My Song Was Streamed 178 Million Times. I Was Paid $5,679…

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Update: Kadish (the songwriter) was actually referring to Pandora-specific streaming radio, instead of broader streaming (which would include on-demand Spotify streams).

If streaming is now worth billions of dollars, where’s all the money going? That’s now a serious question in light of information surrounding Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” easily one of the top tracks across streaming platforms since its mid-2014 release.  Yet one of the song’s key writers, Kevin Kadish, is making virtually zero off of that success, despite a play count surpassing 178 million streams.

“I mean $5,679?”

Kadish shared the figures during a copyright-focused discussion at Belmont University in Nashville this week, where The Tennessean was taking notes.  “For a song like ‘All About That Bass,’ that I wrote, which had 178 million streams,” Kadish began, without specifying any streaming services.  “I mean $5,679? That’s my share. That’s as big a song as a songwriter can have in their career and number one in 78 countries.

“But you’re making $5,600. How do you feed your family?”

That’s the thing about groceries: you need to pay for them.  Yet Kadish’s figures outline why this is essentially impossible on streaming platforms, paid or otherwise.  “I’ve never heard a songwriter complain about radio royalties as much as streaming royalties,” Kadish continued.

US Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) led the proceedings, with Representatives Darrell Issa (R-California), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Doug Collins (R-Georgia), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) in tow.  That Congressional posse is digging into music copyright ecosystem that seems to be rewarding major corporations and investors but doing little for artists, songwriters, producers, and others in the creative supply chain.

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Leading streaming companies like Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube typically respond to songwriter payout problems by pointing to big, top-level payouts.  Just yesterday, for example, Pandora pointed to cumulative royalty payouts of $1.5 billion, yet songwriters and publishers are getting scraps.  Similarly, Spotify says it has paid more than $3 billion in cumulative royalties, but a large percentage of that money is getting hoarded by major labels without being distributed to artists.

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This keeps coming up, over and over again.  Earlier this week, another successful artist, La Roux, pointed to a paltry payment of £100 for the past three months of streaming.  “@Spotify, thanks for the £100 for this quarter just gone, one more month and I might be able to afford your premium service,” La Roux tweeted.  “Lucky me!”

Meanwhile, songwriters are a dying breed: according to data released by the Nashville Songwriters Association International in January, the number of actively-working songwriters in Nashville has plunged 80 percent since 2000.  And that doesn’t even count the supporting cast of studio technicians, licensing administrators, producers, and session musicians that once earned solid salaries.


104 Responses

  1. Ari

    Paul please stop publishing those boring “My Song Was Played ___ Million Times on Spotify. I Was Paid $____”-posts!

    • GGG

      I think they are important, so people actually get hard figures. The issue is the pipeline is NEVER explained.

      • Remi Swierczek

        Agreed with GGG.

        My global estimate for plateau of subscription streaming at $15B just have been REVISED to $10B.

        In three months clueless Cue might convince me that number is just at $5B.
        1999 CDs = TODAY $60B. Mr. Grainge and Mr. Morris it’s time to have some honor and leave!

        DETOX from Ek’s & VEVO dope is overdue!

          • AKR

            Just as a music professor: we keep teaching that ASCAP, BMI, & Station Program Managers, along with individually retained Entertainment Layers, who also hold the CPA. traditionally keep track of world-wide plays, even for the estates of deceased artists, composers & arrangers. The congress persons, at the above Belmont Meeting, perhaps should extend responsibility for this function, to an equivalent job description they require of streaming companies. The divisions of the pie probably need to change, since the labels, once the material is produced, spend not nearly the same risk money on the the distribution as they did on printing every copy, taking it to, & merchandizing it, at record stores worldwide..

      • masses

        Exactly what I was thinking! I read this article then spent the next 10 hours researching and writing this in-depth article explaining how the royalties actually get split up… hopefully it can shed more light on the matter for people: masses blog – newest post

        • ODB

          Nice in depth analysis James. One question is how do we equate Spotify in terms of listening experience. Is it like radio (feed the consumer) or like iTunes (on demand and fans pick what they want). I guess it acts as both and the pay is different — I don’t get too deep in the financial details.

          • GGG

            That’s one of the bigger issues surrounding streaming, how do you treat it? Do we treat it like sales? Like radio spins? Like a new animal entirely?

            There’s merit to the argument in comparing to sales, and making streaming look bad, especially since you can store locally now (though, only while subscribed). But at the same time, it’s not a 1 to 1 ratio. 178M people were not going to buy that track if streaming ceased to exist. I think the highest selling single EVER is like 30M tops. But then again, you’d only need to sell like 2M copies to equal 178M streams at this point. So the streaming rate does need to go up somehow.

            If you compare it to radio, it doesn’t look terrible, since you get a spin on something like KIIS FM and you’re reaching a few million people at once. So it’s only going to take maybe 50 spins to hit that 178M people mark. Really, less since that is certainly not 178M unique listeners. And how much is the guy getting from 50 or less radio spins? Especially as a co-writer with a publisher, so he’d be getting 50% of 50% of what his PRO collects. Not $5 grand.

            Really, we need to all agree it’s either a mixture of both, or it’s own thing, and start figuring it out accordingly. This is why we need the details. It serves no purpose for the debate to just lay shit out like Spotify is writing a check to the artist, as these articles usually make it seem. Talk about writer shares, talk about PROs, talk about labels, talk about publishers, etc etc. THEN we can find out where the most kinks are. One answer is still going to be low “per-stream” rates, but there’s a lot more going on.

        • Emmanuel

          @Masses, except that you have an error in the blog post you wrote. Songwriters do get mechanical royalties that are for every physical or digital copy sold of their songs.

      • Anonymous

        it looks like the OP was not the one who uploaded it to spotify. If he did he would have gotten mechanical royalty as well and that would be 0.003$ per stream. He would have gotten $500,000.

        Whoever uploaded that song is got alot of money.

        If I was to write a song, I would hire a singer and post the song myself so I would get the mechanical royalties. With online music streaming you don’t need to write songs and sell to a publisher or recording company. be your own label and make what they are making

        • Anonymous

          I get 200,000-300,000 streams a month and make close to $1000 a month. Stop writing songs for companies and release them on spotify yourself

    • Jeff Robinson

      The problem here is that only Rhapsody and Spotify pay BMI. Not sure if they are the only streaming services paying ASCAP too. This HAS to stop.

    • Tattood Fool

      Yes, he should publish more articles in which you claim some idiot tattooed your lyrics on them.

    • Anonymous

      No no no Paul, Ari is right. This isn’t news. We get it. Streaming doesn’t pay artists enough. Stop creating sardonic, click-baity headlines and maybe try your hand at some journalism.

    • Donn R. Westmoreland

      Ari, please go to work for the next three months for free.

    • Anonymous

      you’re clearly not a songwriter or one that cares about this songwriting industry.

    • Bill

      Its not boring to Artists Ari… Plenty of media on the webs bro… skip what you dont like dikhd…

    • Anonymous

      Are you a songwriter with songs getting tons of play yet proper renumeration completely eludes and marginalizes you, Ari?

    • Berty

      So, Ari, I guess you are not among the legion of musicians being ripped off by streaming services. So, suck it up and go to another website if you don’t like it

    • a music industry creator

      Because this DOES NOT affect you, you want to shut off his post/our voice?? Wow. Why don’t you easily just NOT read?!?! You probably work for One of these egocentric companies.

  2. jay

    the music streaming decreased piracy, but now it’s decreasing sales and it’s reducing the industry professionals earnings as well. streaming is not so bad for the all-in-one independent artists, as it is a more direct source of revenue.

    • Ralph Fehr

      Music streaming rates are ridiculous. I’m not even a musician and I can tell you the MAIN Difference between streaming and radio spins is that radio spins SELLS music and streams effectively take AWAY my incentive to buy music. I can now get whatever music I want for a few dollars a month. I can listen to literally millions of tunes in whatever order or on whatever playlist I want for almost nothing. In the 70’s I had to pay $75 (in today’s money) for about 10 songs… which I could then only get into a playlist I liked by painstakingly record onto tape in the order I wanted to listen to them. Today’s technology should have made the created work (the song) worth THAT MUCH MORE to us… NOT LESS!! It’s absolutely ludicrous!! I can’t believe there’s even a debate about this…. I’m stunned…

      • Julian

        yes you had to pay $75 but you can’t compare considering that at the time it was much harder to make a song, now a days i can simply download some programs and with a little practices i have a some, may not be the best one but i have it and i can sell it.
        when there’s more people making music, the cost has to go down.

        • chuck

          What, then, happens to the quality of the music? 😉

        • Nate917

          Yes Julian, it’s easy to record a song, but making quality music is the real trick here. We’re being led down a path towards a decline in quality music because there just won’t be anything in it for the artist.

      • greg peep

        UNLESS YOUR TALKING ABOUT BUYING ALBUMS FOR INDIVIDUAL SONGS, YOU ARE wAaAaAAY off! MUSIC singles were never that costly! singles were below a dollar or just above. 10 songs for $75???? c’mon stop making drastic exaggerated numbers up. let’s say they were $2 or $3 …. STILL! stop it! keep the discussion honest.

  3. Tim Westergren Is a Criminal

    Pandora CEO Tim Westergren is making TENS of millions off Pandora and counting. He is out buying land, building mansions and putting money away for his grandkids’ grandkids as we speak. This is all documented by the SEC, title records, everything.

    Kevin Kadish makes $5,600 off a song that dominated Pandora charts. This is documented but is true for other writers as well.

    Sorry, this criminal. Tim Westergren is stealing money from the very people that made him a success. This is documented.

      • FarePlay

        The problem we are all talking about is the redistribution of wealth and that is where the battle lines need to be drawn. You need to look at the forces that have allowed this to happen and one can’t help but bring online piracy into the conversation.

        Until we at least reign in that problem and send a clear message to listeners that creative work is someone’s work and has the right to be compensated or at the very least control over who is legally entitled to use their work for financial gain.

        Had this been dealt with more effectively, these detrimental licensing deals never would have seen the light of day. If we stay on this path the music industry will collapse and become dominated by fewer and fewer mega stars who are phenomenally successful and few others.

        One need to look no further than the event concerts put on by iHeart radio and Apple Music to see the trend. Is that really what we want?

  4. Mr. Kristopher

    What’s the math on that? For each stream is that like 1/20 of a penny for each spin?!?

    • Django

      Try 3/1000 (3 one-thousandths) of a penny. Yeah, pretty much nothing at that point….

    • Danwriter

      Writers listed are Trainor and Kadish. Worst case, he has no publisher’s share, only his half of the writer’s share, or a quarter of the royalty pie.

    • Bill

      The context is $178 million plays, and he got $5600… you need any more info eat a d…

  5. Mark Wheatley

    None of these articles makes any sense. Streaming services pay NOTHING to artists or songwriters, it’s record labels that do that. How much artists get paid depends upon their deals with their labels.

    And how do much artists get paid from the enormous advances demanded by labels from streaming services? Hmm?

    No streaming service is able to make a profit from the deals they have with labels. If Westergren is rich he is rich from investor money, not money made in profits by his company.

    Such a lot of nonsense is talked on this topic it’s unbelievable.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Streaming services pay NOTHING to artists or songwriters, it’s record labels that do that.

      Not true. On non-interactive streaming (ie, Pandora, Beats One, etc.) statutory performance payout rates apply and are paid directly.

      And how do much artists get paid from the enormous advances demanded by labels from streaming services? Hmm?

      Nothing from platforms like Pandora. And I don’t think songwriters (much less recording artists) are cut into large advance payments to major labels.

      No streaming service is able to make a profit from the deals they have with labels. If Westergren is rich he is rich from investor money, not money made in profits by his company.

      “Deals they have with labels” would refer to those structured through SoundExchange, by royalty processes that are not directly negotiated by labels and Pandora.

      • dcguzman

        Your desperation is seen and cleared. I can read it. Youre from the music industry former employee of Epic. You should know more than everyone else here. Hardly any radio plays goes through the artists, thats a fact Paul. In fact, the only royalties radio plays gets are from the songwriters. Why do you think record labels pushing streaming?

        The only company that profits from radio is Clear Channel. They have a monopoly on radios since they start buying out radio stations in the US. And yet your articles keep pushing pay only music and radio. There are too many people called you out for this, not only me and Mark.

        You’re making a big mistake if this idea becomes popular and gain mainstream status.

      • Bingo

        Your are parsing words for your convenience Paul.
        1. Kadish did not specify the streaming service.
        2. Kadish is a songwriter, so your “SoundExchange” defense does not apply to him.
        3. Kadish receives his royalty checks from either BMI/ASCAP/SESAC. So again, no direct payment from streaming services is involved here.

        I’m with Ari. Posting articles based upon sensationalist quotes and anecdotal rhetoric with no points of reference is tiring. It borders on contributory negligence with regard to the informing the public.

        The go to quote here is:
        “I’ve never heard a songwriter complain about radio royalties as much as streaming royalties,” Kadish continued.
        Why is that? Now there’s something worth sinking your teeth into. Why is it that songwriters and journalist outlets like yours reserve their torches and pitchforks solely for streaming services when songwriters receive virtually the same rate from terrestrial radio? How about a little, just a little leg work by asking Kadish or any other songwriters how much they were paid for their tower based listens?

    • dcguzman

      Again, what do you expect from a click bait site. The worse part of this is this site buried its head on the sand. They try to ignore the real problem even on the amount of evidence this site is gathering. From the leaked SONY contract, to Spotify’s explanation, to music streaming revenue, till the amount of profit 3 major labels are having which they admitted.

      This site wants a SOPA copyright enforcement of the internet, were all of the music that posted arent free. Even the background music that happens that you caught accidentally when you recording a video. This site wants all music streaming to be a paid subscription and youtube to removed safe harbor.

      This site keeps pushing this agenda even though almost in all of the courts in the world the so called piracy always win. The pirate bay founders are now free men and believe it or not the bittorent service is a legit company. Torrent programs arent illegal.

      If they still want to keep pushing this then go. But first since its copyright if what theyre pushing is implemented, they should remove the chart section in the right hand corner. That chart is a copyright property of apple music and its a legit reason to not visit Itunes

    • Armchair Nomad

      Mark Wheatley You’re assuming that all of the artists on Spotify, Pandora and the like are signed to record labels. There are plenty of distribution services that will put your music onto these sites, no label needed. Yes…nonsense. You are right.

    • Anonymous

      You are missing the point. The bottom line is labels are not paying artists and streaming services are offering pennies to the artists

  6. Rickshaw

    That’s $5,679 you didn’t have before. Stop your whining. Those streams didn’t take money away from any other source…that you can prove.

    • dcguzman

      I just want the artists and songwriters to stop whining and start pulling there songs on streaming services including youtube. Just as Taylor Swift with her current album and Prince with his all discography. I want to see the serious consequence this could bring. They dont because they knew the whole industry that they living on will collapse.

      These artists and songwriters are cowards, including the labels theyre under in. If theyre sincere just do it. Pull your songs on Spotify starting with Billy Corgan. Convince your labels to remove your songs on music streaming services especially with freemium ones. Go ahead. We’re grown tired of these shenanigans.

      • BrokeNFamous

        Speaking of YouTube, Does any one know who gets all the money paid by advertisers for the commercials a viewer is forced to watch before streaming their favorite song which many people who don’t own the copyright for illegally upload? That’s a whole other article about another sheisty streaming service.

        • Kim Dylan

          Yeah…I have been wondering about YouTube … all the ad revenue…
          and another thing…how is this settling with Canadian Musicians and songwriters?

        • Donald Markowitz

          As a co- writer of Ive Had the Time of My Life – 1 billion streams. Should I just be happy that people listen so often or what’s a fair amount for a stream on You Tube? Huh Google?

    • Anonymous

      I swear no one in this industry is capable of thinking anymore.

      178 million plays. That’s a lot. That means that song was listened to 178 million times. For a song of this scale, that’s probably about 1 day of national terrestrial radio play. Did this “co-writer” make $5,679 per day from terrestrial radio? I’m guessing not….?

      • Art

        178 million plays? I’m sure their is a correlation between that and the suicide rate in this country. Seriously, how much money did he earn from radio? Pandora is closer to radio than it is to buying an album.

      • Jim

        178 million audience is about a week of radio, not a day, but the basic point is the same. 178 million seems like a lot, it is a lot, but compared to radio, it isn’t.

    • Armchair Nomad

      And @Rickshaw the problem is (not considering the arguments in these comments that this was a misleading article) is that when your song GENERATES hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for the service, a label, CEOs, etc… that the one supplying the content that these services survive on, is the one making the smallest amount of money and barely scraping by. Some of us here don’t feel it’s right that the artists should be at the bottom of the food chain.

    • Ol'Piley

      SO, you’d be fine then if your paycheck were reduced to a tiny percentage prefaced by zeroes instead of the wage you currently enjoy? I think not. It’s so EASY to call him a ‘whiner’ when you don’t have the same hurdles and constraints on your income.
      Let me know WHEN you drop your earnings to a paltry almost insignificant fraction, and are NOT compelled to complain about it, please!!!!

  7. Bingo

    And Just for the record and context. Since Kadish shares the lyrical and composing credits with Trainor, the payout was more to the tune of $11,200.

  8. Menan

    How about the argument that artists make most of their money now from shows and merchandising?

    • Paul Resnikoff

      We’re finding that this is mostly theoretical; leading indie artists like Pomplamoose and Zoe Keating are showing us strong data in the other direction.

    • Armchair Nomad

      So that makes it right that they be ripped off from someone because they are working hard enough in another area to make up the difference?

  9. bob

    – Paul, use embeds instead of screenshots as this comes across phishy in 2016.
    – “…one of the song’s key writers.” – ok, how many others were there? What were the terms of the agreement? pub only or master?
    – Title: “My Song Was Streamed 178 Million Times. I Was Paid $5,679…” – unfortunately, this isn’t HIS song. he was one of several writers and isn’t on the master recording.

  10. Vinny Chase

    Why don’t people on this site ever talk about the actual issue which is the split of compensation between performers and songwriters/composers. At statutory rates, for those spins that recording ACTUALLY paid out like $250,000+. Most of it went to Meghan Trainor’s label which distributed some of that to her directly, SoundExchange and the PROs took their nice little administrative fees (6% and 20% respectively) and then with very little was paid to the songwriter. Why is there not more of an equitable split between performers and writers/composers, etc?

    • Anonymous

      The problem was that he was a co-writer. By the time publishers and other co-writers take their share, a co-writer isn’t going to make much. Period.

    • daniel

      agree, more so i think it is about the deals between the labels one the one side and performers & writers on the other.

      most of the paid out money from streaming goes to the labels for the mechanical license. it’s all deals made between the labels and the streaming services. and i assume the publishers don’t have enough leverage to get a better split for the writers.

      spotify IS paying out money, it just all ends up with the labels/master owners.

    • Bingo

      At statutory rates, for those spins that recording ACTUALLY paid out like $250,000+.

      Thank you! While your 250k number assumes/includes the SE performance compliment…(interactive would be even more to rights holder) it’s a damn site fairer context as to the scale of what’s paid in royalties overall.

      Buy this man a drink!

  11. AL B. FER SURE

    artists will never beat these music companies – from Pandora to PRS, Spotify to SESAC and everything in-between. they’re all lawyered up and ready to bite back should artists try to even growl. time to pound the pavement and head into another industry kiddos. songwriting and making records should be left to the weekend warriors. sad, but true. it’s quickly become a pennies game when everyone was distracted.

    • AL B. FER SURE

      my last sentence is worded a little screwy. but, you get the point. speaking of heading into a new industry, i need to enroll in my local junior college and focus on spelling. TGIF tomorrow.

  12. CasperThe Ghost

    The payment must have been around 22.5k. Out of that he gets 25% as does Trainor and 2 record companies (Sony being one of them). He is paid by ASCAP NOT the streaming service as he would not have any direct deal with them. His issues should be directed at the very people that are ripping him off and not with those he quite clearly has nothing to do with.
    I guess if the streaming company have an agreement with the record company or the publisher then how can they be ripping him off?
    I guess if any streaming company wanted to be bitchy over it they could possibly seek damages for slander…. then his groceries would come from a food bank and hopefully not have internet to keep whinging about nothing. End of rant.

  13. Bingo

    I repeat.

    Why is it that songwriters and journalist outlets like yours reserve their torches and pitchforks solely for streaming services when songwriters receive virtually the same rate from terrestrial radio? How about a little, just a little leg work by asking Kadish or any other songwriters how much they were paid for their tower based listens?

    With respect to leveling playing fields, terrestrial radio has enjoyed a free ride on performance royalties since 1995. The harm done to artists by the free ride that US broadcasters have had for decades is staggering. [guh] 20 years later, it’s a wrong that desperately needs to be righted.

    • Hey F00l

      It’s not terrestrial radio.

      What part of ON Demand do you not understand?

      What part of caching do you not understand?

  14. Logicman

    If the streamers aren’t paying at least a penny a play, the artist is getting ripped off. That would mean that a person could play a song over a hundred times before the listener paid the cost of an Mp3. If that’s too high for their streamer budgets, then they need to raise the cost of streaming services because the math has to make sense on both sides of the equation, not just the total plays to total revenue side.

  15. JTVDigital

    Please stop sharing songwriters complaints, this is misleading and make people think there is a direct connection between songwriters and streaming services payments.
    The problem is within the US regulations mainly and the various layers of complexity brought by decentralized and fragmented rights management workflows.
    Elsewhere, in Europe, we have collecting agencies who more or less do their job, and you won’t hear that many people complaining (there are a lot of issues though, but not that big).

  16. DavidB

    Spotify alone is showing a play count of about 280 million for the song, so the 178 million figure is either out of date or incomplete. Maybe it is just for US streams? Anyway, let’s take 178m as a working figure. Spotify claims to pay out on average about .7 of a cent to rights-holders, of which about 1/6 goes to songwriters/publishers. As a very rough figure let’s say 1/10 of a cent per play. 178m plays would therefore generate about $180,000 for songwriters/publishers. The song was co-written by Kadish and Trainor. We don’t know the royalty split, but assuming 50:50, Kadish’s share would be about $90,000. That would be shared with a publisher, but unless Kadish has a very bad publishing deal he should get at least 50%, making $45,000. Collection agencies also take a cut, but I don’t know how much. As this is just an admin function it really shouldn’t be more than about 10%, so we are still a long way from getting down to $5,679. On the other hand, some of the streams will have been on YouTube, etc, paying lower rates than Spotify.

    Well, that’s what I came up with using publicly available data. There is still a big gap in the figures to be explained, and an opportunity for some enterprising journalist to investigate it more thoroughly.

  17. Crazy Ass X

    That’s a damn good paycheck ; I made nine USD dollars in 12 years — can someone please cut me one of those !

    • DavidB

      The issue is over publishing royalties, which have nothing to do with record labels. Maybe Kadish had a really bad deal with his publishers, or maybe he had a really good deal involving a big advance which he has only just paid off. We don’t know, but it needs further investigation, i.e. real journalistic work, not just taking headlines off the internet and throwing a few superficial comments against them.

  18. albert venti

    This is just like yesterday once more the african american artist who died broke in a Chicago snowstorm…Jelly Roll Morton…this led to the formation of ASCAP and where are they in this issue…

    Plus you artists are so fame brain engaged you dont look at this issue…It sucks but are the Labels really hording the money…The computer side people dont work for free the streaming services take their cut then pay the tech side then the creator is left at the end of the line with bunk…

    Hire a lawyer they are not as expensive as you think…I have been here as a Publisher/legal worker in the publishing world since 1976…

    We always get the bum rap but the artist just wanted to lay around getting high and making money well take responsibility for your career-A few years ago I had a case with a large internet provider they lost to me due to the fact they had all this money and bull but they did not hire a good lawyer…Not a bankruptcy lawyer not a slip and fall lawyer but a copyright/trademark lawyer and they are note expensive as you think they are also California Lawyers for the arts google them…

    So you got 5600 bucks well your part of the problem get up of your dead butt and manage your career and know the ins and outs.

  19. MC

    I placed my cd of music for children (lullabies) on spotify throught CD Baby service about 4 years ago.
    at the beginning iTunes was paying more than spotify.
    now i am earning more than 100$ a month through spotify alone. this month i received 160 $ for July streaming.
    I hope the trend is maintained. the cd has 20 songs, and the top song was streamed about 50.000 times right now. now i have about 100 streams per day for this song alone.

    • MC

      forgot to say that i am a completely independent (and hobbyst) musician, with no label or distribution. I did all by myself (recording, cdbaby upload). i did not even make any promotion. the cd simply started to sell on itunes after i uploaded on cdbaby and, later, on spotify without any advertisement…
      i am still amazed by all the story and by the results.
      from the beginning (4y ago) i made more than 5000$ by online distribution (all included).
      the major income are from itunes and, now, spotify. itunes is going down, i don’t sell as much digital cds as at the beginning: 4y ago i made 100$ per month from cd download from itunes alone. I had the feeling that it decreases after spotify appeared. when spotify started (2-3y ago? don’t remember…) i began making maybe 1$ a month: but this month i got 30$ from itunes and 160$ from spotify.
      the other “signicant” income is from deezer (30-40$ every few months) but herre we are far from both itunes and spotify.

  20. Armchair Nomad

    If Spotify is paying out $.0007 per stream as is claimed, the collective royalties from this track should amount to over $124,000! If the artist got less than $5500 for this, IMO there are quite a few middlemen and thieves that need to be put into the spotlight or cut out of the equation entirely.

  21. Richard Fusco

    Ahhh. The good old when radio played the music, artists toured to promote and fans bought the album.

    By the way, can someone tells us how much ch the labels are making?

  22. Dummy

    I think we should go back to lp’s.
    Don’t make any digital copies.
    Someone will buy them.

    • Sam

      Nothing stopping you doing that.

      See how it works out. Good luck!

  23. MindBlades

    Interesting how SOME people (if it serves their purpose) wish to view song streaming as a different animal than downloading and paying the 99¢ or whatever per song. All anyone has to do is download one of those freeware/shareware programs that record any audio being played on or through your computer speakers making it 100% free to save any song to your computer as an mp3, wav or whatever format you choose. Streaming is basically enabling anyone to record their fav songs for free at any time yet these companies choose to pay the artists less for streaming due to the false idea that streaming doesn’t allow downloading so the artist isnt entitled to a ‘song download’ payment. That’s being incredibly deceptive. I can play any Spotify or ReverbNation stream or any YouTube video, etc.. and simply open an audio recorder program and save/record whatever I’m hearing in the same fidelity as I’m hearing it played. Most people know how to do this and do it all the time. Hence, paying to download ANY SONG online is not necessary any more. So how is such a problem fixed?

    • composer4

      On the Nail MindBlades – On the Nail.

      Can’t wait for the day to come when I can stream a Painting or a Sculpture and just print them off on my future SOTA 3D Printer … for FREE! Come to that, maybe we’ll be able to stream an Electrician or a Plumber for $.0007 and 3D print them too! Then many other talented professions can benefit with great incomes just like Songwriters.

  24. Scott Wilson

    If your song was on CdBaby the song would have generated approximately $.009 per play which works out to about $1.6 million, so someone is spending your money and it is not Spotify.

  25. JustSomeGuy

    What about the question of, “I spent X number of hours writing this song. I was paid $5679.” How big is X? How many $/hour was he effectively paid for his work?

    It’s kind of like a guy who invents a better lightbulb. It took him 1000 hours to develop and he sold the patent for $50,000, so he made about $50/hour. The lightbulb then goes on to sell 500 million copies and makes General Electric, who bought the patent, about a billion dollars.

    “Hey!”, he says, “I got ripped off!”

    No, you got the price you asked for.

    When someone buys a song, they don’t know if it’s a dud or a hit. Contract accordingly. I don’t see the issue here. If current scheme result in writers going off to do some other career then eventually payment schemes will turn around and catch up to the lack of writers.

    As it is, the problem is likely just that there are way too many writers out there and companies see no reason to pay them more. Same reason you don’t pay the cashier at the grocery store $50/hour: because it’s too easy to find someone who will do the same job for less.

  26. Sam

    This is easily one of the worst articles I have ever read.

    You got the entire streaming platform wrong!? What is this? Fisher Price “MY FIRST ANGRY ARTICLE?”

    What’s the breakdown of artist vs. writer vs. label? That might be a good inclusion, if you were not too busy making mistakes on everything else in the article.

    Total dumpster fire of an article. Go back to school.

  27. Sam

    From the Wikipedia page…

    Developed in 2013 by Trainor and American songwriter and producer Kevin Kadish, “All About That Bass” was written in 40 minutes.

    I’d love to be paid more than $5k for 40 minutes work.

  28. 2fs

    Streaming is single-listener. Of course it should be paid less than, say, terrestrial radio, which reaches thousands simultaneously. See

    A million listeners to a single play yielded $95.50. Rounding and multiplying, 178 million listeners would yield about $17,500. So that’s more than $5,679. BUT…I’d argue that the social aspect of radio play is easier to monetize: listeners might talk about the same song they both heard, or call up the station wanting to hear the song again (so another several thousand hear it), etc. Building buzz is easier, in other words. Spotify streamers are (despite the baby social-network half-baked in to Spotify) almost entirely isolated.

  29. Scott Wilson

    “The rate for commercial subscription services in 2016 is $0.0022 per-performance. The rate for commercial nonsubscription services in 2016 is $0.0017 per-performance.”

    If this scenario is correct then the total streaming royalty for songwriters/publishers for this song would be $302,600 – $391,600 for 178 million plays.

    If this royalty rate is incorrect please let me know what it is. That figure is 20% of the total rate for a stream, which for Spotify is $.009 per stream (via CdBaby).

  30. Doctor Moebius

    For 178,000,000 stream, $5700 means he gets a buck for every 31,228 times it’s played.
    That sounds fair. (not)
    The answer? Stop buying music, stop listening to music, and stop watching tv and videos. Stop corporate greed by not buying their crap. Let them choke on it.

  31. Guy

    sounds like bad distribution. Even my lowest streams are worth £0.001, which would be £178,000. Highest earning streams are almost 0.004, which would be £712,000

  32. Filip Winther

    So, according to my calculations, her share is probably only 1% of the royalties? Isn’t that just bad negotiation? Because the total amount of royalties from 178 million streams on Spotify should be AT LEAST around $560k.