… WITH STREAMING SERVICES WHO DON’T PAY US ENOUGH
“I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
Before you start sarcastically playing the tiniest sad violin in the world for a poor little rich girl who just happened to have a new album to shill that week, be aware that all artists whose music is featured on Spotify or other streaming services receive a paltry $0.006 to $0.0084 (i.e. 3/500ths to 21/2500ths of a US dollar) per play of their song. Plus, when Taylor Swift has got somebody bang to rights then they should know they’re making a horrible mistake with their strategy. By deliberately gaming this system with an album of short silent tracks (Sleepify), the band Vulfpeck still only made about $4 per person per day even when their fans colluded in playing the silent tracks all night, every night until Spotify realised what was happening and kicked them off. Spotify claims 70% of revenue goes to “rights holders”, but this is a slippery argument because the rights holder isn’t necessarily the musician.
Likewise, an official partner of YouTube earns between $2.50 and $5 per thousand views, with only the most popular YT stars making the top whack. An upper band YT partner who managed a very creditable ten thousand views would make a pathetic $50. A million views– which sometimes happens accidentally but is not easy to do on purpose– nets you $5,000 (about €4.000 or £3,200). This might seem like a lot until you realise how few million-plus videos there are on YouTube compared to the morass of other content, how notoriously fickle and volatile the internet’s lumpenproletariat is, how long it may take to creep over a million views, and how rarely any one independent creator consistently churns them out unless they have the resources of a traditional media organisation behind them and can afford to devote themselves to it full time.