We Asked Rdio What They Pay Artists. And This Is What They Said

It seems like a simple question.

But these are the email exchanges we had with Rdio to find out, “what do you actually pay artists, labels, and rights holders?”

> Email Thread #1 (PR):

Digital Music News: How much does Rdio pay artists, labels, or other rightsholders per on-demand stream? On any song?

Sue Ellen(PR): Artists get paid differently for downloads versus streaming content. The record labels determine this rate of pay when they make deals with companies like Rdio. While we can’t discuss our actual negotiated rates with the labels we have licensed music from, we can say that artists are getting paid by Rdio every time their songs are played.

Digital Music News: But how much? Is there a payout range? Certainly every song gets paid something, within some range?

Sue Ellen: Rdio makes deals with the labels so I’m not sure how much the labels are compensating their artists. Unfortunately, that’s not information the pr team has been given access to.

I can set up a call with yourself and [Rdio CEO] Drew [Larner] but I honestly don’t think you would have your question answered. Have you tried asking the labels?

> Email Thread #2 (Drew Larner, Rdio CEO):

Digital Music News: Sue Ellen suggested I contact you directly on this.  I’m trying to figure out what Rdio pays rightsholders – artists, labels – per on-demand stream.  What is that number?

Drew Larner, CEO: Hey Paul, not really much detail I can share here but happy to chat if you’d like.

Digital Music News: Just curious as to why you can’t share any detail?  Why is the payout range such secretive information?

Larner: All of my deals contain confidentiality clauses.

Digital Music News: Let’s speak more generally then, without disclosing specific deals. Do major labels receive more revenue per-stream than indies? And how does that compare to an unsigned artist payout?