Last.fm Starts Paying Royalties To Unsigned Bands

Online music service Last.fm today announced that it will start paying out royalties to unsigned and independent bands that upload their music to last.fm.

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Online music service Last.fm today announced that it will start paying out royalties to unsigned and independent bands that upload their music to last.fm. Artists will earn royalties whenever their music is played on-demand, or on Last.fm's streaming radio service. Last.fm had first announced this in January, but it took until today for Last.fm to officially start up its Artist Royalty Program.

According to Last.fm, artists have uploaded close to half a million tracks since the program was first announced. When uploading a song, all artists can choose to opt into the Royalty Program.

So far, Last.fm has been completely ad-supported, though a premium subscription service is currently in beta. Judging from the payout schedule, however, artists will need a lot of plays on Last.fm to make a reasonable amount from the program. On the other hand, though, MySpace pays out royalties to the major labels, but doesn't pay any royalties to unsigned bands on its site.

Not everybody seems to be happy about this announcement from Last.fm, though. Merlin, the "world's first global rights body for independent music," which represents close to 8% of the US music market, has issued a statement to its roughly 12,000 members, telling them that Last.fm has failed to address its concerns about copyright infringement on Last.fm. Merlin also argues that the license terms of the Royalties Program are too ambiguous.

Regardless of Merlin's objections, though, Last.fm's step to start paying out royalties should be applauded, as it gives musicians yet another way to make money outside of the mainstream music business. While the Royalty Program is limited only to Last.fm and doesn't collect royalties from various sources in the way SoundExchange would, Last.fm is giving musicians an alternative to the more traditional revenue models, which should prove to be especially appealing to smaller, still unknown bands.

Thanks for the info to Readwriteweb.com.

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

    wtfwasthat
    how the hell can you complain about them giving you money for something they wouldn't have given you money for before hand?
    Sound Mind
    sottpwn wrote: I love Last.fm. It's what Myspace should be.
    If you think about it, Myspace wasn't made for musicians.
    Set-Abominae
    That's very considerate of them. They're showing some class by supporting unsigned bands.
    yerdumb666
    so if radiohead (most popular band on last.fm) were to get royalties for all their plays...they would have 5000something dollars. im sure thats a lot to them.
    alaub1491
    Its a cool idea. Who cares if you make no money? You dont have to pay for last fm. Their just trying to say they respect you and your music.
    uhh_me?
    pretty neat start, but it would be nice if the amount were a tad higher. checked.
    Cafas
    I can't believe people are complaining about making money for doing nothing. No, it's not a lot of money, but it's still free money. If you don't suck at writing songs, this shouldn't be a problem.
    MudaFoka
    Every article here is so biased. Gawd damn guys, just report the facts; stop including your opinions!
    boxcar_smasher
    last.fm is pretty much one of the best music finding sites i've ever seen. it's insane the number of bands that are on that website
    dgme92
    I freaking love Last.fm, it's a great site for music. Fairly easy to use, and has the best of both mainstream and unsigned
    Covin
    LifesSweetDrug wrote: It's about time they got paid Last.fm rules, the legal way to find new music
    amen!!
    JRowe3388
    Oh, wait. I got ahead of myself and forgot to read the rest. last.fm is a great website. Without it, I never would have gotten into some of the bands I like now.
    goo94
    JRowe3388 wrote: Oh, wait. I got ahead of myself and forgot to read the rest. last.fm is a great website. Without it, I never would have gotten into some of the bands I like now.
    same here, its a brilliant site!
    frankv
    Awesome move. I hope more bands will upload entire albums in response. :p
    Armagedn
    Sweetness. I'll upload my band's music on there and tell all of our fans to listen to it. I still like Pandora better, though.
    kmbuchamushroom
    Hopefully people don't start taking advantage of this and setting computers scrobbling their stuff all the time, that would compromise this cool idea.
    Zida
    oh man- i loved pandora but then the new law kept them from offering their service to canadians. way to go government.
    LifesSweetDrug
    Zida wrote: oh man- i loved pandora but then the new law kept them from offering their service to canadians. way to go government.
    Same here in the UK, and they wander why we file share.
    Amitio
    Absent Mind wrote: Erm $0.0005 a play? Yeah thats worth it...
    2000 plays and you have a $1. so to get a $500 guitar i need 1 million plays. I think ill get a job!
    TranquilNight
    Cafas wrote: I can't believe people are complaining about making money for doing nothing. No, it's not a lot of money, but it's still free money. If you don't suck at writing songs, this shouldn't be a problem.
    For doing nothing? It's for all the hard work that was put into making the music.