Streaming Now Pays More Than iTunes

Services like Spotify are now paying more than individual downloads in some regions. But do the artists get paid enough?

Streaming Now Pays More Than iTunes
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The chairman of the largest group of independent labels in Europe says more than half of their royalties now come from streaming services. It follows recent news that 57% of music revenue in Sweden, the home of Spotify, is from streaming, confirming the vast growth that subscription services have seen in a few short years. Beggars Group represents significant independent labels including 4AD, Matador and XL Recordings. Their chairman Martin Mills told the Telegraph that streaming has now overtaken digital downloads, allowing users to experience new music in a "friction-less" way which makes them more likely to experiment and delve into artists' back catalogues. Some of our catalogue artists earn more from streams than downloads of individual tracks [or] any other format, he said. Physical [releases are] still important to us but the lesson we learned over last few years is that you have to strike a balance between giving people what they want on the one hand and actually being a business [and charging for content]. Spotify paid more than $180m to musicians last year, and is currently on track to double that figure to $360m this year. Almost one quarter of its 15 million users pay a monthly subscription fee, which in the US is $5 per month for unlimited ad-free access or $10 for additional mobile access. However, the company has been criticised for paying artists a relatively small share of its earnings. Observers are quick to blame Spotify when it is in fact record labels who pocket the difference, but the company refuses to share a breakdown of how its royalties are split between itself, the labels and its shareholders. Several of its early backers were major labels, which may give them a significant slice of the pie. What do you think of Spotify's success? Is it great that streaming helps reduce piracy, or is it just another way to line the pockets of major labels? What about the quality of streaming compared to CDs? Share your view in the comments.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    CaptainDan748
    Even if I own the album I still just stream it on Spotify if I'm on my shitty pc speakers. The quality doesn't matter much and maybe I make the artist $.01 or something.
    CommanderMeaty
    I think it's a good news but I know some friends musicians don't doesn't win much per listen but I think labels are to blame
    vinnym86
    IMO, nothing beats Vinyl I still buy CD's if I like the album enough. Otherwise, Google Music and Pandora is where it's at!
    herr.larsson
    Spotify is great, an easy way to find music and create playlists. alot of artist and labels.
    guitarist41
    Spychosis wrote: crappy audio compared to physical stuff
    I think that's the trick the industry should use: make music freely available to stream, but not 100% sound quality. People will eventually just buy the songs.
    themuddman
    I used to like spotify alot, but there is WAY too much intrusive advertisments. Why would i pay just to get rid of advertisments!? Im glad some places sell cds cheap.
    axeslinger0u812
    $30 Jordan's! Smh... Anyway, I like how other companies are supporting the streaming movement. Pandora on directv is pretty awesome, through the surround speakers. It's amazing how obvious this move was, but the record companies fought it for so long.
    Lagunaguitar
    i use spotify to primarily create and share playlists. the occasional time i stream and i like it, i will buy the album. in other words, EVERY song in a playlist is a "local track" then i put those songs on my android
    Spychosis
    Cool. The evolution of the industry here. I stream most music myself; crappy audio compared to physical stuff, but I buy the CDs for the music that benefits from being hi-fi. Most music is fine at streaming quality. Tis a good thing here.
    todd6138
    I have loved imesh from the moment I bought its service. I get to listen to all kinds of new music except the ones record labels deny and then I can buy hard copy CDs of the ones I like. Whats to hate?
    EpiExplorer
    Why not just make streaming more expensive, then let everyone have better quality sounds like wav or flac formats? Seriously, its ridiculous when you notice the difference.
    BradTheBluefish
    axeslinger0u812 wrote: It's amazing how obvious this move was, but the record companies fought it for so long.
    Now they are bashing each other's heads asking "why didn't we just let this happen?".
    theunforgivn
    I love spotify, in fact I'm listening to music on it right now. The only problem is some artists don't have any (or very little) of their music on it, or it's shitty covers or remixes (record labels to blame I believe). For instance, it's completely void of Tool. However I can add local files, so I guess that makes up for it.
    LightxGrenade
    theunforgivn wrote: I love spotify, in fact I'm listening to music on it right now. The only problem is some artists don't have any (or very little) of their music on it, or it's shitty covers or remixes (record labels to blame I believe). For instance, it's completely void of Tool. However I can add local files, so I guess that makes up for it.
    Haha same here dude, I had to dig through my old cd collection for some Tool and Led Zep to put on my spotify. But then they have things that are pretty rare and that I can NEVER find at record stores like Robert Johnson, Estradasphere, and some Joe Pass albums. Another thing I like is that you can also listen to comedy albums. I must look insane walking down the street laughing to myself while I listen to Louis CK lol.
    kratos379
    I looked it up and for each song listened to on Spotify, the artist makes $0.004. They literally make less than a penny for each song listened to. I do really appreciate that I can listen to so much music and be exposed to much more than before, but I think now I'm going to buy albums that I really enjoy listening to on Spotify just to support those bands. It's also nice just having the album. If Testament's new album is any indication, artwork is an incredible thing to have on hand.
    Ahteh
    kratos379 wrote: I looked it up and for each song listened to on Spotify, the artist makes $0.004. They literally make less than a penny for each song listened to. I do really appreciate that I can listen to so much music and be exposed to much more than before, but I think now I'm going to buy albums that I really enjoy listening to on Spotify just to support those bands. It's also nice just having the album. If Testament's new album is any indication, artwork is an incredible thing to have on hand.
    I've heard lots of different numbers and chances are terms differ between artists and labels. I wouldn't take those stats to seriously. That said I agree artists should get a bigger slice. Hopefully we're moving towards a music biz where labels mean less and less.