with you and it’s a two way street. The level of investment differs from deal to deal and label to label. If you don’t like the terms and conditions then no, don’t sign. If you can do better then it’s on you, however people like Pretty Lights and Macklemore are the exception, not the rule.


                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  “It takes money to make things, but a fraction of what it used to”

                  But that’s just torrentfreak speak.

                  Let’s take a look at the facts, shall we?

                  Studio rent is more expensive than ever. Studio gear is more expensive than ever. Instruments are more expensive than ever. Hired musicians are more expensive than ever. Mixing and mastering engineers are more expensive than ever. And no, you don’t need tape equipment anymore, but you need expensive converters instead. Want me to go on?

                  You don’t get the sound consumers want from a stolen Cubase copy in daddy’s basement.


                  Reply
                  1. Guile

                    This is completely subjective.

                    The market for consumer and “prosumer” gear is growing and again, very accessible. Used gear is also more accessible than ever.

                    Major studios (Look at NYC for example) are getting shuttered because of the rise of mid level, extremely high quality studios that are popping up. These start at $800 a day, and this is one of the most expensive cities in the country.

                    If you want U87s, 72 channels of Neve, 24 Pulltechs and HD and that’s great, but it’s by no means going to make or break your record. Neither is getting Manny Maroquin to mix it, or Bob Ludwig to master it. If you’re trying to crack the major label pop world, all these things are ideas and names that get thrown around, but it’s all after the fact.

                    Skrillex made a hit record on a pair of K Roks and a cracked copy of Ableton, Flying Lotus still uses Reason. Bon Hiver wrote a record in a cabin with a laptop, 1 mic and a guitar. I can go on, but I won’t, don’t think you want to hear it.


                    Reply
                    1. Anonymous

                      “Skrillex made a hit record on a pair of K Roks”

                      Yeah, and Springsteen made Nebraska on a portastudio. You know why everybody knows these stories? Because they are extremely rare exceptions.

                      And if you think you get today’s vocals from U87s, you’re in for a nasty surprise.


                    2. Anonymous

                      EDM doesn’t need instruments or much of anything except for a laptop and pretty cheap DAW software. And it’s probably second to autotuned pop as far as popularity with the youth. Hundreds of thousands of them will spend $500 on a ticket to an EDM festival to watch a DJ press play on iTunes (hey, it’s “live” music, lol).


                    3. Anonymous

                      “EDM doesn’t need instruments”

                      And there’s so much EDM on Top 40, eh?

                      Again: It’s way more expensive to produce the sound consumers want today than it ever was.


              2. Anonymous

                Dude, 99.999% of self published musicians don’t make jack shit.

                Labels still OWN the music business, the tiny amount of musical acts they put forward each year literally capture 80% of the revenue for the entire music industry. 80%!


                Reply
  6. toobad

    Why is he supposed to be “rolling in the dough”. Why are we acting like EVERYONE who releases music should be making a living off of it. That’s dumb.. The band (not him) was nominated in 1992 for Best New Age Band..

    This shouldn’t even warrant a conversation..

    Bet you Drake or Katy Perry won’t be releasing numbers any time soon.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “Bet you Drake or Katy Perry won’t be releasing numbers any time soon”

      So there won’t be any Katy Perry windowing in your opinion?


      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Katy Perry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.


      Reply
      1. toobad

        Exactly… This dude doesn’t make music at a level that is palatable to the masses. So why should we bitch and moan if he doesn’t make money to support that? Nothing is keeping him from making music that he loves that would also make him more money..


        Reply
  7. Sew What

    You’re obviously using the “Grammy Nominated” title as if it carries some privilege or prestige. You were in a band for 4 of the 13 years it was together and during that period one of their albums was nominated for a Grammy. Need I remind you that Milli Vanilli were not only nominated for a Grammy but won one two years prior.

    During a one month period, the entire catalog of music for which you are entitled compensation for was played 14,227 times. Let’s average that out to around 475 plays a day, for your entire catalog. Which means that your entire catalog reached, at a maximum, 475 people in a 24 hour period. And that’s a stretch since it’s based on that fact that each play is by a unique individual. So, let’s just use 400 and say your entire catalog of music reached 400 people in a given day.

    Do you really feel those are numbers worthy of a windfall of royalties?


    Reply
    1. Armen

      The publisher took the liberty of using that “Grammy Nominated”. I prefer they didn’t because it looks like I wrote it. They basically published what I had on my blog that was titled “Want to See My Royalty Statement Showing Payments from Pandora, Spotify, etc.?” I posted it for awareness and discussion.

      Here’s the original post http://armen.tv/want-to-see-my-royalty-statement-showing-pandora-spotify-etc-736/


      Reply
      1. Tim

        i don’t claim to be an expert. I think it is reasonable that everyone in production of a song should make a reasonable dollar amount. It only seem fair. What that is I cannot venture a guess. My one point I would like to make is that when You Tube, a radio station, a bar, whatever pays a song it also is free advertisement for those that wrote, produced and performed the song. I’m older. I’ve a song on the radio or in a movie and thought, “Wow, I haven’t heard that song in 20 or 30 years. I think I’ll go find a CD to buy with that on it.” Its simple, people won’t buy a product they can’t see or hear or know nothing about. So when those that are involved in a song’s production want to paid or paid more isn’t it a little like biting the hand that feeds them.

        On the other hand I worked for a living. I never turned down a pay raise. I was a professional I worked hard and risked my life every day, and I certainly wanted to paid like a professional. So I don’t begrudge others wanting to paid the most for their work.

        Again, I am just a music listener, I know nothing about the music business, and I am not trying to offend anyone involved.

        Finally, I’d like to ask a question. I see how people and especially teens record a top ten or top forty song and put it on You Tube either, hoping to get known or to share with friends. Is that a copyright violation? And if so, do these organizations like ASCAP or BMI go after them, or do they wait to see if a kid only gets 100 hits they don’t bother but if they start getting a couple hundred thousand hits do they go after them. Okay that sounds like they are evil. I should say, ask to paid the royalties they are due. We’ve seen these groups that have gone after college students for downloading songs on school computers. Just curious? Thanks!


        Reply
    2. Armen

      The publisher took the liberty of using that “Grammy Nominated”. I prefer they didn’t because it looks like I wrote it. They basically published what I had on my blog that was titled “Want to See My Royalty Statement Showing Payments from Pandora, Spotify, etc.?” I posted it on my blog for awareness and discussion.


      Reply
      1. Guile

        So it’s safe to assume that your grammy nominated work is not on this list?


        Reply
        1. Armen

          Now that you mention it, I only see a few Shadowfax tracks listed.


          Reply
          1. Sew What

            The statements “Someone’s making money, and in true fashion with the music industry, it’s not the artists. Business practices like this are one of the reasons I jumped ship and only write for television now.” that you wrote in your blog post and repeated in this article imply you’ve been slighted by the compensation model.

            Unless you can present an argument showing the “400” estimate I calculated above to be wildly inaccurate, can you really make such as claim?


            Reply
            1. Armen

              So, let’s just use 400 and say your entire catalog of music reached 400 people in a given day.
              Do you really feel those are numbers worthy of a windfall of royalties?

              Worthy of a windfall? No. But isn’t it fair to say that this model pays extremely low — extremely low — compared to the other ways an artist can generate money with their music? I’m fortunate enough to make a living writing for tv. But if I was primarily a recording artist, man, I don’t know how the new generation can make it happen. I’m finding out from my younger friends that writing for music libraries is the new “getting signed.”


              Reply
              1. D.W.

                Streaming sites are ripping everyone off but them selves . I know some successful songwriters that are not performers. Some have multiple #1 hits and they did quite well before digital came along! I’m all for digital streaming & downloads. That’s were the industry is headed & will continue to evolve. Everyone needs to find a fair price to pay the Artists, writers, publishers. The digital age is a while new animal but let’s face it, it’s here to stay but I get sick to my stomach seeing what these streaming sites are paying! Sad! Peace


                Reply
      2. Sew What

        The statements “Someone’s making money, and in true fashion with the music industry, it’s not the artists. Business practices like this are one of the reasons I jumped ship and only write for television now.” that you wrote in your blog post and repeated in this article imply you’ve been slighted by the compensation model.

        Unless you can present an argument showing the 400 estimate I calculated above to be wildly inaccurate, can you really make such as claim?


        Reply
    3. Paul Resnikoff

      I wrote that title in first person, it wasn’t Armen. I apologize for that, I realize I put words into his mouth.


      Reply
  8. An Indie

    It’s great that the commenters to this item are putting these numbers in perspective (even if it’s unfortunate that the artist who shared his info solely to help others is catching shrapnel).

    These are important concerns and I applaud DMN for doggedly staying on each of the services about the $$$ reaching artists but, for more context, note that SoundExchange distributed nearly $600 million in performance royalties to performing artists and labels in 2013 (up each year from a revenue stream that only started generating real money 5 years ago – $147 million distributed in 2009, which was more than double what they distributed in 2008). I’m not suggesting that we should project uncapped exponential growth but as one commenter noted, compare those big and growing dollars to the $0 that am/fm radio pays (and then consider writing your congressperson and senator in support of a PRA) and imagine where we might be if Beats, Rdio, Spotify, etc. can experience anything close to these upward ticks in distributions over the next 4-5 years (noting that nearly all of SoundExchange revenue comes from 3 sources – Sirius, Pandora and iHeart).


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      45% of which goes directly to the artists.


      Reply
  9. dhenn

    Thank you Armen! People really need to understand how ridiculous this is!


    Reply
    1. Armen

      You’re welcome


      Reply
  10. Sew What

    The statements “Someone’s making money, and in true fashion with the music industry, it’s not the artists. Business practices like this are one of the reasons I jumped ship and only write for television now.” that you wrote in your blog post and repeated in this article imply you’ve been slighted by the compensation model.

    Unless you can present an argument showing the “400” estimate I calculated above to be wildly inaccurate, can you really make such as claim?


    Reply
  11. GGG

    See, despite the fact I agree with people saying “what do you expect, those plays are nothing,” the thing I get from this is you aren’t a stubborn moron sitting at home hoping royalties will pay your bills, like so many on this site seem to be. You obviously make enough money to live through writing for TV. A perfect example of how someone can make a living being a musician if they try new things. So good on you.


    Reply
  12. Veteran - US MUSIC INDUSTRY 1970-today

    What will you do in 20 yrs when it takes not tens of thousands, but tens of millions of streams to earn the same revenue?


    Reply
    1. GGG

      Why would that happen?


      Reply
      1. Faza (TCM)

        Short answer: the hard caps on streaming.

        The streaming model as it exists today has a revenue ceiling that is – theoretically – the total internet-connected population times the maximum subscription rate. In practice, it will be shy of that number by the percentage of the internet-connected population that doesn’t care about music enough to pay for a subscription.

        This means that in the long run revenue growth in the streaming sector will stagnate: everyone who wanted a subscription will already have one. Moreover, we should expect the maximum subscription rate to go down, for the simple reason that having picked off the low-hanging fruit (high-value customers), streaming companies will need to get competitive in order to get as much of the rest on board as possible (‘coz it’s good for the share price).

        At the same time, we can expect the number of songs available for streaming to grow as new artists emerge and existing artists put up new material – this means there are more people clamouring for a slice of the pie, which isn’t getting any bigger. Everyone will have to make do with less.

        Streaming as we know it is irrevocably broken and has been from the very beginning. An all you can eat model simply cannot work if the product is provided by as large a number of producers as music. There are two possible fixes: either streaming services must be made to pay a fixed wholesale price per stream – and let them worry about how to make it back – or listeners must be charged according to usage. Neither of those seems very likely, because it undermines the entire premise of existing streaming services and they will fight any such suggestion tooth and nail.

        The good news for artists is that streaming services can be killed by starving them of content.

        And before anyone says something about fans wanting streaming, consider: does an artist have fans because her music is on Spotify, or does Spotify have listeners, because popular artists are on Spotify?


        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          “The good news for artists is that streaming services can be killed by starving them of content”

          Yes, yes, yes!


          Reply
        2. Just a Listener

          And before anyone says something about fans wanting streaming, consider: does an artist have fans because her music is on Spotify, or does Spotify have listeners, because popular artists are on Spotify?

          Speaking strictly as a Pandora listener, not a musician, songwriter, performer or otherwise – I start a station with popular artists and their songs (that I hear on the radio in many cases), but I’ve found a ton of other new artists by listening to their songs streaming on those stations. And I buy their albums or songs on iTunes if I like them enough. If they weren’t on Pandora I wouldn’t know they existed, and I’d buy CD’s from the artists who do get their songs out there to be heard.


          Reply
        3. Johnny Come Lately

          <blockquote cite="The good news for artists is that streaming services can be killed by starving them of content."

          Yeah good luck with that. One thing agents/reps knew back in the days of 6 night a week club dates was there were always 20 bands in line to take a gig that someone turned down.


          Reply
        4. Johnny Come+Lately

          “The good news for artists is that streaming services can be killed by starving them of content.”

          Yeah good luck with that. One thing agents/reps knew back in the days of 6 night a week club dates was there were always 20 bands in line to take a gig that someone turned down.


          Reply
    2. Throckmorton Ploop

      In 20 years, I’m sure people won’t be streaming music like they are today. People will still be listening to music but it will be very different. Surely he can figure something out in the next 20 years. If not, DMN will still be here in all its’ glory, and musicians will still be posting their royalty statements wondering why they’re not getting paid more.


      Reply
  13. Dr. X

    76.74.24.142/2463566A-FF96-E0CA-2766-72779A364D01.pdf

    Streaming revenue 2011: $650 mil
    Streaming Revenue 2012: $1.0328 billion USD (up 59%)
    Streaming Revenue 2013: $1.439 billion USD (up 39.3%)

    2012:

    Streaming Revenue: $1.0328 billion USD (up 59%)
    Singles Download Revenue: $1.623.6 billion USD (up 6.7%)
    Album Download Revenue: $1.205 billion USD
    CD (physical): $2.4856 billion USD

    2013:

    Streaming Revenue: $1.439 billion USD (up 39.3%)
    Singles Download Revenue: $1.569 billion USD (down 3.4%)
    Album Download Revenue: $1.234 billion USD (up 2.4%)
    CD (physical): $2.1235 (down 14.6%)


    Reply
    1. Dave R

      Interesting numbers Dr.X. What’s your source?. And I wonder if 100% of those $ went to musicians/writers i.e. the creators not middlemen. Still seems like high numbers, considering that I typically get between 0.01 and 0.0001 cents per stream. At $1.439b revenue divided by say 0.001 cents per stream = 1.439 trillion = 1439,000,000,000 streams.
      The streaming has to either stop or pay it’s way. I’ve had a ‘guts full’ of those that want virtually free music.
      I made the mistake of putting my 1st album up for streaming. I have made the same mistake again. It’s time for serious musicians/writers to put an end to this ‘bullshit’ user mentality…Take a stand now…don’t select streaming for your distribution.
      Also thanks Armen for disclosing the pathetic state of the digital music industry.


      Reply
      1. Dave R

        Sorry, meant to say that I HAVE NOT made the same mistake again. Cheers


        Reply
  14. G

    Looks like Live365 supports artists the most even though it’s still a small amount.


    Reply
  15. Stefano

    To be clear: these are royalties from BMI/Soundexchange. These aren’t direct earnings paid by DistroKid or other service.


    Reply
  16. Stefano

    To be clear: these are royalties from BMI/Soundexchange. These aren’t direct earnings paid by DistroKid or other service.


    Reply
  17. Jay Kay

    Armen, what about sales from digital music files? Did they amount to much?


    Reply
    1. Armen

      Selling digital music files pays much higher and amounts to much more. Compare selling 10 files to streaming 10,000 performances. Now that starts a whole new discussion about “why should someone buy music when they can hear it for free?”, right?


      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        “Now that starts a whole new discussion about “why should someone buy music when they can hear it for free?””

        Yes — why indeed?

        Which, for me personally, leads to this release strategy:

        1) Stay away from labels if at all possible. That’s one of the only ways to avoid Spotify.
        2) Sell your songs from iTunes via an aggregator — and keep 70% of your income.
        3) Use YouTube for non-cannibalizing previews, behind-the-scenes, interviews, etc. and monetize via ContentID as well as TuneCore, or similar services.
        4) Use one or more good anti-piracy services during release week.
        5) Stay away from streaming — at the very least during release week, and preferably during release month.


        Reply
        1. Johnny ComeLately

          2) Sell your songs from iTunes via an aggregator — and keep 70% of your income.

          Which to me is too little for the very small effort it takes to load a file that takes a minuscule amount of space on a disk and requires no effort other than a person searching for it to in order to download. And please don’t say that it costs money to provide servers and disks because the cost is offset by the number of users in the catalog. Especially when you consider that some services have actually leverages the user space to store the files and to minimize bandwidth usage.

          iTunes along with any other service shouldn’t be taking more than 10%. If they want more money they should get it by Artist/Song Feature. i.e. Want your song featured? Pay a percentage to them to cover marketing costs.


          Reply
  18. questions

    can someone make it easy and break down the various collection agencies? it’s crazy. as an composer/label owner, i belong to 6 or so, each doing different things. here’s what i think i know:

    1) performance royalties for tv/radio (this one’s easy: ASCAP, SOCAN , etc)
    2) performance royalties for non-interactive digitial internet streaming: a) as writer b) as label/repetoire/sound recording owner (Soundexchange)
    3) mechanical publishing rights related to interactive streaming, limited downloads, locker services (Music Reports Inc)
    4) broadcast mechanicals for digital downloads, permanent & limited, and streaming, satellite (so collects from Apple etc. for mechanical for d’loads to iphones, computers, etc.)
    5) for the purpose of broadcasting or duplicating AV recordings as rights holder/label (somehow different than #4; i think they collect from say, radio broadcasters in Canada (my country).
    6) neighboring rights and private copying to recording artsts (as featured performer, different from being writer. so i think Ringo would collect these ones.)

    point being that there are different organisations to join for performance as writer, broadcast; for performance, digital; for sound recording/master owner, broadcast, and digital; for noninteractive digital; for interactive digital; and as featured performer (different from writer). did i miss anything?


    Reply
    1. Armen

      One more thing you should know. I don’t know how it works in Canada, but in the US, from what I understand, in order for me to get paid mechanical royalties for any of my music released on a European label (see the “Buddha-Bar” album. They license a track where I own the copyright, publishing and master), I must have a sub-publisher in Europe, otherwise my publishing will go “poof”. Many artists from that album received no publishing money because they didn’t know this, and the label is not going to chase you down to tell you.


      Reply
  19. Buck

    “BMI and SoundExchange are my only known sources to collect money for my music that’s used on these streaming services.”

    I find the above quote troublesome. As I have pointed out several times now here in comments on DMN, there seems to be a lot of misinformed artists/writers when it comes to collection of streaming royalties. I don’t really have the time now to explain in detail how this money flows, but let me take this opportunity to (again) make a few points:

    1. SoundExchange pays royalties for non-interactive streaming services only. So while you should receive SoundExchange royalties for plays on Rhapsody or Spotify radio stations (since they are non-interactive), the majority of Spotify and Rhapsody uses are interactive uses for which royalties would be paid through by your record label or digi Distributor (CdBaby or TuneCore). As Armen notes, SoundExchange pays out royalties in two halves – one to the artist and the other to the sound recording owner (i.e. label).

    2. Your BMI statement only reflects the performance income generated by your Spotify plays. Similar to SoundExchange dsitribution, BMI pays these royalties in two parts – one to the writer and the other to the publisher. Presuming the above statement is Armen’s writer statement, there should also be a corresponding publisher statement.

    3. HFA collects and distributes ‘streaming mechanical’ income for both Rhapsody and Spotify. This is an income source Armen appears to be missing out on. Rates for streaming mechanical (and performance mechanical) are set by the CRB and based on a variety of factors, most important being the service provider’s gross income. A publisher has to register their catalog with HFA in order to receive these royalties.

    4. If your music is available to stream in Canada, you will also need to register with the CMRRA – Canada’s equivalent to the HFA. Streaming Mechanical royalties are collected direct from the source and distributed through them.

    5. As mentioned above, you should also see artist royalties come through your label or digi distributor statements. These payouts would likely comprise the greater percentage of your digi streaming royalties.

    So to sum up digi streaming royalties (in the territories of US and Canada)… It is a combination of SoundExchange artist, SoundExchange label, BMI writer, BMI publisher, HFA publisher, CMRRA publisher, TuneCore/CDBaby label statements.

    The money is still not all that great, but it is better than the picture Armen paints above. I sure do wish that someone would get this message out there. It gets tiresome to read articles where artists are complaining about payouts while at the same time showing their ignorance on how the various royalty services work.


    Reply
    1. Paul Resnikoff

      A few thoughts on this. I’ve been emailing with Armen to assist him in uncovering revenues from areas like US-based mechanical rights, streaming recording revenues, YouTube revenues, etc. You ask, how could an artist not be aware of these channels? Especially an intelligent, together writer and performer like Armen?

      Well, the answer is, ‘easily’. I bump into smart artists like this all the time, who simply can’t manage the insane complexity of their revenue funnel and maintain their creative and performance commitments. Last week, an artist asked me why their song was playing non-stop in Panera Bread, yet they were receiving nothing. That’s just scratching the surface.

      But beyond that, even professional organizations and attorneys struggle with these revenues streams.

      In fact, I was just in a debate about foreign PRO reciprocal royalty commitments on US-based ‘carve-outs’ from ASCAP or BMI. Does a service have to pay for that if you are playing a ‘carved-out’ song overseas, like in Europe? We all had different opinions on the matter, yet we’re all ‘so-called experts’. Actually, the area itself is gray, with European PROs claiming revenues they may not have a right to; others feel they are justified in making these claims. Other companies just don’t have to bandwidth to tangle with someone like GEMA.

      I’m not sure I want to steer the boat into conspiracy theory waters here, but I will say that there is a tremendous disincentive against clarifying and simplifying copyright here. The reason is that a simple, transparent, ‘collapsed’ copyright would eliminate all of the inefficiencies that, frankly, pile up into hundreds of millions in excess, unpaid and unfound money accounts every year. Why doesn’t SoundExchange clean up its processes and find artists better; why are their name-based matching systems considered behind? Well, I’d point you to an interest-bearing unpaid balance of tens of millions, or probably hundreds of millions (I haven’t checked recently) that supports salaries and the very existence of that organization.

      So blaming all that on Armen isn’t right. Artists like him are confused and not collecting all of their royalties because of a system that has little incentive or motivation to improve. And, at a top level, the system isn’t transparent and is many times cheating the artist by design.


      Reply
      1. Buck

        Apologies if my response read like a personal attack on Armen – it wasn’t intended to be so. The problem extends far past a singular independent artist. A lot of complaints I read coming from higher level artists is based on the same fallacy. Like I said, I really wish someone or something would get word out there and clear up a lot of the common misconceptions. Organizations like ASCAP, SoundExchange, et al tend to spin things to their advantage. I don’t know that I’d call it a conspiracy as much as it is ‘competing interests’ at play. This is the real problem.

        Everyone understands that they aren’t getting paid, but the truth is that the revenue streams get clogged in the pipeline. The NMPA successfully lobbied for streaming services to be required to pay ‘mechanical’ royalties for their service. In doing so, they allowed for their for-profit sister company, HFA, to enter the picture and establish themselves as the ‘administrator’ working on behalf of Spotify, Napster and Youtube to distribute these royalties (and being paid to do so). At the very same time, the PRO’s argued strongly that these royalties should be categorized as ‘performance’ income and collected and distributed as such. The NMPA had support of the publishers on this because if all streaming income was determined to be ‘performance’ then the PRO’s would pay out writer shares directly, rather than publishers having the ability to collect and hold against recoupment. This is just one of many examples I can give on competing interests. (btw – you’ll notice that HFA’s effort in reaching out to non-affiliate publishers to pay these royalties pales in comparison to what SoundExchange does)

        And speaking of ASCAP… Armen should consider himself fortunate that he opted to go with BMI rather than ASCAP. From my experience (I work as a publishing administrator/royalty auditor), BMI puts forth a much better effort to accurately report such streams. In contrast, ASCAP uses archaic sampling systems that favor only the larger catalogs. Then they raise the ire of their writers by publicly attacking services like Pandora claiming that writers are treated unfairly. Writers then look at their statements and get upset because they see incomplete and inequitable earnings from Pandora, when the truth is that ASCAP does collect money from Pandora – but it is the larger catalogs that see the lion’s share in their distribution.

        I could go on and on about this, but I’ll stop here. You’re correct in that the system – at its top level – isn’t transparent and cheats the artist/writer by design. It is extremely political and exploitative. That’s just the sad nature of it


        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          “they [ASCAP] raise the ire of their writers by publicly attacking services like Pandora claiming that writers are treated unfairly. Writers then look at their statements and get upset”

          Um, no — writers are upset because they’re forced to slave for Pandora.

          And it didn’t help that Pandora sued them.


          Reply
          1. Buck

            I’ll disagree with you on that. Writers aren’t ‘forced to slave’ for Pandora anymore than they are forced to slave for terrestrial radio. The problem with distribution is that there is a finite amount of money allocable to an infinite number of streams. ASCAP’s position is that they should be able to negotiate ala ‘free market’ rates for the performance right. Their argument definitely holds merit, but its hard for me to fully stand behind them when they have consistently shown an inability and/or unwillingness to distribute the money equitably. If you are an ASCAP writer (or know one), I challenge you to look at your writer statement and try to make sense of the stream count for digital services. You’ll see that it makes no sense – their calculations and distribution system favors only the top percentage of writers/publishers. Believe it or don’t – I could care less – but, that’s how the system is set up. BMI has the same struggles, but their distribution on these services is markedly better. Plus, BMI doesn’t run up litigation expenses in quite the same manner as ASCAP – their ‘wait and see’ approach nets writers/pubs more in the end.


            Reply
            1. Anonymous

              “Writers aren’t ‘forced to slave’ for Pandora anymore than they are forced to slave for terrestrial radio”

              I’m so glad you brought this up.

              In the past, you were proud when you got signed by a label — and ecstatic when you heard your songs on the radio.

              But here’s what labels and terrestrial radio means to artists today:

              Nada.

              Everybody listens to YouTube.

              If radio stations — terrestrial, or otherwise — can’t afford to pay for the services they want, they’ll just have to shut down.

              I won’t miss them.


              Reply
              1. Buck

                Anonymous – are you talking about Pandora, or are you talking about YouTube? These are different services (one is interactive and the other is non-interactive), with different royalty obligations. That said, I’m not sure I understand your point.

                Pandora wasn’t asking for complete relief from paying songwriters and publishers for the use of music on their services. Pandora was under an agreement with ASCAP to a fluctuating rate of between 1.85% – 3.6%, and they were looking to lower it to a non fluctuating 1.7%. Their argument was simply that the same rates applied to terrestrial radio rates should be applied to them. In response, ASCAP pushed for a rate of 2.5% for 2013 and 3% in 2014-2015. The rate was set at 1.85% – which is higher than what terrestrial radio pays, but lower than what ASCAP requested.

                Ask yourself this though… had ASCAP won, do you think the smaller writers and publishers would have seen much of an effect? The answer to that is no. By ASCAP’s distribution method, only a certain (and small) percentage of Pandora uses are sampled and then the money is distributed accordingly. Again, it is a system that really befits the larger catalogs. The larger and more consistent of a market share, the more likely a publisher will be represented in a small sample size. You can rail against Pandora all you want, but its important to understand that ASCAP’s first priority is their larger publishers. Concern for the songwriter is largely a PR face.

                The point here is that you can hate on the Pandoras and YouTubes of the world all you want. They’re not the one’s truly ‘enslaving’ you though. I’d say that description is more apt for those that claim to ‘represent’ your best interests, but only do so under cloaked agendas.


                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  “Their argument was simply that the same rates applied to terrestrial radio rates should be applied to them.”

                  Yes, and my argument is that we need to raise terrestrial radio rates instead.

                  I don’t hate radio, but I don’t need it either. I just say: Pay or go away.


                  Reply
      2. Armen

        how could an artist not be aware of these channels? Especially an intelligent, together writer and performer like Armen?

        I’ll tell you exactly how. Here’s the timeline/trajectory:

        1997, recording first solo album, “Ceremonies.” Shopped it to 36 labels – no luck. Hired a consultant, started a label and released it in 1998. Spent money on retail marketing, radio promotion, promo stuff, etc. Got album into in all the stores, Tower, Virgin, Borders, B&N, indie stores, new age stores, gift stores. Bought spare batteries for my phones at home since I was on the phone all day long. Hardly touched my keyboard or played or wrote any music that year and didn’t sleep much. I turned down tours with other bands, and stayed focused.

        Album debuted at #1 on it’s genre of radio (which doesn’t exist anymore), spent $80k in first 8 months, maxed my credit cards, learned many of the games played by mainstream retail distributors regarding returns delayed payment to me (the label), sold about 15,000 albums (CDs and some cassettes) that year, most of which didn’t get reported to SoundScan. Almost broke even! “Buddha-Bar” licenses my track “Gypsy Rain.” Now I have to educate myself on how to deal with this deal. Sells 350k units first year. Took forever to get paid. Thank you GEMA.

        Gained enough knowledge via this process to talk to presidents of labels and use industry lingo. Chops were suffering. Played concerts. Lucky for me that albums in the the world music/new age genre have “legs” for a long time. Key Tower Records and Borders stores were my bread and butter. They kept me on their listening posts which did wonders. I worked this album for years until album #2 in 2004. (I managed to tour with other bands and do sessions in addition to all this).

        For “Caravans” I needed money to finish the album, so I sold my car, then my piano, then my house. Created an ebay auction selling my soul to the highest bidder to raise money. That allowed me to master the album. Everything that worked for “Ceremonies” – almost none of it worked for my 2nd album. Things are tanking financially! Now it’s 2005, I get a call for a track from Ceremonies to get licensed on “Malcolm in the Middle”. In a 5-minute call, I make the equivalent of selling 2,000 CDs and I don’t have to chase anyone down! Another call from HBO for Real Sex, a 2nd call them. A life-changing call from a production company asking me to write library music for their shows. What the hell is library music? I didn’t know shows had libraries?

        Cirque du Soleil calls to offer me a gig Apr-Dec 2006 in South America. All I have to do is learn to put on makeup and play the keyboards, and nothing else? I’m exhausted and my brain is fried and wife can come on tour too. Sign me up! Middle of 2006, I read the news in my Sao Paulo hotel room that Tower Records goes belly-up. Wow! End of an era. I come back home to my tv-music gig and get very busy. I try to keep up with the “laws of motion” of the music industry and can spend all day doing it. Fan mail trickles in from time to time, “When are you going to do another record?” “Are we going to hear music from you soon?” “Why haven’t we heard any new music from you?” It hits me — I don’t live in the music biz anymore. Sometimes I visit, but for now, I live in the tv biz. And I’m grateful.

        So as much as I try to keep up — I can’t keep up like I used to. Everything is different now. New baby, new company I started, taking care of a parent at the end of their life — This is how I become not aware of all the channels out there.

        Comments like Buck’s above (and I don’t think he was blaming me. I didn’t read it that way) are very helpful. Ok, I have to go change a diaper (Baby’s, not mine….yet)


        Reply
        1. Tunes

          Armen,
          Good story. Kids have a way of easing out all the other “important stuff” ;-)

          I must say though that I am deeply troubled at the number of people who read the title, skipped a good deal of the article and the comments just to weigh in and do some ‘bashing.’ Distressing how many people appear to be dumber than a box of hammers and then confirm it by making statements which reveal that they can’t read or even worse – didn’t bother to.

          Great thread and thanks to all who contributed some great insight.


          Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Wow. Well said.


      Reply
    3. Armen

      Thanks Buck. That’s great information. The two channels I missed were HFA and CMRRA. And yes, that screenshot is my BMI writer’s statement. The publishing is a bit less since there are a few co-writes I have on there where the publishing is owned by a label.


      Reply
      1. Buck

        Armen,

        You’ve definitely done a good job with setting up your royalty admin – a better job than most artists do for themselves, for sure. I sent you a message through your website. If you respond to it with your email address, I’ll send you the necessary forms for both HFA and CMRRA. In another comment on here, someone mentioned Music Reports. It is worth registering your catalog with them as well. And if you didn’t opt in to the NMPA-YouTube settlement a few years ago, you should have the ability to direct license with YouTube for publishing as well (if you opted in to that settlement, you are stuck with HFA handling the admin for you – another instance of special interests at play). There is definitely a lot to consider with this stuff – unfortunately there is no such thing as one stop shopping. You’re off to a good start though

        One more thing worth mentioning is ‘neighboring rights’. If you are a citizen of another country, have dual citizenship, record music in a non-US studio or (in some instances) record music with a foreign born citizen, you may be eligible for foreign artist performance royalties. SoundExchange has been collecting some of these royalties, but they definitely take a large cut before distribution. Depending on how much you earn from those sources, it might be worth looking into registering with a neighboring rights society.

        And another revenue source is the AARC – let’s not forget about them :)

        Best of luck to you and all other indie musicians


        Reply
        1. Armen

          I try my best to keep up. That’s good info about neighboring rights. I have a sub-publisher in Germany who I get my European publishing through. And thank you for the email.

          By the way, I had to Google AARC. The first thing that came up was The American Association for Respiratory Care. …made me laugh. I thought you were making a joke until I scrolled down to see who you were talking about.


          Reply
          1. Robert von Anzen

            AARC are the tape levy people, I believe. Their payouts have been a total joke compared to anyone else. Not even one thousandth of what SoundExchange pays out on a catalog wide basis. If you have a success story with AARC, let’s hear it!

            Then the guy running it, Mike Stern keeps sending out emails asking us to do his work for him so he can claim from other sources to feather his own nest.


            Reply
    4. Johnny Come Lately

      “I don’t really have the time now to explain in detail how this money flows, but let me take this opportunity to (again) make a few points…”

      Hot tip. Type it once then reference the page such as your blog. Oh yeah… URLs are blocked your comment would likely never make it to the thread because of that. So maybe DMN needs to create a blog area so these topics can be more fully explored.

      I don’t know what to say to your comments Buck. I know very little compared to other songwriter/composers. It all makes sense but just look at some of the prior questions asked by people who didn’t know and no one is stepping up to answer their questions. I have had people whine to me about payment rates and when I say: “Then let’s do something about it” they always reply “Oh I can’t do anything – I have no power” or “I don’t have the time.” It seems to me if this is a person’s chosen profession then they best be finding the time and getting the education because if they don’t they are certain to fail. And it is certain that more adept more able blokes will certainly take the time to pilfer the s/c’s royalties.

      Seems to me like there is a golden opportunity for someone to start a site that does nothing but administer s/c catalogs. Of course that’s what a publisher is supposed to do. Or at least use to do it.


      Reply
  20. Dr. X

    http://76.74.24.142/2463566A-FF96-E0CA-2766-72779A364D01.pdf

    SoundExchange (mostly Pandora) is paying about $590 million in royalties in 2013 (up from $462 million in 2012). Pandora has about 9% market share in radio.

    If Internet radio like Pandora grows 4 times bigger to 36% radio market share, Soundexchange distributtion would be $590 x 4 = $2.36 billion a year.

    Let’s hope internet radio become 4 times bigger in the near future.

    Terrestrial radio: pay $0 in royalties in 2013.
    Internet radio: $590 mil in royalties in 2013.


    Reply
  21. Dr. X

    The music labels LOVE LOVE LOVE when Internet Radio increases market share over terrestrial radio.

    The reason is simple:

    Internet radio (USA): $590 mil royalties payment in 2013 (up 28% from 2012)
    Terrestrial radio (USA): $0 in royalties payment in 2013

    Pandora reports that it has 9% market share in overall radio in March 2014. Imagine the revenue to the music labels if Pandora has 18% market share, 27% market share, 36% market share

    9% market share in radio = $590 million royalties
    18% = $1180 million royalties
    27% = $1770 mililion royalties
    36% market share in radio = $2360 million royalties

    As more people have smartphones and as the carriers offer better data allowance, more and more people will use streaming (both internet radio and on-demand).


    Reply
  22. Skrilly

    What is the bottom line? Your music was streamed 10,000+ times on non-interactive music services and you received a check for $30. Am I missing somehting – that sounds about right (1/3 penny / stream). Maybe even too much!

    Did you generate any download sales? What about on-demand royalties? If neither are meaningful, then $30 is free money from disinterested listeners who you would not have reached but for internet “Radio.” Congrats – its free money!


    Reply
  23. Willis

    Since when does “Grammy-nominated” = $$? I bet most people have no idea who this person is. He’s in the world music category which, as we all know, is not huge. Heck, I’m a Grammy-nominated artist, also, and I make more than $4.20 (heh, heh)…and nobody really knows who I am. Maybe this guy should focus more on monetizing his music than griping about his royalties.


    Reply
    1. Armen

      Since when does “Grammy-nominated” = $$? Maybe this guy should focus more on monetizing his music than griping about his royalties.

      Not a gripe Willis. Putting it out there for discussion and awareness. Your comment about the “Grammy Nominated” in the title, that was DMN’s headline. I asked them to change it because it changes the tone and intention of my original blog post on my site which was simply, “Want to see my royalty statement showing payments from Pandora, Spotify, etc.?” Less “gripey,” dontchya think?


      Reply
      1. Willis

        I completely agree. I’m Grammy-nominated, also, and really hate the expectation that the phrase suggests.


        Reply
  24. Tygart16

    Terrestrial radio: pay $0 in royalties in 2013.

    This is not completely true. Some minor markets and all mid and upper level market radio stations pay royalties to BMI ASAP and SESAC. This pays the writers and publishers of the songs played. There is a somewhat complicated structure between radio, live music as well as radio you hear being played when you are out and about. The bottom line to make money radio wise you have to be spun a lot to the point where you hear people say “that song is over played”. Streaming is good for the unknown up and comers as they have the chance to be heard with major artist not so good for the artist that have been and majors that are now trust me there doing ok.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      We aren’t talking about songwriters.


      Reply
  25. Michael Engberg

    I’m a little surprised at the accusations that terrestrial radio pays nothing for broadcasting tunes. That’s what ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are about (and SOCAN for Canadian artists). They collect performing rights money on behalf of songwriters and publishers and subsequently distribute it to their members. ‘Been doing it for years, actually. In light of which, I think you have to have a bit of perspective about the streaming thing. If your song was broadcast just once on a radio station in New York City, you would have a potential audience of millions of people, and yet you would not be paid all that much for just one broadcast performance of that song (it would have to accrue from a steady, or even heavy rotation of your song being played). Believe me, I want money from streaming (and broadcasting) as much as the next guy, but I think we need to consider some of the nuances of the economics and the business models at play here.


    Reply
    1. Radio DJ/Programmer

      Terrestrial does not pay a performance royalty – only a publisher/songwriter royalty.


      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Again, this is only true in North Korea, USA and Iran.


        Reply
      2. B

        A performance royalty means a performance of the song, not a performance by the performer.


        Reply
  26. JTVDigital

    These are only songwriter’s digital public performance royalties…what is the problem exactly?
    Everybody knows these are close to nothing…


    Reply
  27. Jeff Robinson

    Armen, subscribe to each of the services and self-stream. Begin creating :60 second songs or shorter. 60 minutes in an hour means you’ll get the most streams in that way. Automate it. Leave that song on repeat for 24 hours with the repeat button on that player. Let it stream all month. A service like Spotify pays .0092 cents per stream from a premium subscription. Premium subscription is $9.99. Revenue from 1440 spins (60 spins an hour for 24 hours) is $13.24. Diligence will pay off and besides, this can be totally automated. Multiply that number by 31 days and you’d earn $410.68 – $9.99= $400.69.


    Reply
    1. Scam Spotify?!?

      Jeff,
      We all agree that Artists are under-paid, but scamming the platform is the mind set that will only end up working ‘against’ the artist, not to mention the subscribers.

      And if they haven’t already, once they do cotton on to your ‘automated’ idea, Spotify will soon put a stop to it…

      Just saying!


      Reply
      1. Armen

        scamming the platform is the mind set that will only end up working ‘against’ the artist, not to mention the subscribers.

        I didn’t catch on that this would be scamming until you just mentioned it. Is this considered scamming the platform? I’m being sincere when asking this question. Traditional radio has radio-edited versions of their music, i.e. shorter versions, louder vocals, solos edited out, shorter intros, etc. They station will also overlap the end of the song with stingers and other sound effects. I was told this was a method to keep people from being able to record, from the radio station, an entire uninterrupted version of the broadcasted tune.


        Reply
      2. Armen

        scamming the platform is the mind set that will only end up working ‘against’ the artist, not to mention the subscribers.

        I didn’t catch on that this would be scamming until you just mentioned it. Is this considered scamming the platform? I’m being sincere when asking this question. Traditional radio has radio-edited versions of their music, i.e. shorter versions, louder vocals, solos edited out, shorter intros, etc. They station will also overlap the end of the song with stingers and other sound effects. I was told this was a method to keep people from being able to record, from the radio station, an entire uninterrupted version of the broadcasted tune.


        Reply
        1. Jeff Robinson

          Tell me again how being a paid subscriber is scamming the system? They want paid subscribers!


          Reply
          1. Casey

            Well you would be cheating other artists out of money. The more plays there are, the lower each play is worth. False plays takes money out of the pool leaving less for legitimate plays.

            Not to mention it is almost certainly a ToS violation.


            Reply
      3. Dee H.

        Jeff….your “theory” scam or not… is completely ludicrous. The royalties in question here are not paid on “spins”. They are paid on unque “listens”. So Aram would account for and audience of one. He’d die of old age before he’d make enough to buy a decent Wendy burger.

        Secondly, he’d be breaking the law unless he licensed his stream through all the PROs. In effect, he just br recycling his own money at a loss.


        Reply
  28. Mike

    Artists should unionize or boycott…


    Reply
    1. Paul Resnikoff

      Post whatever you’d like. We just manually approve comments with links as spammers typically try to embed links onto our site (for SEO reasons).


      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Couldn’t you white list popular music- and news sites such as billboard, bbc, gearslutz, etc.?


        Reply
      2. Robert vonAnzen

        Paul,

        Here’s a suggestion :

        Seek out a top independent publisher such as Ralph Peer and find out how the music publishers and songwriters managed to get the very short end of the stick with digital revenues. How both the Fox agency and BMI/ASCAP managed to become so insignificant in a songwriter’s financial planning where once they were the bedrock of such.


        Reply
        1. Jeff Robinson

          It is weird. Publishers have been left in the cold with this digital streaming stuff.


          Reply
  29. noble heart

    Hello creative loves,

    Streaming technology has given us the coolest giant mobile jukebox ever created. However, if you believe that current streaming rates and the business model don’t reflect the value of recorded music, and/or that artists’ rights and hard won mechanical rates (for songwriters & publishers in particular) got lost in the technological shift, please send an intelligent statement to the US Copyright Office. http://www.copyright.gov/docs/musiclicensingstudy/

    I believe that there is a fair solution available for all in this matter. I believe that this is an honorable discussion. The writers of songs are not always the artists, as we know. They should be compensated fairly, and have an opportunity to make a living from their work just like they used to. We won these battles in the 20th century. It’s time to make it right again.

    All comments must be in by May 16, 2014.


    Reply
  30. Michael

    All I can say is I’m happily surprised that as a fairly unknown artist I’m earning considerably more from Digital Performance royalties in both Featured Artist and Repertoire Owner than a Grammy Nominated artist is.

    Woohoo!


    Reply
  31. Anonymous

    if i wanted to make any kind of money i could pay the rent with i would look at getting as many dj shows as possible, and thats not an easy scene to break by any means but it seems to be where the cash is at these days. One man band basically but you need to make tunes that are getting heard. How do you get heard?? spotify, youtube etc are promotional tools for artists but they dont generate realistic revenue just promotion. Thank god djing is more about laptops and controllers. Ever lugged 100 tunes to a club and then they want something completely different cause the promoter is a dick. I have and its not funny. Oh and the decks are fucked too, and the annoying cunt who wants to tell you whats ok to play and not. I feel for real musicians in this day and age because basically without a day job its nearly impossible to keep that musical form going. Thats why we will never have great bands like we had before and the void will be filled with either electronic music or rich kids who can afford to keep up appearances.

    rip rock dinosaurs, the times is changing

    hate to say it but look at rap in the states(formula = repetitive beats x ghetto kid with microphone, talking shit = top 40 hit)


    Reply
  32. Eddy Höfler

    Hi Armen,

    thanks for your RS. Indeed, Internet Audio and streaming is new and we have to learn how to handle it. For me it´s 180 degrees different from you. I have each day more than 35 000 plays only on Spotify. Don´t ask me why. May be the music fits more to people who live more with the internet and new technologys.


    Reply
    1. Armen

      Eddy, you’re welcome. Congrats on the 35k performances every day. That’s great! The last album I released was in 2004 and prior to that was 1998. As you can imagine, the performances are less and less every year with this particular catalog. Good luck and continued success to you!


      Reply
  33. Marco

    You won a Grammy in 1992……………..


    Reply
    1. Armen

      Marco, Shadowfax won a Grammy for “Folksongs for a Nuclear Village” in 1989 – before my time. We got nominated when I was a band member in 1992 for “Esperanto”. That was one fun party!


      Reply
  34. 420 bro!!!!

    i bet spotify’s billing department laughs their asses off when they send out these checks.


    Reply
  35. Michele

    I feel like this paints a very grim picture that is not entirely accurate. I personally know several independent musicians who are receiving royalty payments from SoundExhange (and Pandora) well above what is represented in this statement. I’m sure Armen’s royalties may be a true case for many musicians, but there are also a fair share of independent musicians who are making a living from their music and being compensated fairly well in their royalties. They are not pop stars, they are not backed by big labels, and they are not Grammy winners either. I, for one, am very grateful to SoundExchange and Pandora and Sirius and MusicChoice. Internet radio has been one of the best things to happen to my career and I hope the trend continues.


    Reply
    1. I Love+Music

      And how much money are you making off those services Michele?


      Reply
  36. texascritter

    artist used to make more money when it was from records and even tapes but there real money comes from life concerts where a front row ticket can cost thousands of dollars and the nose bleed section close to an average of thirty dollars. you add what all those tickets add up to and in big arenas your talking millions of dollars per performance. In my opinion the streaming services should be paying the artist, producers, record label and song writer something but they are doing them a favor in some ways by by getting people to listen to their music and then when the band/artist comes to town that person is familiar with the artist and wants to hear them in person and not only do they get a percentage of the gate intake but they sell their outrageous priced posters.t-shirts ect. So i don’t feel entirely bad for them.


    Reply
  37. james anderson jr

    Hi I’m an independent artist in Chicago, ive read all the comments and realize one thing, I need a lot of help, I produce my own tracks , a rock, hiphop, reggea type of style , a lot of people think its dope, if there is anyone out there who can help me with the business part of music such as publishing, royalties please contact me
    At jymispitz@gmgmail.com all my stuff is low tech but well produced.would appreciate any help or advice thank you


    Reply
  38. Don

    Hi, I’m the CEO of one of Canada’s leading internet service providers and I earned close to $20 million last year. The internet is the most popular entertainment media source and by paying our monthly fee you will be treated to a world of musical talent.


    Reply
  39. u do not get it

    if your song is played on a big traditional radio station with millions of listeners. u also only will get 10 – 30 dollars. so whats the problem? these are only listens no buyers? calculate some dollars by millions of listens you will see that the internet will pay u more than the old system ;-)


    Reply
  40. Fritz

    Exactly what the person above here says. If you get one play on a radio station with 14.227 listeners, you make even less than that. That is how payments for streams should be measured. They’re not sales, they’re just streams.


    Reply
  41. Anonymous

    Thank goodness they didn’t take taxes out! Unfortunately whenever you attach business to music the Artist ends up paying somebody elses mortgage or drug habit. Musicians deserve better. Why to we need Spotify or ClearChannal! We can start our own Streaming Stations. We can keep the money in the Artist family! Its only Artists who understand how hard we work to produce the magic of music. Lets open a dialogue and put together an Artist run Station! Anyone?? timrice714@gmail.com


    Reply
  42. Anonymous

    The entire royalty model is the wrong way around; you should be paid, and paid well, for creating the music, and for playing it live. Those are the two things that require effort from the artist’s part. A stream (or radio play, for that matter), does not, so it is kind of weird that we have a system where sales and streams are put into a monopoly for a century just to reward that one-time effort. This is something you don’t see in most industries (where people are either payed by the hour or given a commission to make something), even in the creative fields. We have worked ourselves into a position where it is hard to image doing this any other way, but there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel; you see more and more artists start with a crowd-funding campaign and then give away their music royalty-free. Let’s hope that is the way of the future.


    Reply
  43. Anonymous

    I used to hire musicians to play their own original music at my winery. I paid $100 for two hours (maybe not a ton, but a reasonable, fair rate). Then, BMI (who is mentioned in the article) began calling and threatening to sue me because I was hosting live music and I didn’t have a license. Again, ALL of my musicians were REQUIRED to only play original music and would refuse cover song requests. Because of BMI’s threats, I no longer host live music.


    Reply
  44. Paddy

    It is very unfortunate that artists are not being paid much of anything, but in last ten years, about 90% of all the CDs I have purchased (which, admittedly is probably less than 100 – I’m married with a kid) were heard on live365 or pandora.
    I certainly never would have heard any of it on the airwaves.


    Reply
  45. Alex Kane

    Seeing this makes me feel just a little better about myself. I got $54 bux of ‘em once.


    Reply
  46. Wayne

    How do these digital services compare with radio? For example, if a radio station plays your song and 1,000,000 people hear it, do they pay you more than 1,000,0000 individual Pandora plays? Those numbers on your statement are for much smaller audiences than regular radio.


    Reply
  47. WCR

    It’s so disingenuous of people to talk about how artists shouldn’t be “paid” for their work and that if it’s a passion then you should do it regardless of the money. I’d like to see someone go to work and not expect to get paid for what they did. People with this attitude are typically the ones that get mad at the success of someone else and feel the are owed something just because.


    Reply
  48. Kentavius

    When there are expenses involved in creating anything in this universe, there is a cost associated on the front and back end. There is no excuse for believing music should be free, when the phones and iPods you listen to said music on are being valued at more than the commodity you seek to use them for. Being that most people do not create much, especially music, it is startling to know that people view the number one sought after art on the planet as worthless because of the access and content overload we are experiencing. I hope this message puts in perspective the dilution that has overtaken our society in regards to worth and paying said worth.


    Reply
  49. Bruce

    I spent 15 years in the music business and have been nominated for and won a couple of grammies. The reality of the situation is that if you do not tour or do shows, even one of spot dates, you will likely not make any money. Unless you are super star multi platinum artist like Beyonce, you will not make anything worth noting from album or single sales. Even when you sell fairly decently on the internet usually that money is used to recoup your costs for making the album or song. You have studio time to pay, or equipment to buy if you are doing it at home. Editing, Mixing, Mastering all cost money. Even if you do all of the editing, mixing, and mastering yourself you still have to buy the appropriate software to accomplish the task. So the way to make money, especially as an independent artist (grammy nominated or not), is to do shows period.


    Reply
  50. Anonymous

    This is the very definition of a starving artist……


    Reply
  51. Enki

    Pull the music off the NET REcord it but refuse to sell it to anymone or let anyone listen to it. All artists must go on strike!!! Until the record industry/internet music industry gives back what you deserve for your TALENT!!


    Reply
  52. Larry D

    I’d like to see Dolly Parton’s royalty statement for ” I Will Always Love You”…In some cases she gets triple royalty payments than normal to keep her happy at certain performance rights orgs…. bet it’s a very different set of numbers indeed.


    Reply
  53. DJ STYLES

    STREAMING is a joke when it comes to getting paid, or it seems like looking at these statements. Most of our crew which consist of the Coughee Brothaz and Rob Quest along with Devin The Dude make our money touring and merch. along with other methods that bring in the money. You have to find other ways to make money if you are going to survive. I love music and will always involve myself in it including working with other individuals that are on the same page as me. I’m not saying we are bringing in 100,000 of thousands yet but they make life rather easy when this is what pays the bills. One thing you have to understand is that it will take years of very hard work to make it to where we are and in some cases just barely making ends meet for some. How bad do you want it? that will be determined by your work and only your work unless you have a do or die team behind you. Anyway just wanted to wrte abou tthis article and shed some light. I know some of what I say is probably already written about but in a nutshell hard work, dedication and endless work will get you to where you want to be.

    Peace.


    Reply
  54. Melanie

    I know it doesn’t pay a lot but I’m not streaming Pandora in my car. A lot of the. music I listen to on those services are tunes I have already purchased and Spotify is simply more convenient. Or it is music I want to check out so I can see if I like it enough to buy it. I’m not sure what the answer is. But an awful lot of music lovers don’t use those services just for free music. I am also one that likes to buy hard copy des at shows so the artist gets more of the money.


    Reply
  55. Anonymous

    GET A PROPER MANAGER !!


    Reply
    1. Chx

      True !! Then these mistakes would not happen in the first place, blame yourself no one else !


      Reply
  56. Michel Tol

    Honestly, it’s not like you’re getting millions of plays here. You wouldn’t be making very much more selling records with these numbers.


    Reply
  57. Thomas

    On Spotify only one person listens to the song (or maybe also your friend), while on the radio thousands of people can hear it. So it’s quite legit you get way more money for radio plays.


    Reply
  58. cheezball

    This is the reason people keep their day jobs.

    Open your eyes. Your royalties pay the fat cats at the pro companies and the streaming companies. They are the ones that are getting rich on music. Not the low and mid-level musician.

    Remember that the big name musicians make up less than .1% of all the musicians trying to get there. It isn’t just talent that gets the big names where they are… Talent helps, but it’s really mostly network, power and politics that gets you there. Unless you have it all, you’ll never make it.

    If you really want to enjoy music, don’t try to do it for a career. Support your musical obsession with a career in another field. You’ll have a much happier life.

    Been there, done that.


    Reply
  59. Edge

    Someone tell me please, how do i pay for instruments and pay for studio time, Engineer, Mix and master Music, When obviously nobody wants to pay for music…. I humble await a answer…. http://edgemichaelmusic.com


    Reply
    1. Cat Bibs

      Well, I am no rocket scientist, but I would suggest getting a bloody job! If you are that passionate about it then you would go stack shelves, clean offices or do whatever to get the money. I am a musician and a writer and I work 2 crap jobs and study full time and still find time to make music/art.

      This kind of ‘I will do nothing else apart from music’ gets on my tits. I had a mate a few years ago who considered himself a professional musician. He lived in a shit-hole flat, never had any food, and spent his (benefits) on booze and drugs cuz he was so depressed at not being at the level he wanted to be. Yet he refused to get a job because he was ‘better than that’ – even though this would have afforded him better equipment and studio time, but no, he would rather play one gig a week where about 20 people turned up and then spend the rest of his money on coke and whiskey and pretend he was in Motley Crue for 3 days. – not spending the time productively, but wallowing in, ‘why don’t more people buy my stuff on itunes? Why don’t I make better royalties for that song i wrote for that brit-pop band 12 years ago?’

      I was working full-time and one night he started having a go at me, ‘ah you don’t know anything, your music wont reach people, you don’t know what it’s like to not be able to even afford cigarettes. what do you know about life?’

      Charles Bukowski worked, got fucking shit-hammered ever night and still managed to write a tone of poetry, the same can be said about the life of Herbert Selby Jr. If you read a lot of musicians biographies they all started working in some crappy job to pay for records, instruments and so on.

      People now a-days just want stuff without putting in the work. The internet has made it to easy for anyone to become a musician/artist. And maybe, just maybe the reason why you have no money is because you are not part of that 1% that will make it and you will never make $$$ from doing this.

      This is not a personal attack at you, cuz you’re not the only one who has said it, just the whole attitude of , ‘if I don’t make money doing this how can i afford studio time?’ The answer is: get off the sofa, get a job and pay for studio time, like what some of the biggest bands in the world had to do back in the day. pretty simple really…


      Reply
      1. Paul Osagie Taylor Odiase

        Right you are Cat bibs!! It’s the only way….✌️✌️✌️


        Reply
  60. G Baker

    The recordings have no real performance counts.. Few Hundred each product?? WTF you think you gonna get!!?? They pay fractions of a penny on these sites.. You eat what you kill out here! Get your counts up!!


    Reply
  61. Bruce

    Starcastle, 4 albums with CBS/Epic Sony, all in still being manufactured and sold around the world for nearly 40 years and the band has never been paid a dime in royalties. The last album”Song of Times” same story. Had to sue ProgRock Records in Federal Court for copyright infringement, won a judgement of over 6 figures, slime ball declares bankruptcy, never paid us a penny. All the revenue for download sales and CD sales go to people other than the artist. Nice business model.


    Reply
    1. Esol Esek

      Two wrongs don’t make a right. How many paid apologists for streaming ripoff companies are there on this website? Seems like a good third.


      Reply
    2. Noise guy

      Starcastle? I love Starcastle and have BOUGHT your music on iTunes to replace all of the albums I had. Yes, I know I’m old school but I hope you got some $$$! I just spent way too much time reading this mess…being a BMI member, and I used to get some nice mailbox money for my music played on broadcast around the world, I find so sad that there is at least 2 generations of people that “listen” to music that do not feel it’s worth anything anymore from a monetary=intellectual property model. I have NEVER written or recorded a piece of and not been paid for it…aside from what I wrote in college learning how to write music…and needless to say, I haven’t composed a piece of music in a few years. Why, because I don’t like to share! The same way Budweiser doesn’t like to share their beer or BMW doesn’t like to share their cars. The music business wasn’t paying attention to what was going on and it is what it is now.


      Reply
  62. Brian

    I’m really impressed and almost left behind by the depth of intelligent comments and exchange in this thread. I support live music in a local club that allows me to bring live music in, from the local depth of talent, and also on one day, for a Festival of music that has included world renowned bands and talent. My only ethos for all of that activity, which I earn nothing from but the pleasure of providing a stage for talent, is that all performers should be respectfully paid for their services. When it comes to digital streaming of music, I believe that old school thinking (relating to copyright and royalty payments) has been left behind by the sheer ease of sharing music. I may be unusual in that I tend to pay for most everything that I listen to, but I know offices full of young affluent people who have paid for Spotify simply to gain access to a global and remarkably compete library of pretty much everything that is current. It simply says that the new school model does not fit old school thinking and legislation. I definitely agree that the music industry and governments should do something to fix this, as it seems that the only people making money from their craft today are the well established, big stadium sell out artists, who are now on the road 9 month every year. On the other hand, the internet has also made it almost free for new talent to find a level of exposure that 20 years ago could only be achieved with the backing and investment of a label.

    Would it be possible for artists/songwriters to simply insist that their music is withdrawn from Spotify (and similar streaming sites) if their royalties are being so blatantly disregarded?

    There’s a lesson that needs to be very quickly learned here, but I’m not sure what it is. Other than a need for change.


    Reply
    1. ikt

      14,000 listens is jack all.


      Reply
  63. Anonymous

    This is a sad case.


    Reply
  64. Max

    Grammy nominated and…. not distributed on Itunes?! Mmmmh…


    Reply
    1. Armen

      Both of my albums Ceremonies and Caravans are available on iTunes. Ceremonies is actually listed twice under two different digital distributors.


      Reply
  65. m

    It’s never going to change and cannot change since the payment rates were designed to give the artist something but also to keep the service in business.
    For example, You’ve all read about Bette Midlers royalty payment of $114.11 for 4,175,149 plays

    if the payment rate was one cent she would have received 41,751.49. If that were the rate for all plays then just estimating the service using music from 41,751 different artists, it then would have to pay 1,743,146,001 which it cannot do and stay in business.
    Arguments about paying fairly are pointless. I would gladly let them play the stuff and then worry about selling performance tickets which could not be gained if there was no advertising of an artists music.


    Reply
  66. Rick Shutter

    I never heard of this Writer or one of his songs


    Reply
  67. Aaron Hyman

    How do you plan to change this for yourself? Also what advice would you give to others aspiring to your level, in terms of earning a better wage?


    Reply
    1. Armen

      Advice I would offer is to seek out as many outlets as you can for your music other than radio – specifically, the television and film area. For the current music you have in your catalog, you can send that out to music supervisors and production companies, and you can write new music for music libraries, movie trailer houses, production companies, specific television shows, etc. If you are good, and you can produce a professional sounding final recording, you will do well. Be sure to educate yourself on the types of deals and licensing offered so you know what to ask for, and you know when the deal is good or not. Try to keep all your writer’s share. They will want your publishing most of the time. However, I do know some composers who are writing for other composers and giving up half of their writer’s share to that composer. They are OK with their deal because they are making a six-figure income doing so. Good luck!


      Reply
  68. Henk

    Maybe the problem isnt spotify but your music? Either it sucks or there is no market for it.
    Get over it


    Reply
  69. alyjane

    I love the user interface of Spotify and have been a very vocal fan about their service. I pay $10 a month for it, exactly who is getting that money??? It hurts me that the artists don’t seem to be getting their share.


    Reply
  70. MiamiC70

    Boo, hoo. Now go get a real job.

    No sympathy for musicians, artist, athletes, actors, etc. I do however have it for the millions working minimum wage and trying to make ends meet.


    Reply
    1. Noise guy

      What if the company you worked for had to start giving what they do away for free…where would that leave all the poor “working stiffs”?


      Reply
  71. the brain

    15.000 streams is nothing my friend has more you start to earn when it Comes to 500.000 – 1 Mil. in a short period of 1 month – than on a longer term you earn enough if you have fans :D On top if you are played in Radio you´ll get airplay broadcast Money from the Country it ws played Register and get it your Publisher actually should collect that too on top you get money from Publishing for your live Shows , but often These Publishers are to lazy to collect in my experience Publishers get from a world wide deal maybe 35 % collect the rest is them to work intense cheers


    Reply
    1. DataFace

      yup, you assumed that because your a “Grammy” anything your going to be respected and paid for that honor. Wrong – welcome to the music industry, where everything is backwards and distorted. You knew this going into it so why are you surprised. Make music = not money unless you can figure out how to spin shitty beats in vegas.


      Reply
  72. Timmy

    Well it’s not the consumers fault the the market is flooded with milions of shitty artists and songwriters that makes stuff that noone wanna purchase. The music industry is were it is coz the buisness side of music fucked up by signin alot of acts that have no long term substance and realesing shit noone wanted to buy. I’m a musician and i no longer consider tracks to be a product. The income from the web I consider to be a bonus income. There are other ways to make money of your music. I review tracks to be more of a promotional tool then a product so. You can produce 12 tracks yourself for a very low amount. Moast “REAL” musicians know that and does that.
    If you need 5 songwriters, 4 Producers, and 3 sound engineers to make a song you shouldn’t try to make music in the first place.


    Reply
  73. Deron Wade

    What you need to do man is get yourself a TuneCube audio store, embed it wherever you like and make sales! Try it for free now. http://www.tunecube.com – the only audio store built for musicians, producers, bands and beatmakers.


    Reply
    1. Armen

      Thanks Deron. I’ll check it out!


      Reply
  74. ja

    people simply don’t give a shit about music. no amount of bitching or whining is gonna change that. instead, adapt.


    Reply
  75. Dawe

    Just maybe a stupid question but, why are you putting those songs to streaming services if they do not pay enough? You and you only should know value of your work. If that what they offer is not enough then just leave them alone and stop moaning, if more people do like this then there wouldnt be anything on streaming services and they would have to raise the pricing up. Simple as that, think about it.


    Reply
  76. Jerry Brown

    I notice you didnt pay any taxes on those earnings.


    Reply
    1. Tunes

      I thought of exactly that when I registered for Sound Exchange. Just another way to track earnings for taxation.


      Reply
  77. Noah Vece

    I’m going to have to agree with some of the people saying that musicians do not often deserve to be paid well. First off, I AM a musician. I play reed instruments (sax, clar, flute) around town trying to make my income primarily from playing. The thing you need to understand is that performing musicians make money in (at least) 2 ways- playing THEIR music and playing OTHER PEOPLE’S music. Unfortunately, when you are writing and performing your own material, financial success very much comes down to marketing and hype. There are very few groups out there who have both financial success and artistic integrity, it’s just not feasible when you’re looking at trying to get 200 bazillion views on a Youtube video. Performing your own music is ALL about doing it for the satisfaction of making music, sorry to burst your bubbles, but it just is. Unless you are the next songbird of our generation, it’s pretty unlikely anyone is going to want to pay money to hear your idiotic breakup song. If you want to be a performing musician, I recommend looking into playing other people’s music. Hey! Maybe along the way you’ll even learn a thing or two ABOUT music which can translate into a career writing/composing! Just a thought.


    Reply
  78. raab

    Impressive troll, Nurg.


    Reply
  79. cruz

    I’m curious to see a more mainstream/popular artist’s royalty statement. Like any job you probably make more the better you are. Just saying. I’m not saying you don’t deserve compensation but I’m sure or at least I hope that like most job’s there is a potential for more profit.


    Reply
    1. Tunes

      Actually I have to disagree Cruz. Musicians don’t necessarily make more money the better they are. Music is subjective and in most cases the listener is not very educated. In the case of vocal music people tend to focus on the vocalist and ignore the instrumentalists. So an instrumentalist could be very skilled yet not make any money because a singer who let’s say is a tenor is only qualified to sing the material he is singing because he has the range to hit the higher notes. He might be limited skill wise.


      Reply
  80. Anonymous

    Go team USA. O.o


    Reply
  81. Noneya Biznazz

    The guy who hones his skills at the grill and masters the ability to make an amazing steak sandwich doesn’t have the opportunity to record himself making a steak sandwich and then when someone orders a steak sandwich he just pushes a button and out comes a copy of his masterfully made steak sandwich. No, if he wants to get paid, he makes that damn thing over and over and over.

    If an artist wants to get paid, an artist needs to do shows. If you’ve not made a fanbase willing to come see you, you should probably think about getting another job.

    There are amazing voices on every other corner these days. You see them every week on one of the 15 vocal talent shows thats popular lately. The point of digital music is to create fans so you can TOUR and sell MERCHANDISE that YOU CONTROL.

    The song? thats just the hook. Nobody is going to pay you for the song. You must pay yourself with your own angle, your own memorabilia, make appearances, court the media, do shows, the whole nine yards.

    The days where you can retire off the money you make from a song you made in a weekend are over. Get over it.


    Reply
  82. Noneya Biznazz


    Reply
  83. Anonymous

    Wow, many arrow down pushes I read half of your venerable posts ahead of this one. So ironic that I just pressed random play and came up with (all paid for) Bob Dylan’s greatest hits and The Answer My friend is blowing in the wind, yee all should listen to all of his lyrics coz I’m only a min or so into it and “it Ain’t me babe” and yup I have no answers other than music is much more than some ego concept and it and all around it is a real real job and should be paid accordingly, work and real effort should always be rewarded and anyone who thinks that music can’t be life changing has yet to live. “times they are a changin” is track three, just saying. Good night all . Much love. Jambo :)


    Reply
  84. Designer

    I thought art wasn’t about making money.


    Reply
  85. chickeee

    what would an artist (or label) get for selling an album or song on iTunes?


    Reply
  86. ptr

    frank zappa and creedance clear water revival had nice things to say about record companies they control the industry and the money


    Reply
  87. johbeau

    Get a haircut and get a real job …


    Reply
  88. Ben

    If each subscriber is paying around $5-$10 a month for their music, how much can you expect to make per song? This seems about right, actually. You can make a lot more touring and selling albums than having them played on these services. I would think you would tour, sell albums, and only turn the rights to play your songs over to these venues after you’ve exhausted most of the easy revenue.


    Reply
  89. Cb Twinkie

    I thought musician’s made the majority of their money off concerts/merchandise? Is that the ONLY money you receive for your music? The above amount is how much out of the total amount you received this month, playing music? I always thought records/radio play was there to get the music to the masses. I don’t know. I’m not perfect but I do buy most of my music. Anyway, the entertainment industry requires a tremendous amount of sales skills. You have to continuously sell yourself. It’s very sad to say but it’s not always about talent. It’s sometimes being in the right place at the right time, hiring the right people to represent you, and it’s also a popularity contest. There are a lot of factors involved in who makes and who doesn’t and talent isn’t always at the top of the list. There are a tremendous amount of talented people out there in the world but not all make money like the Rolling Stones. Having said that, if you don’t want to be scraping by and barely surviving, change careers. Some of us have JOBS, not careers. You’ve been one of those who was not only blessed with an amazing gift but also blessed to have a career. I’ve worked in the same shitty job for 26 years because it affords the rest of my life. If the music industry isn’t doing it for you, choose a different career or get a job. You can still play music in your off time and weekends and fulfill and enjoy your gift. The dream of being a superstar, in a private jet, etc. didn’t pan out for you but you are still and always will be a musician with a beautiful gift.


    Reply
  90. Charlie

    “Artists like him are confused and not collecting all of their royalties because of a system that has little incentive or motivation to improve. And, at a top level, the system isn’t transparent and is many times cheating the artist by design.”

    Whoever owns the (streaming) platform, makes the profit. It’s quite simple. “The world is a business Mr. Beale” – Network, 1977 (or thereabouts). *Every artist/musician should search for the clip on Youtube and memorise it.

    iTunes was created to sell iPods & iPhones. Nothing more, nothing less. Steve Jobs saw the opportunity and worked the business model. You as artist, what is your product and can you create a market for it. If you can create a viable business model then build a team around your product/service instead of doing a woe-is-me routine when receiving the royalty/streaming cheques. Diversify your skill set or create market related content.

    I’m an artist, musician, performer, author, label owner, with a qualification in radio production (worked in radio for ±4 years), who has diversified to video production (directing, producing, editing, post-production, sound design, voice overs). I started out in this game Dj-ing in nite clubs when in high school. First, I’m a human being and as a human being in this reality you must realise that “the world is a business Mr. Beale…”

    Congrats on your baby and family Armen. I wish you much life, love, happiness and success with your family and blessings for honouring your parent(s) in their senior years.

    Charlie


    Reply
  91. Batista

    Whoa and I thought it was only me receiving this puny royalty statements. That’s why I’m refocusing my energy into TV and Film. I think I made $11 total last year from sound exchange. Thanks for info my fellow musician friend!


    Reply
  92. Anonymous

    Still trying to figure out why such an “honest, just putting it out there – these are my Royalty Statements,” post wouldn’t include terrestrial radio royalties.

    Or why it would need to resort to sleight-of-hand (i.e. “please note that the SoundExchange statement includes additional entities not listed on my BMI streaming section…. Cable Radio, SiriusXM, Music Choice, etc…. not part of that $4.20 payment from my BMI statement”) to make it’s obtuse (and incorrect) point.

    Why do you feel the need to single out digital streaming services – the ONLY ones that pay for master use – and lie about your royalty statements to do it?

    You got paid $4.20 by BMI for 14,227 INDIVIDUAL performances, to 14,227INDIVIDUAL, listeners over digital streaming services (that’s the way they work – one-to-one).

    Why did you choose to NOT post how much you got paid by BMI for 14,227 INDIVIDUAL performances, to listeners over analog radio? (perhaps less than the payment for 1 play, on one decent-sized terrestrial radio station). What’s that royalty amount?

    If the answer is that you didn’t “choose” to omit that info, because BMI DIDN’T pay you ANYTHING for plays on terrestrial radio, then I would further wonder: Why would you complain about making “only” $4.20 from streaming, when historically, your only alternative was, and is, to be paid nothing for broadcasts?

    Along the same lines, analog radio (and television, as well) pay NOTHING to Soundexchange for the use of your masters. Why would you ONLY be complaining about how little you got paid from those few that at least pay SOMETHING?

    I really don’t get it.

    All this gnashing of teeth about the ONLY outlets that count every play, accurately report and pay for every play, and pay twice for each of those plays.

    You get screwed harder by the old system and formats than you EVER will by streaming. But in some bizarre iteration of Stockhom syndrome, you won’t say “boo” about those that own you and bleed you dry, and indeed you only parrot their misdirection.

    Really ill-informed.


    Reply
    1. Dar

      What ‘terrestrial stations’??? They’re going the way of the dinosaur!


      Reply
    2. Armen

      As far as I know, my music isn’t being played on terrestrial radio. I choose not to do radio marketing. Also, whereas radio play helped album/song sales; internet sales seem to have become more of a jukebox and replacement for sales. That’s not a complaint; that’s a fact.


      Reply
      1. JustSeekingTruth

        Armen“As far as I know, my music isn’t being played on terrestrial radio.”

        So, the answer is that you didn’t “choose” to omit your terrestrial radio royalties, because BMI DID NOT pay you ANYTHING, for ANY plays (as far as you know), on terrestrial radio.

        So, I’m still left wondering: Why would you put out this supposedly “honest” and “open” review of your “royalties” – and see fit to include an explanation about the different royalty payors on your BMI and SX statements – yet decide NOT include the VERY IMPORTANT POINT, that you are fully eligible to earn royalties from terrestrial broadcasters, but they have NEVER paid you ANYTHING?

        Your agenda is just SO CLEAR here. It undermines your position so fully, that it makes makes it laughable.

        You’re simply not being honest. At all.

        You are simply parroting the complaints that Paul and your BMI keepers have told you to repeat, so that the focus stays off of them – the old-world gate-keepers who, like I said, have been screwing you harder than ANY new media service EVER could.

        Start to think for yourself. Actually think about what is going on (and has been going on, for decades).

        Look at what they’ve got you doing:

        You are ONLY complaining about the ONLY outlets that a) EVER paid you ANYTHING (!), b) the ONLY ones that count every play, c) the ONLY ones that accurately report and pay for every play, and d) the ONLY ones that pay you TWICE (once for the composition and then again for the master) for each of those plays.

        WTF?!?!?!?!

        THESE are the services you feel the need to write articles in DMN about?!?!?!?!

        Armen“I choose not to do radio marketing.”

        Really? So THAT’S why you have no terrestrial plays (that you know of…)?

        How much internet radio marketing do you choose to do? And why are you ONLY choosing to market to the outlets that you so obviously think are screwing you?…

        Or, do you ALSO not “choose” to do any internet radio marketing either (perhaps also conveniently deciding to leave THAT information out here, as well…) but STILL actually BENEFIT from the fact that these are the ONLY outlets that apparently do ANY “marketing” – or playing of your material – FOR YOU?

        ArmenAlso, whereas radio play helped album/song sales; internet sales [sic] seem to have become more of a jukebox and replacement for sales. That’s not a complaint; that’s a fact.

        I am assuming you meant to say that internet radio plays have “become more of a jukebox and replacement for sales.” Yes?

        I’ve got a whole host of issues with that one. Just a couple:

        First, didn’t you just say that, as far as you know, you get NO terrestrial plays?

        So, how is terrestrial radio – which is NOT paying you ANYTHING, because they DON’T play ANY of your songs – helping your sales???? That’s a bit confusing.

        Even if we move on and assume that terrestrial radio WAS playing your songs (and just not paying you ANYTHING for that) and therefore “helping your sales,” you seem to not understand the services that pay you through Soundexchange.

        These services are “non-interactive” services. They CAN NOT act as “jukeboxes” for their listeners, and therefore be a “replacement” for sales. If they want to offer a “jukebox” type service, they have to negotiate the royalty rate with you (since you are your own label), directly.

        Anything that ANY service pays you for being a “jukebox” that can replace sales, is something YOU AGREED TO, freely.

        You should really try to understand what’s going on here before you accept Paul ‘s invitation to be another stooge that tilts away at the windmill of “low internet radio royalties.”

        Your piece, with it’s alarmist and disingenuous title – as well as your follow up responses here – clearly indicate that you really haven’t thought about this much (if at all).

        That’s not a complaint; that’s a fact.

        (…well, it’s a bit of a complaint….)


        Reply
  93. TQ White II

    It’s time to give up on copyright, royalties and the rest of the intellectual property regime.

    Every time I say that, someone tells me I want to impoverish musicians. This article is proof that it’s not me that wants them in poverty.

    These statements are for a musician who is living under a strong copyright regime and he’s getting nothing. In the meantime, nothing is entering the public domain, people increasingly do not care about the law, companies rip off musicians left and right. Let it go.


    Reply
    1. Esol Esek

      And how is that an improvement, do tell? Just lay down and take it huh….I guess that’s what the estates of Michael Jackson and Elvis will be doing from here on out. Yeah, just let someone else eat and live the high life of your work. I really don’t know the reason behind these continuingly gutless statements. Was it breast feeding too long?


      Reply
  94. vincentpeters

    First, you are getting hosed, but who besides the music industry’s middlemen aren’t.

    As a non artist who has been pursuing passive income streams, I think getting a few bucks out of work I did 10+ years ago it’s pretty good.

    How much time did each album took to create?
    Based on that, how much time would it take you to publish enough music so your passive income is higher than your monthly expenses?


    Reply
  95. JK

    Are you prevented from pulling your music from these services and selling it on your own (or via other services) at a price that you deem more acceptable?


    Reply
  96. Esol Esek

    The EXACT same thing is happening in the news photo, stock photo, and writing disciplines – payments of pennies so low it literally makes you want to murder whoever administers these statements and give up what you do. I’ve done neither, but the fact that you know someone is making money and yet, there is absolutely zero legal accountability for where any of that money goes is what gets me the angriest.

    The nerds have taken over, ironic since most artists were nerds. These are dark nerds, managed by the usual group of business school exploiters. Until this self-appointed royal scum is removed, this is the new art world order.


    Reply
  97. John Bean

    How much do the owners of the streaming companies make? How much do the creators of there product, “the Artistic Content” make? Who came up with these rules & numbers & how can we create a more equitable formula. Remember a culture w/o art is doomed….


    Reply
  98. Mystic Jane

    This artist revealing his acc statements is not about him whining, its about showing others taking his work and mAking a lot money from it, while he gets a measly payout. Its quite simply financial piracy, thievery and unjust in every sense. Whovever argues against him and defends this sort of practice is not very smart. Music is a big business and the point about articles like this is to make it right for the creators of such valuable art. And yes making art is work, important to humanity, creative works it is at the cradle of science and socio economic development on a global level. Wisen up donkeys!


    Reply
  99. Anonymous

    Whoa !!
    This discussion really doesn’t say anything at all – without there being anything whatsoever to compare it to.
    Now if this Grammy Nominated Artist – Armen Chakmakian – could tabulate for us what are the royalties he got from physical media sales, and figure out how many times each song has been played from that physical media and give us a figure of what is the royalty he has made on a “per-play, per-song” figure – Then and ONLY then would we have something to go on.
    Also this royalty statement is for a specific period. He should also state the TOTAL royalties made on STREAMING MEDIA PLAYS (as opposed to digital media sales) till “end-of-life” then , and ONLY then, would the big picture start to emerge.
    Also he should state the digital media sales (iTunes, Amazon or elsewhere). At what price were they sold ?? What percentage of that sale price accrued to him ??? what were the total “Plays” for the songs sold ???
    If one could tabulate all this information, then and only then could you arrive at which was truly the most lucrative outlet for of dissemination of any artist’s creative work, whether physical media sales, digital media sales or streaming media royalties
    Compare apples with apples and not with jackfruits !!!!!


    Reply
  100. Glen Beckmeyer

    Wonder if I’ll receive an advertising check when I click share or like or play a song in public?


    Reply
  101. BMI Payee

    You know what, that’s all its worth asshole. What do you think? Everyone should pay to HEAR your song? You should be happy anyone cares. As far as Grammy artist, BFD, join the rest of the world that has been nominated and no one knows or cares. You get what you’re worth, you don’t like it, go get a fuckin’ job that pays. Arts guarantee NO PAY, sorry if you were misled in your youth.

    I’ve been in the industry for four decades, your logic is flawed.

    Do more work, better work, make people want to buy your music or be a fuckin’ parasite off of services that don’t charge you to play their music, its your choice you whinny runt.


    Reply
    1. Armen

      I think someone needs a hug.


      Reply
      1. Rich

        Or a kick in the teeth and a spelling lesson (“whinny” is the sound a horse makes)…


        Reply
  102. Andy Bassford

    As a working musician for 45 years and counting, I’m fascinated by the hostility exhibited by many on this thread towards a) musicians and b) the idea that musicians deserve to be compensated in any significant way for what we do. Also fascinating is the idea that the creation, production, performance, and marketing of music is in some magical way not work, or inferior in social value to other kinds of work such as employment in the fast food industry.

    First of all, what did we ever do to you to provoke such anger? Second, all work has dignity, including creative work. So respect the worker. For those who may not know, creating and performing music is not all about the musician’s self-satisfaction. We provide a professional service, essential or otherwise, that people are willing to pay for, just as they are willing to pay for a floral arrangement, house painting, or auto body repair. I love what I do, but there are many people in many professions who can say the same. Music is not unique in this regard, nor should it be.

    However, I truly resent that people, especially people who should know better, don’t think that playing or writing music is work. Or that they think that somehow the ability to play music is its own reward and that justifies musicians, or any other creative workers, being paid a pittance. Exploitation is exploitation, full stop. And all honorable people should be offended by it.

    To compose a song for a TV show, a jingle, or a movie soundtrack requires a skill set easily equivalent to (though obviously different from) that required to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a computer programmer. Not only do you need a high level of skill, you have to be creative on very tight deadlines. Imagine having to write a fifteen page thesis on a topic someone just gave you (or just changed completely) five minutes ago that’s due in an hour, with thousands of dollars and careers (including yours) at stake, and you’ll have an idea of the pressure involved.

    Someone who writes music isn’t making a steak sandwich. They are inventing the recipe for the steak sandwich itself, though they may also be making it. So is it OK to handsomely compensate the restaurant owner but not the person who came up with the dishes on the menu that bring people in? That’s essentially what’s going on with the streaming services.

    Fortunately for Armen, in the TV business these skills are valued and compensated for in a way that they are not in the music business. As he says, he is primarily no longer in the music business.


    Reply
  103. anonymous

    I would suggest the person who made the comment about music not being a necessity take a lesson in energy & frequency. Recording in a frequency of 528 hz repairs DNA, gives mental clarity & energy. 528 Hertz is a frequency that is central to the “musical mathematical matrix of creation.” More than any sound previously discovered, the “LOVE frequency” resonates at the heart of everything. It connects your heart, your spiritual essence, to the spiraling reality of heaven and earth. You understand that the world is made up of energy, even our bodies are made up of energy. Energy broken down is a wave frequency. The only reason anything is “solid” is because we have collectively agreed it to be solid. So therefore, the very essence of life is energy & frequency. Which is exactly what music is. Music has the power to immediately change your mood, your thinking & even your life. So I do believe that it is a “necessity”…and especially more of a necessity than a hamburger from McDonalds full of chemicals and GMO shit that is actually killing you. McDonalds is not a necessity. Next time try a better analogy, and research before you speak.


    Reply
  104. David Banney

    The issue here is not just the fact that musicians deserve compensation for what they do (a statement that is of course, only true if what they do is good!), but the fact that someone is making money out of all of this, and it is not the artist.


    Reply
    1. tomhorn

      The issue here is not that someone is making money and it’s not the artist. The issue is the artist at some time signed a bad deal, and now he is trying to make himself out to be the victim.

      Those royalties he received (no matter how small they are) are being sent to him because at some point he signed a contract that gave those entities the rights to play his music for the money they are sending him. Either he signed the contracts directly, or he signed his rights over to someone else to market them for him and they didn’t get enough money to satisfy him. It’s really that simple.

      Personally I think the artists by and large are not being fairly compensated, but until they stop signing bad deals, they have no one to blame but themselves.


      Reply
  105. TAE

    Here’s how it works. If someone is making money off of my music, then I should be making money (not pennies) off of my music. Period. Copyrights, like it or not, are assets. Those who think otherwise have not worked long enough, or even in, this industry. I love streaming. I love access. I hate inequitable distributions of monies (if seen at all) especially when the content has been uploaded without a deal, or the permission of the rights holder, in place.

    Still not convinced? Here’s an idea. Go hack Google’s search engine code and make your own search engine called “Bugle”. Call me from prison and let me know how it all worked out for you.


    Reply
  106. Anonymous

    14K performances on terrestial radio wouldnt’ earn you a whole lot more, either, and it’s always been that way.
    But, since the internet, we can get more detailed accounts of spins, it seems like you’re getting a worse deal than ever before. My terrestial radio ASCAP statements never report the number of spins, only my share, which is never a lot, either. In truth, 14K spins simply means that you aren’t that popular ( not yet anyway ). Getting a grammy doesn’t entitle you to anything other than bragging rights. It takes BILLIONS of spins on terrestial radio to earn serious royalties, i.e, it’s always been that way, and though it’s probably worse on the internet, I imagine it’s not a whole lot worse, or someone who really knows, please correct me. But, in the old days of terrestial radio, spins would drive album sales, and that, sadly, doesn’t happen any more. That’s the problem, not the “per spin royalty” . Spins were like free ads that paid you, and they sold your records on top of it, no one complalned about spins in the old days, but only since no one buys albums any more, that’s when the complaining about low spin royalities started happening. It’s not that pandora or spotify give you so little, it’s that they exist that’s killing making a living at music. really, it’s artists fault, and why? they aren’t boycotting them, and they should, just boycott them and shut them all down. Until all artists do this, they can’t complain, that’s my view, boycott ALL streaming services, all musicians, get together, and start selling CDs like we used to. . If my logic is wrong, please correct me, I’m open to discussion. Thank you. Also, for the gentleman arguing that composing for TV and film is a high skill, yes it is, and TV and films do pay enough that, if you get a good rep in that field, you can, indeed, make a nice living. That’s what I’m shooting for, anyway, the idea of making a living off streaming, that’s not even on my agenda, as a composer.


    Reply
  107. Matthew

    I believe I’ve identified the disconnect here…I’m going to switch the profession, maybe that will clarify things. Maybe not. But I will have made an attempt.
    There are many people who go out and shoot at each other with paintball guns on the weekend as a hobby. To them, it’s just some shit to do on a Saturday afternoon with some friends, no big deal. A smaller subsection of those people are hardcore about it. They get expensive paintball guns and paintball grenades. Then there’s me. I was an infantryman; we trained with Simunitions. It wasn’t playing paintball, it was practicing for a future deployment to Iraq that ultimately helped keep our asses alive.
    Same here. Some of you seem to be lumping people like the author, a Grammy nominated, multiple station top 10 artist in with the dude who’s clumsily hammering out a few power chords in his mum and dad’s garage, or even a pretty successful bloke who’s name is out and he’s doing gigs or selling a few burnt CDs. This bloke’s past all that. He’s done the Grammys; his songs have been played on a national level thousands of times. This lack of distinction is confusing to me; are we as a group (and you as a majority of self described musicians no less) really going to ignore the gulf between Beyoncé and the kid who did ‘Chocolate Rain?’
    As for the ‘what is *the art* worth’ question that seems to be weighing so heavily upon so many…why is it? Have you really come to an artist’s page, saw that he’s being properly fucked, and everyone’s thoughts were to respond to the troll? If you feed the animals, they’re just going to follow you home.


    Reply
  108. Perkele

    14.000 performances is a very very small number. imagine that playing the song once in a show with 14k listeners in a conventional radio (so some radio in a small city). How much income would that generate? Muich more? I don’t think so.

    Unfortunately for artists, we live in a world where music can be easily copied. In this case, real income should come from live performances. No Spotify or streaming? A lot of people would just pirate it and also you would miss some exposure. Maybe some of the people who streamed the song on Spotify bought a ticket to a live performance or bought merchandise or whatever. Stop thinking so small and blame streaming services for the lack of income.


    Reply
  109. UK Breaks

    It’s All about the Beats! Source of the Whole Scene! Without the Music, many industries would fail!
    Watch the video below if you doubt!

    Dirty Secrets They Don’t want Producers To Know!
    /watch?v=QgKAHQ2N4Eo


    Reply
  110. Justin

    There are 7 billion people on the planet. It takes a very small, close-minded individual whom lacks basic critical thinking and logic to expect, or even propose that every human being is able & willing to aquire what some would consider “usefull & important” professions. To go a step further and propose that a profession or talent should not be considered a financially competent lifestyle simply because that person has labaled it a form of art, which apparently some here believe provides no benificial, profitable value? Nonsense.

    You must understand this will never be possible. This kind of thinking, similarly to prejudice and racism, will only lead to suffering, hatred, inequality, fear and violence. Those who think this way should not be taken seriously until they are able to comprehend this flawed logic. To those who continue to think this way: If that is a world you want to live in then please, continue to place a delusional importance on jobs, people, material possessions & ideas whilst casting billions aside simply because their professions and lifestyles do not meet the egotistical standards of the narcissistic, elitist few whom think they are better, and more important than those around them. Good luck with that logic.


    Reply
  111. Sky DADDY

    get a real job and call it beer money.


    Reply
  112. fireman

    I’ve saved lives… I dont expect money for every day these people live beyond that. .. also some die, and I too must live with that… so boo boo Pandora wont give u more money. ..


    Reply
  113. Musikopedie

    How did you make $0.76 from Spotify for 2000 plays? I have over 1.2 million plays on Spotify and made $0.36! This seems completely arbitrary…


    Reply
  114. David

    Armen:
    Thanks for this sir. I al also a writer and an exec with ideas for how to get writers paid. I have been doing this for over 20 years. Let’s talk. I would love to learn more and assist. I think I can sir. All the best.
    Email me
    Davidallenjones1@yahoo.com


    Reply
  115. Rob

    Music has always had this sort of trouble. First with record companies and their standard record contracts that rip of the artists and creators who provide the material that makes them money and now with these streaming services.

    The musicians should work for free, while other people make money from their music? I’ve never understood why people think that (some stereotypical image I suppose). I highly respect anyone who can make music or art their life.


    Reply
  116. R.P.

    .60 cents on Spotify… looks like Pandora would have brought you .12 cents for the same count. -_-

    “never complain without a solution”.


    Reply
  117. Joe

    I owned a streaming online radio station from 2004 – 2009, that’s right when the copyright royalty board was considering making streaming radio royalties so expensive it would have made online streaming obsolete. I calculated what my station would have owed in 2006 in royalty fees had Clear Channel and other tower stations gotten their wish, it was upwards of $2.5 million for a small, hobby, streaming station. It wasn’t worth it.

    I’m sorry that technology and advancement have made it so you can’t get rich off of writing one song. Want to make money as a musician? Write music more people will like. Frankly I think the future will see the end of royalty agencies like BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc.. and artists will be empowered to develop one on one deals with hosts themselves. Getting he big labels out of the ways is the first step.


    Reply
  118. Another Joe

    Digitalmusicnews.com just ran a story about Spotify paying $1 per play to the Indie artist. Has this changed? Also, as much as I have 100% sympathy for the artists who ARE getting ripped off, to understand the figures above in context, wouldn’t we need to see how many CDs were sold as result of people liking what they heard online? Without online exposure, many musicians and artists might not have been heard.
    Also, if the situation wasn’t murky enough, it is also valid to say that if major labels were eliminated as suggested by some, many artists would not be ‘developed’ and would inevitably never achieve their potential or rise to popularity. Labels make contracts and stick with an artist and help them, do they not? If the big names from the 60’s and 70’s were indies, they might not ever have gotten past a weak first album. A sad reality is the digital revolution has truly hurt the world of music.


    Reply
  119. Chuckles

    Counting per-performance is bullshit. Sorry, but if anything, you’re getting ripped off HARDER by terrestrial radio than by the streaming sites.

    Average number of listeners for a Pandora or Spotify stream: 1. Meanwhile the Hearts of Space broadcast is syndicated to ~100 NPR stations, meaning that each play there is heard by tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people. You were paid $0.26 for that performance.

    We’ll be pessimistic, and say that Hearts of Space is only heard by 10,000 people each week (which is wildly under-estimating, but a cursory google search didn’t come back with actual listener numbers). That’s $0.000026 per listener. That number just keeps going down as the number of listeners goes up.

    Meanwhile, Pandora paid $0.33 for 5,776 listeners. We’ll be generous and multiply that by 1.5 to account for people playing it in cars with passengers, or commercially played Pandora in coffeeshops, and say there were 8664 listeners for $0.33, or $0.0000381per listener. And that amount increases linearly with the number of plays.

    I mean, it’s not a large number in either case, but that payout is almost twice as much per listener on Pandora!


    Reply
  120. ac

    Now let’s see Iggy Azalea’s BMI statement. No offense, but it seems to me the work in question is simply not very popular. It is like comparing the DVD sales of highly acclaimed indie foreign film and Disney’s Frozen. Being GRAMMY nominated or talented has nothing to do with it……only if it sells.

    Just an observation.


    Reply
  121. Gigi

    Why are “actors” so revered & idolized for their work & compensated so nicely for it too I might add, yet musicians & composers, whose song can take you back to a beautiful memory or just make you feel good expected to earn crap? I guess you gotta screw a Kardashian or be one to earn a buck in this twisted society.


    Reply
    1. Josh

      That’s quite a ridiculous comment when you look at the amount of money a film earns as opposed to an album. Most of the biggest music acts in the world will gross in one year what just one film will in a week. Not to mention a lot of actors only get paid once, nothing residual.

      And while we’re at it, let’s remember that a company like Pandora does in fact pay something like 60% of their gross revenue for music. It goes right out the door. So the fact that it doesn’t reach the artist is not necessarily their fault. If the artists and media would start pointing fingers in the right direction they might actually get paid.


      Reply
  122. Timo

    Wow… so many people missed the point. Even though many musicians have found financial compensation through touring and merchandise, that is entirely beside the point. We are talking about fair compensation for the creation itself and I don’t think anyone here can defend multiple thousands of plays being compensated with mere pennies.


    Reply
  123. Anonymous

    we need to change this…the writers have the (product) without it the artist has not tour or career….


    Reply
  124. Anonymous

    I am going to sound a bit like of an asshole but hear me out. If your business model is not working because of ever changing technologies, change your model. The royalty system is as outdated as a crt monitor. Very few uses for either one.


    Reply
  125. Anonymous

    I am a Grammy Award winner which I won in 2004. Today I am proud to say that I sell Kilos of Cocaine to make a living! THE WORST BUSINESS IN THE WORLD IS THE MUSIC BIZ. Stick to Drugs people!! Much better living!

    God Bless America, and the Colombian,Mexican Cartels!


    Reply
  126. Adam Fuller

    A grammy winner doesn’t necessarily mean a hit maker. Sorry but this revelation doesn’t reveal much to the world at all. If you aren’t writing for top artists who are still selling than you don’t stand a chance. Creating masterpieces is useless if you aren’t connecting with a wide fan base. This is rubbish.


    Reply
  127. Lex

    Armen, I apologise on behalf of pop culture. 1 or two insightful and informative comments…….. 1000 idiotic and ignorant statements which are as much of a waste of time as trying to explain to the originator just WHY they are so ignorant.

    Regardless of what anyone thinks about the validity of the art form : or art in general. This is about Intellectual property. The ownership of which lies with the originator/ composer. Their intellectual property is being appropriated, sold …and huge profits are being made; but not by the originator. Those services are thieves and the record labels that enable them are THIEVES. I am not a grammy winning musician. but musician nonetheless and out of respect I will not subscribe to a service that defrauds fellow musicians and composers. If you like an artist ; buy their records and go to their concerts; this is how they survive and continue to make high quality music which is the soundtrack to so many of our lives. Some say its not essential. But try living without it……..
    #ArtIsLife


    Reply
    1. earbleed

      +1


      Reply
    2. musician

      Lex, this is so true…


      Reply
  128. masteri

    Well, from my friends that actually pay from spotify, their average monthly plays are over 5000 (=pretty much playing something on background what ever they do). From this you could reasonably expect something like 0.0005 per play (where 50% is going to spotify). So from 2088 plays 1.04€ would be fairer. It’s not much, but it is still over double the money you get now.

    That being said, I don’t have any idea how people who don’t pay from spotify vs people who pay for it but don’t use it much balance that out. Also, I don’t have any clue how much it actually costs to run spotify level service where you need fuck ton of bandwidth.


    Reply
  129. RoyaltyProfessional

    Not enough is being said about the staggering growth in SoundExchange artist payouts over the past 10 years. SoundExchange pays out more than any other neighboring rights society in the world, despite the fact that they are only allowed to collect and distribute digital performance royalties, and no terrestrial radio royalties (yet) compared to its overseas counterparts. And now they even account monthly if you make more than $250/month.


    Reply
  130. Veteran - US MUSIC INDUSTRY 1970-today

    SOLUTION FOR ALL YOU LOCAL TYPE PLAYERS: If you don’t like the rules of the game, don’t play. Stop releasing your music to public performance companies, so then you’ll have nothing to complain about. Only make it available on Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Soundcloud, and your own website. Do not send to radio. Do not send to iTunes, etc. Just don’t do it. Seriously.

    QUESTION: what does “reasonable” mean? SPECIFICALLY. If it means this; “as much as is appropriate or fair; moderate,” we have to determine what is appropriate or fair. That gets to what is the reasonable meaning of “fair.” “Fair” means “in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate.”

    So, in accordance with the rules or standards … if you want the rules to be changed, lobby those who make the rules. As someone in the business I have to abide by and within the rules as established.

    I have been a “local” musician who has made at least a minimum wage income. I have been in radio throughout the past 40 years, and still am today. I have worked as a venue manager, talent consultant, buyer, seller, show promoter, record promoter, and more.

    I’ve seen world famous musicians play to nearly empty rooms. I’ve seen the worst and most unskilled and unrehearsed bands play to packed rooms. The size of the room is not relevant – only the people in it.

    My father, a musician and actor in the 40s-mid 60s, used to say to play to one as if it were one thousand, and to one thousand as if they were one. He also bemoaned the fact that he could not make enough to live on. In fact, many parents in the past FORBID their daughters to date musicians, actors, and artists in general.

    Local bands have NEVER in my lifetime, as a whole (I can name exceptions), made enough to live on.

    The average local band in the past fifteen years sells an average of 250 pieces of plastic or glass or other conveyance method that contains data that when played on a listening device is considered as music. In 99+% of the cases, the local band LOST MONEY on the project.

    The music is not the product. It never has been. For every one MAJOR hit, there are tens of thousands (today, hundreds of thousands) no-hit attempts. When you truly understand what the product is, you will see a difference.

    If you are a local musician, enjoy your time on stage. It doesn’t last forever. If you are a local musician, it is likely you can bring 30 people to the show (I have run or worked in venues long enough to know the numbers).

    As a venue operator, I cannot begin to recount the number of losses I’ve incurred. I paid a band $500 the other night. They played to 25 people. Those 25 people spent less than $400. This is COMMON FOLKS!

    If you’re serious about making money go do it. Most won’t. Most will just complain about how they’re being treated unfairly, and unreasonably.


    Reply
    1. Tiffany

      It’s your responsibility to bring customers into your venue, not the band’s. How many customers did your chef or wait staff bring that night?


      Reply
  131. J Phillips

    To be fair, a couple thousand plays is a *very* small amount in the streaming world. Looks like his problem is poor marketing. I know a lot of people who make a really solid amount of money every month off of streaming.


    Reply
    1. Stoufus The God

      No you don’t clownass.
      Here’s an example of an artist you may have heard of
      Bette Midler. Directly from her
      @Spotify and @Pandora have made it impossible for songwriters to earn a living: three months streaming on Pandora, 4,175,149 plays=$114.11.


      Reply
  132. Johnny

    Ah, publicity stunt! Good thinking! I had never heard of you or listened to your music, now I have! This is taking advantage of the digital age. I would say next statement will be significantly higher! I congratulate you, a job well done!


    Reply
  133. Rick Nash

    Folks it is a changing landscape in the music business. Before coming down hard it might be better to understand how Sound Exchange works and in general how the whole terrestrial and broadcast business works. Ignorance is bliss. I say to all of you stop thinking of streaming as a problem but rather as a solution to getting your music heard.

    Now we as musicians have more opportunities to get our music out to the masses than ever before.

    Enough whining ! ! ! Go and write music! it’s what you were put on this earth to do :)


    Reply
  134. Don

    Are people taking into consideration this article was written by Armen Chakmakian? What does that tell you? Slightly pretentious if you ask me…


    Reply
  135. Jenny

    I am sorry but anyone who is a “musician” or an “artist” that complains about how little money they make, is not.


    Reply
    1. Mike

      Thank-you!


      Reply
  136. anthony

    Unfortunately there is a lot of weird ideas/mantras about music that just don’t work in the real world. Tell a businessman that he should do what he does purely for the love and he will be an unsuccessful businessman. Professional musicians need to get paid because they are offering up a service and it costs money to buy equipment, carry it around, etc. Most of the people feel that musicians shouldn’t think about money are not musicians. I guarantee you.

    The problem is supply and demand..there are so many musicians out there, and computers can do the work for a lot of them – except in certain fields (classical, musical theater, songwriting, etc).

    The streaming model isn’t great yet (I think Daft Punk only made $13000 from streaming). However that isn’t only how they make their money. Besides, those tunes weren’t hits. Im sure he makes his money elsewhere.


    Reply
  137. John Guetterman

    WHY IS NO ONE RELATING to the fact that this GUY HAS NO PLAYS?

    His music is NOT POPULAR… If he had millions of plays… He would be making money…

    BUT HE DOESNT… Less that 10,000 total… THAT IS WHY HE ISNT MAKING SHIT…

    Write music people will play if you want money…

    SUPPLY and DEMAND…

    UP YOUR GAME … Or get out of the game if you don’t like it!

    If it’s love of what you do… STOP BITCHING


    Reply
    1. S Johnson

      No plays vs. Millions of plays – Bette Midler is popular – she made $114 bucks from over 4 million plays. So now what? This is from her blog:

      .@Spotify and @Pandora have made it impossible for songwriters to earn a living: three months streaming on Pandora, 4,175,149 plays=$114.11.

      There’s an article in BillboardBiz about it.


      Reply
    2. GF

      Add a couple zeros to his plays and to his earnings. Now he makes 400 bucks for 1.4 million plays. But I can totally see why you got righteous and all-cappy there…


      Reply
  138. Hef

    I’m not sure what this guy is moaning about. A grammy nomination means utterly jack fuck all if nobody likes your tunes. If nobody streams your tracks you don’t get any money. Duh.

    It’s reassuring to know that my own totally unknown band is getting more plays accross the board than a grammy nominated “somebody”.


    Reply
    1. GF

      And if you and your unknown band get a million plays, maybe you can throw a kegger with the $295 you’d make – and split between your bandmates. Well, you can all throw the kegger as a group, anyway…couple kegs, some chips…. yeah, I have no idea what his complaint is either…


      Reply
  139. Cris

    I think that this is a shame that you are not collecting a reasonable payment for the use of your music. My child is in band and they pay thousands of dollars for the rights to play their songs each year and to compete. Obviously someone is making money. It is ridiculous to see the schools having to drop programs because of the high cost of music; especially since the artists are not getting a fair cut. There ought to be some way to fix the system.


    Reply
  140. Jon

    I don’t get any royalty for you using the website I built.


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  141. Mike

    You can’t expect to get rich off streaming music. There is tons of money still in selling your music with distributors such as iTunes and the likes. It’s not like you’re being ripped off here, you’re being compensated for the value you’re providing, and in this case, your music is just a small fish in an ocean of many other small fish. All the small fish contribute to the ecosystem the world of streaming music. You should be thankful you don’t have to pay to have your music distributed on the internet and that it’s the other way around….for now.


    Reply
  142. james

    Get a good manager


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  143. INTJ Musician

    I read about halfway down through the comments before I decided I was done with this planet.


    Reply
  144. jane rosenbohm

    I’ve played over 50 years … Practice full time and perform … today I played for tips and lunch … Tomorrow I play for free … I’m a concert classical guitarist … I’ve a Bose pa … Ramirez guitar … new van and I’d make more at McDonalds … Go figure.


    Reply
  145. Darach

    The devil is in the detail…..how many “users” listened to your music? How many of those “users” would actually buy your music? In terms of the Internet 2000 performances isn’t actually that many! Streaming services are better for users! And the general public! Stop being a greedy muppet!


    Reply
  146. Jeremy

    Musicians think they are such a big deal. I’ve seen the available software these “musicians” use. All you gotta do is hit play. The music is dead. It died with everything else in the 90’s. Thank God I saw it.


    Reply
    1. Michael

      Good luck with that, Jeremy. Let me know how your music turns out when you give that a go :D


      Reply
  147. Walter Bosello

    I’ve read some of the responses…some of them are interesting.
    I’ve now been composing music for about 10 years and have learned kept my distance from the music industry.
    I’d like people to get to know my music…even some money would be nice, since making music is time-consuming and recording equipment can cost thousand of dollars. Still: I try with my own resources.
    But I know achieving this is extremely improbable.

    Some people here have said that a musician is not a real worker.
    Now: I understand much of music today really…reeeeeally sucks! I’m with Jeremy there. And I also understand that it’s easier and easier to make tunes effordlessly, but just think about those composers who actually work for days, weeks, even months to get one song just right. They don’t do it only for their own ego!
    Better yet think of all those composers that lived centuries ago and would streer entire populations with their compositions. Mozart, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Grieg and so on.
    I agre nowadays so called “artists” should look in the mirror and ask themselves “am I really doing quality stuff?”. But If they do get popular they should get the money they deserve.

    Music industry is the real problem here. It tells YOU what YOU want to hear and hides from YOU the music that could change the world. I’m not talking about my music here. This is not a personal thing. I’m talking about lots of REAL indie artists that don’t emulate what music industry sais is “the trend”.
    Should they get money? If their music is truly appreciated, yes they should. I believe they should get money from songs bought and live performances.


    Reply
  148. Tom Meny

    So why not take the songs off of the streaming sites? Someone please correct me if I’m wrong..but either you or your representative select the option to stream. I could be wrong, it might be different at this guy’s level. But when I upload an album for distribution, it is my option to include the streaming sites which include Spotify, etc.


    Reply
  149. J Stoddard

    14,000 or so plays is not a lot. That just means the song was listened to 14,000 times. Not the same as 14,000 spins on the radio. One spin on a decent size station would give you many, many, multiples of people hearing your song. I’m not sure that having 14,000 “listens” is worth a whole hell of a lot of pay out.

    It is the equivalent of one tiny podunk station playing your song(s) one time.


    Reply
  150. jaybles

    newsflash: music is worthless. The music industry (people pressing, marketing, distributing sound in some physical form) is only about 100 or 120 years old. Music has been around for thousands of years. There was music before record companies, and there will be music after that dumb industry dies, no matter how many articles David Byrne writes. Get a real job.


    Reply
  151. JR

    Here’s an idea: make better music to which more people want to listen.


    Reply
  152. Joe Q.

    I am a music lover and an amateur musician. I play in a jazz band that consists of a mixture of amateurs like myself and working professional musicians, so I am sympathetic to the world of professional music and those who are trying to make a living by playing.

    At the same time, I have a day job in the private sector, in new product development, for a large well-known company. The price we are able to charge for our products in the marketplace depends on the balance of supply and demand. The salaries that I and my colleagues earn are also driven by supply and demand.

    I spend a lot of my free time listening, playing, and generally engaging deeply in music, so I understand its value to society and to the human soul. But music is also entertainment, and therefore also something of an industry, which makes it too subject to the laws of supply and demand.

    For any genre of music, musical tastes change over time, for a whole bunch of reasons. This changes demand. People enter and leave the industry, for a whole bunch of reasons. This changes supply.

    To my mind, if musicians aren’t earning much from their work, this must be because the supply of music out there greatly exceeds the demand for it. We cannot increase demand by fiat; people will listen to what they want to listen to. It is not axiomatic that just because someone is a talented or creative musician, and decides to try to make their living playing music, that the world should ensure they are able to make a living by doing so.

    For the same reason, I find it hard to agree with many of the complaints about streaming music services. To my knowledge, no streaming music service has held a gun to the head of an artist and compelled them to make their music available online. Anyone whose music is available on a streaming music service either signed something indicating their consent, or implicitly consented by delegating the right to make that kind of decision to another person. Those who don’t like the payment structure of streaming music services can refuse to participate. Participating, and then complaining, seems silly to me.


    Reply
  153. musician

    So many (dumb?) people here who haven´t a clue about what it takes to make music and the money to get it heard.

    I took the following lines from Sammy Gonzalez because they are so true:
    “For an indie artist attempting to “make it” it’s the same as a start up small business.
 These are the costs.
 10-15k for an album recording good enough for main stream

    15-20k for professional videos, photos, publicist, promo, art and packaging.

    15k for a van, trailer, and merchandise. 
40-50k start up.”

    Think about THAT: If you buy three bananas, you spend about $1.35. You eat them and they´re gone. If you spend $1.29 for a song on iTunes you can listen to it your whole life. Should be worth it, don´t you think? As somebody mentioned before, buying the album of an artist and going to the concerts can make him a living. Everything else is peanuts.


    Reply
  154. Frans Maritz

    It seems the people commenting negatively here about musicians and composers not qualifying for their just royalties, seem to forget someone is getting that money. So to these Anti-Music people, is it Ok for the corporate businesses to receive huge amounts of money for royalties and then only pay the composers/artists a fraction of the amount? This because some of you think the composers/artists don’t deserve to be paid their fair share for what you believe they should be doing for the love of music, if so then you should also work 9 to 5 for peanuts, unless you don’t love your work. Be nice and remember you listen to music all day one way or another, and even if you may not notice it, you will when it stops.


    Reply
  155. Mike

    As a veteran in the music industry having been involved with several gold selling & even platinum selling records, I HATE seeing what streaming is doing to the professionals creating the music…

    That said, it will never go back, no matter how bad we might want it to. Technology never looks back… No one longs for the day when the only cell phones available were attached to a 6lb bag. Who wants to travel cross country in a prop plane?
    This is something that we as artists, like it or not, have to find a way to embrace it.

    It’s not going away.


    Reply
  156. DJChris

    Grammy NOMINATED Artists not Grammy WINNING Artist.


    Reply
  157. Make Dreams Come True

    The problem with all of your royalties statistics is that you are getting back statements that are calculated after the Record Labels already ripped you off, and your getting back what they think your worth. The pay rate is not great, but it’s know were near this bad. Learn how to do it yourself, and then you can see your correct numbers, Until then you will remain clueless. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but the real truth hurts.
    Bring your fans directly to you in one click. Smart App
    http://smarttab.smarturl.it/smartTab?preview=1&facebookPageId=110001462427568


    Reply
  158. Sheila R. MacArthur

    Dumb question. Can an artist keep their music offline? Thanks.


    Reply
  159. Jerry Lavoy

    If streaming is killing the ability for musicians to make a living, then steaming must be killed.
    Contractually opt out? We have to protect ourselves, it’s quite obvious no one else has our back.
    Just because a technology exists does not mean we have to buy into using it.
    We’ve had nuclear bombs for nearly 70 years, and other than for testing purposes, only 2 have ever been used.
    Not sure where i was going with that, but hey, if we can use sports analogies, wth.. :D


    Reply
  160. JJ

    Everybody knows by now that Spotify, Pandora etc pay out virtually zero dollars to musicians for their songs. So, with that said, why do so many of these same people who know the score put their music on Spotify etc and then bitch about getting screwed. Why do they give their songs away basically for free in the first place? It is as stupid as showing up at the office 40 hours a week for the job you’ve been fired from. All that work and no pay. And if musicians are putting whole albums (and they certainly are) on Spotify for exposure in order to eventually sell their albums/music, for example, on iTunes, their local neighborhood music store etc., who’s going to go to iTunes or wherever when they just got it for free on Spotify? This isn’t a case of shooting yourself in the foot, it’s a case of shooting yourself in the head. These musicians live in Alice’s Wonderland. Wake up! And definitely, definitely don’t quit your day job cuz you sure won’t make money as a musician.


    Reply
  161. Chuck Hughes

    It is one thing for an insider to nominate you for a Grammy, it is another thing entirely to create demand for your music by getting in the van for a couple years and sleeping on a lot of floors. You cannot predict a lucky Pomplamoose-style Youtube break. People who have created demand and recognition for their music are doing fine on streaming services. It is harder work than 95% of musicians are willing to do.


    Reply
  162. nobody

    all musicans together have alot of power,
    no music = no fucking stream, no apple, no google, no tv, no cinema, no hardware industrie etc etc…
    use your power & your brains !!!
    at the moment musicans just a toy for the industrie ! change the game !


    Reply
  163. Brian

    Just a simple comment, at least streaming (radio or other) pays royalties. The main issue that came out of the DMCA is that there is a loophole, the FM stations do not pay a penny to the “artists”. No one has even tried to fight this on capital hill until recently… and the FM radio still has huge worldwide profitability, about time they start paying too. Food for thought


    Reply

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