I recently had some attention on facebook with a post about my “Spotify” royalties:
I got my royalties statement for the quarter, and, for the first time, one of my old pop tracks had been played on Spotify. It had been played 99 times for a total of 2.2 cents. So, assuming a linear scale, an artist would need 45,000 plays to make $10.
I think I understand the complaints about how artist are compensated on streaming services now.
These tracks were songs I wrote 12 or 13 years ago while bassist for the band Mrs. Skannotto, who are enjoying continued success (and, I guess, some streaming music play). Thankfully, I’m not financially dependent on these royalties as a source of income, but it does make me a little annoyed to think that someone probably pulled in a lot more money than 2.2 cents for the 99 plays of this song, and it’s unlikely that the band saw much more of this than I did.
This discussion of artist compensation on streaming services is far from new, with musicians like Thom Yorke removing albums from various streaming services last summer:
..and questions have been raised about how independent artists are compensated as early as two years ago.
Looking at my royalties statement, however, it seems that these discussions haven’t really led anywhere yet. We should all continue force the conversation about this question, though, especially as streaming services seem to be taking over as the primary means of music consumption.
While a pipe dream, I like Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal’s idea in the comic linked below: