Music streaming services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora, and Napster are sharing your music with the masses — and you haven’t had to do a thing to make it happen. And that’s great, right? People are hearing your songs and you’re getting paid every time they do. What’s not to like?
Unlike music downloading services such as iTunes and Amazon, which pay artists and other content owners a prescribed royalty per download, streaming services do not pay a prescribed royalty per stream. In fact, the amount they pay per stream varies from virtually nothing (as low as $0.002) to hardly anything (as high as $0.008). In short, a song or album might be streamed 200 times or more before it generates the equivalent of a single download in revenue to the artist.
What is going on?
Well, artists have no input into the compensatory models of music streaming services. Services are, in fact, paying artists whatever they wish to. As crazy as it sounds — imagine paying whatever you wish for, say, a loaf of bread — artists have no way to set or negotiate the price of the licenses they grant to music streaming services.
And now they are stuck with crumbs.
We all remember when the audience shared free music files, willy-nilly, over the Web. Now the benefits of piracy — distribution without compensation — have been transferred to the hands of corporate interests.
Heard this one before?