A recent article by veteran US indie musician, Damon Krukowski (formerly of Galaxie 500) highlights the paucity of remuneration to artists from the popular internet radio-on-demand services Spotify and Pandora. While it has been common knowledge for some time—a well-circulated 2010 infographic calculated that an artist would need more than 4 million plays on Spotify to earn the minimum US monthly wage—the disconnect between music streamed from the cloud and money in an artist’s pocket has usually been demonstrated in hypotheticals. Instead, Krukowski generously opens the books on his own music with hard data one of from his former band’s best known tracks.
My BMI royalty check arrived recently, reporting songwriting earnings from the first quarter of 2012, and I was glad to see that our music is being listened to via these services. Galaxie 500’s ‘Tugboat’, for example, was played 7,800 times on Pandora that quarter, for which its three songwriters were paid a collective total of 21 cents, or seven cents each. Spotify pays better: For the 5,960 times ‘Tugboat’ was played there, Galaxie 500’s songwriters went collectively into triple digits: $1.05 (35 cents each).
It’s one thing to talk hypothetically. It’s quite another to see nearly 8,000 ‘plays’ of an actual song valued at less than local phone call. Continue Reading →