Sentences to ponder (who’s next?)

by on November 15, 2012 at 2:30 am in Economics, Music | Permalink

…by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us [Galaxie 500] the profit of one– one– LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.)

Oh, and there’s more:

Pandora and Spotify are not earning any income from their services, either. In the first quarter of 2012, Pandora– the same company that paid Galaxie 500 a total of $1.21 for their use of “Tugboat”– reported a net loss of more than $20 million dollars. As for Spotify, their latest annual report revealed a loss in 2011 of $56 million.

The full story is here, interesting throughout, and for the pointer I thank HL.

Ted M. November 15, 2012 at 3:28 am

Spotify/Pandora/Grooveshark/etc do also serve one key purpose, which is squeezing some money out of songs that otherwise might very well be pirated. Piracy is popular because it’s free and it’s convenient – you have the songs, you can edit them, you can burn them, you can share them, etc.

Services like Spotify (especially with their various apps) provide good reason to listen to their stored music, especially since it leads you to easily discover new music, and all without too much more inconvenience than just pirating an album – their commercials are really pretty rare. Plus, you can still share easily.

Essentially, especially from the point of view of the big records, if the options are: squeeze tiny amounts of money from consumers via streaming, or no money due to piracy, then the streaming still makes sense as an option.

John Thacker November 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

The author mentions at the end of his piece that his band streams their songs for free on their own website. Given that that’s the case, and the band thinks that makes sense for them, I don’t quite understand why he’s complaining about the low amount of money from Pandora and Spotify. Presumably he would complain about the even lower amount of money per radio listener songwriters and artists get for radio plays.

mulp November 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm

By streaming their music on their site, they get to promote their tour on their site according to their interests, and get to market to their fans on their terms for their own profits whatever products they have like LPs with cover art.

I bet they make more off their website than $1.21 in ticket, LP, and T-shirt sales,…

If they could control the ads and such when they were being played on spotify and pandora they would be more supportive.

Dan Weber November 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

I don’t quite understand why he’s complaining about the low amount of money from Pandora and Spotify

In an interview on Marketplace (on NPR), he insisted he wasn’t complaining and he loves the services. The article sure doesn’t feel that way to me, so maybe he regrets some of the attention he got, or we’re both massively misreading him.

Andrew' November 15, 2012 at 3:33 am

Why should people make a lot of money on something easy to copy that costs them nothing to reproduce? I get the “because you can” part, but you can’t anymore.

If something gets 3700 plays, maybe you should be paying me to listen to it and rate it?

Rahul November 15, 2012 at 6:46 am

I think his complaining is a bit silly; the real money he makes is probably from concerts, tours and merchandise. Pandora only serves to give him “ears”; how many people who’d never otherwise ever hear of them now do?

Of course, only popular bands get the touring money but if you were some unknown trio how many LP’s could you sell back in the day anyways?

khalido November 15, 2012 at 3:34 am

Online streaming doesn’t make much money yet – but spotify only has a few million customers, out of which I presume a small percentage pay 10 dollars a month – at some point when the whole world switches to the cloud you’ll have a billion plus people streaming music and other things and presumably paying microcents for everything.

Plus the whole social good thing – humanity gets access to all the music everywhere. There’s probably a good argument to just put up all media online and let musicians make money from concerts and private shows and whatever else they made money a few centuries ago.

JWatts November 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

“out of which I presume a small percentage pay 10 dollars a month”

The $10 per month is the problem. I listen to both Spotify and Pandora at work, occasionally. It’s not worth $10/month to me. If they demanded money, I would just switch over to my iTunes library. There really should be a less costly option. If they charged $12 for a year, I’d pay for that without any complaint.

Secondly, if I do hear a song I want to purchase, I buy it through iTunes not Spotify or Pandora. It’s easier for me to keep all of my music purchases with one vendor. So, assuming others follow the same practice, the band is probably seeing an increase in sales from iTunes and Amazon due to people listening on Spotify/Pandora. Of course that sucks for Spotify and Pandora.

stq November 16, 2012 at 1:43 am

This is the real problem: People want to pay old-media prices for new-media content. People are accustomed to getting music for free on ad-supported radio, but they also want to be able to replay songs infinitely, take them to the gym, etc.

$10/month is a trivial cost to anyone who has any job. If you’re satisfied with ads in your content, great. But don’t pretend that any business could survive at $12/year or that you don’t spend more on Zynga credits, coffee drinks, dress socks, or any other frivolity you enjoy less regularly.

Nikki November 15, 2012 at 3:44 am

If you use online radio as a promotional tool and rely mainly on live gigs for profit, does exposure on Pandora etc. still not pay for itself?

Also, this: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/music_industry

prior_approval November 15, 2012 at 4:22 am

And SoundExchange ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SoundExchange ) takes 50% straight off the top (at least according to one public figure intimately involved in handling the process for a radio station/streaming broadcaster), thus further demonstrating that the music middleman always gets the money.

‘You may recall that nearly a decade ago, people began to question why SoundExchange, the RIAA spinoff created to collect satellite and internet broadcasting royalties, was allowed to keep any of the money for artists it couldn’t find. That resulted in some controversy, when people realized that it was sitting on over $100 million and suggesting it might keep the money for a big list of artists it couldn’t find. After much uproar, SoundExchange backed down, and said that it wasn’t, in fact, keeping the money. And, to its credit, in the past few years, SoundExchange has been very good about working a variety of angles to get artists signed up to get the money they’re owed from such webcasting royalties (such as those Pandora was just talking about).

However, some artists still aren’t signing up — and SoundExchange is apparently giving people something of an ultimatum, in which they hint at the fact that, you know, if they wanted to they absolutely could just keep the money.

Register by Oct. 15 as you may risk losing any royalties collected three (3) or more years ago by SoundExchange.

SoundExchange is authorized by law to release older unclaimed royalties to offset our costs and distribute proportionally to those we already pay. We have repeatedly held off on doing this, but we need your help to spread the word and get recording artists and record labels to register.

As some have noticed there are some pretty big names on the “unclaimed” list. Swedish House Mafia, N.W.A., Billy Bob Thornton, Sublime, Fleetwood Mac, Rebecca Black, Louis CK, Grandmaster Flash, The Byrds, Charlie Sheen, Brother Ali… and a bunch of others. I’m pretty surprised that Rebecca Black and Louis CK haven’t figured this out yet… but there’s one name on the list that is stunning: Gene Simmons. Simmons is famous for being focused almost entirely on getting money, even to the point of saying that artists should sue their fans. You’d think that somewhere along the line he’d notice that he should register with SoundExchange to get what’s owed to him.’

http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?company=soundexchange

And a bit of previous SoundExchange lore –

‘The EFF’s Fred von Lohman is noticing that SoundExchange, the RIAA spinoff group in charge of collecting and distributing royalties from satellite radio and webcasting, is having trouble finding certain artists they owe money to. That might not be that surprising, if the artists were obscure. However, included on the list are a fair number of pretty well-known, major label artists that they absolutely should be able to reach — especially since SoundExchange has members of all the major labels on its board. It’s worth noting, of course, that if SoundExchange “can’t find” these artists to give them their money, it gets to keep the money for itself. The recording industry always likes to set itself up as doing what it does for the best interest of the artists — and politicians and members of the press often present the RIAA as representing musicians. Doing things this blatant doesn’t help the record labels convince anyone that their position is in support of musicians, and it seems like it’s about time that people stop letting the labels present themselves as taking any position for the sake of the same musicians they apparently don’t want to pay.’

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060921/192446.shtml

mulp November 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

At three years, this sounds more like a requirement to turn unclaimed funds over to the State in which they operate or are incorporated – no State will allow $100 million in unclaimed funds to go unclaimed when they can be held in possible perpetuity by the State treasurer for the claimant.

Gunnar Tveiten November 15, 2012 at 5:04 am

Why are online streaming-services always compared to LP-prices, and not to the much-more-similar in usage-pattern *radio* ? May it be because one person that buys a LP has always paid several orders of magnitude more than the copyright-holders have gotten from one listener on radio ?

If a million people hear your song on the radio, once, how much money do you get ? How does that amount compare with the money you get if one million people buy your LP ?

David November 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

I came here to say this, so I will just add that in my own use of Pandora, the service serves as a sort of audio billboard alerting me to new or different music that I may care to purchase or catch live at a local venue. Maybe a relevant analog is to see what Louis CK is doing with his own direct sales…there are many free clips of Louis on YouTube, and when people go to learn more about him, they can buy whole shows directly from the man himself, and for a reasonable cost.

aaron November 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

Pandora is more of a radio equivalent in that you don’t have total control of what song you hear next, but I thought Spotify was basically like a really huge record collection in the cloud, no? If I want to listen to Galaxie 500 right now, I can either buy their LP for $11.99, or listen to it on Spotify for essentially nothing.

Vivian Darkbloom November 15, 2012 at 5:44 am

Too bad. Galaxie 500 was started and headed up by Dean Wareham, a Harvard grad, who later formed Luna. And, the price appears to be right.

vivian Darkbloom November 15, 2012 at 5:50 am

Just to be clear, Galaxie 500 and Luna were both great bands. “The price appears to be right” is meant in the colloquial sense of “cheap”. My guess and hope is that the band and songwriters earned more on the CD’s I’ve purchased of these two groups is far more than they received from Pandora.

CB November 15, 2012 at 7:55 am

It seems recorded music has become just an excuse to get your atttention long enough enough to try and sell you some other product or service that can’t be digitally copied – using ads. The no ad paid subscriptions largely get absorbed by the host, soundexchange fees and publishers. Yet youtube has become the streaming equivalent of napster only with a little ad revenue sharing potential (or requiring individual takedown notices for removal.) Mick Jagger noted that recorded music was only ever lucrative for artists for about a 25 year period around 1975-2000.

Bryan Larsen November 15, 2012 at 8:35 am

I believe that the streaming music market is going to be *much* larger in a few years than it is today, and due to the interconnected social nature of the business, it’s going to be largely winner takes all.

That’s why there’s such a rush for capital, such a rush to acquire those early adopters, the influencers. A few years from now people will join the service that their friends use, so they can listen to the same music that their friends do, the music that the people they trust recommend.

As for money, it will come. I currently spend $120/year on streaming music. It’s probably been 15 years since I ever spent that much on music. I’m in the minority now, but I believe that in a few years time, a large portion of the internet connected populace in the western world will also. But that was back when teens & twenties spent a lot of money on music. They don’t do that anymore, but I imagine they won’t mind spending $10/month to easily have the music they want, and perhaps more importantly be part of the same music ecosystem as their peers.

The big question is who will get that money. That’s why what happens now is important.

bluto November 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

I’ve always found it odd that some ISP hasn’t simply bought a record company or two and then used the hook of free stream/downloads of the entire catalog as a major competitve advantage. Allocate $1-2/sub as music revenue and they’d be drowning in money. Even sadder that TimeWarner already owns both and hasn’t thought of this.

rluser November 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

It is not clear that they have not thought of it. Consider SHOUTcast.

rkw November 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

If a college campus had an affinity program or group discount on a streaming service, would it cut down on filesharing piracy? Spotify (paid) is a lot less hassle than piracy.

Dan Weber November 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

MIT was setting up something like this, but I’m too lazy to google it for more details.

Paul November 15, 2012 at 9:07 am

This article tries to make you think the artist is getting ripped off, but a closer look at the numbers suggest that his music is just not that popular. He is upset that he got paid virtually nothing for a track that was played 5,960 times in a quarter. (“almost 6,000 times!” we are meant to imagine)

That sounds like a lot but it is tiny. When I used to buy music CDs, I would listen to each at least 10 times, and many a whole lot more. If there are 10 tracks per CD, then that’s a minimum of 100 tracks per CD. So by playing a song 6,000 times on spotify, he has sold the equivalent of 60 music CDs this quarter. If a record company financed an album that sold 60 copies, they would also not be making very much money.

Spotify and Pandora’s listener counts must be close to 100 million. The listen count on a track with any measure of success is going to be several orders of magnitude about the 6,000 the author is whinging about. If the math in the article scales, a track that get’s played 5 million times (say, 10 times each by half a million listeners, which is hardly outrageously popular) will earn the artist $5,000. Then add a few more good tracks, listens from other services, some merchandise sales and concerts, and you can get to an artist’s income.

Is my math wrong, or is this a case of an unpopular artist complaining that he’s not that popular?

jult52 November 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

Paul – Thanks for quantifying this but I believe the issue remains due to fixed costs and the fact that the record industry used to see rapidly increasing profits above some break-even rate. To be clear, most releases don’t make much money below a certain unit sales number, but once they break above that sales number, the release becomes hugely profitable.

So let’s say that Galaxie 500 tracks weren’t played about 6000 times but actually 6,000,000 times a quarter, which I think we agree would represent significant marketplace success. According to the bandmember’s quote, then Galaxie 500 would receive about $1,000 for that quarter. I think we can agree that is a paltry return for the band – it isn’t a living at all!

The sheer lack of size in these revenue numbers point to the way digital distribution is destroying the economics of the music business. Let’s get past the gloating about how galaxie 500 isn’t very popular or the record labels used to rip off their artists (both are true) and see that we are in a new age where musicmaking – even pretty successful musicmaking – doesn’t pay the bills. It’s a problem.

John Thacker November 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

According to the bandmember’s quote, then Galaxie 500 would receive about $1,000 for that quarter. I think we can agree that is a paltry return for the band – it isn’t a living at all!

According to the bandmember’s article, if Galaxie 500′s songs were collectively 1,000 times as popular, it would receive above $1,000 for that quarter in songwriting royalties for “Tugboat” (not clear how much he’d receive for the other songs, is “Tugboat” alone a relative smash hit?), and $64,000 in artist royalties for all the songs.

That sounds like more of a living.

jult52 November 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm

That’s a good point. And Spotify’s reimbursement rate (different from Pandora’s) would pay the band about $30k for the quarter, which is pretty decent. Note that Pandora is lobbying to reduce the reimbursement rate as the article discusses and you mention in one of your other posts.

Elsewhere, John, you justly note that the band is giving away the music for free on their own website. That’s obviously inconsistent with their complaints in the article.

I think the takeaway from the article and the discussion here at MR is that the economics of recordings have collapsed and that touring won’t make up the shortfall. That’s the issue here, whatever the logic the artists themselves apply to the problem.

John Thacker November 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

I think, as Gunnar Tveiten notes above, that the problem is that he’s exclusively comparing Pandora and Spotify to LPs, instead of comparing them to profits available from radio. I don’t know if this is because his band doesn’t get any radio airtime, or simply because he’s being a bit disingenuous. The Internet Radio Fairness Act would charge the same for Pandora as it does for radio now– so presumably he considers the standard radio airplay rates just as “Orwellian.” The proper comparison for LPs should be purchasing songs on iTunes or Amazon MP3, no?

He’s also possibly making a bad comparison because in the first figure, he’s counting only the songwriting royalties, whereas the LP profit for the band presumably includes both their compensation for singer and songwriter (since the band is made of singer-songwriters, I assume that they don’t divide the LP profits.) So even if one made this comparison, it should be based on the total artist+songwriter royalties from Pandora and Spotify, not the songwriting one alone.

Then at the end he notes that they’re streaming all the songs for free on their own sites. Which is fine, but clearly if it makes sense to do that to spread awareness, then it makes sense to have Pandora and Spotify stream the songs as well. The pittance that the two services pay are lagniappe on top of the exposure, assuming that his own free streaming is worth it.

I suspect that a similar analysis of radio in general, pre-Internet, would show similar figures of the huge artists on Top 40 lists doing much better than more niche bands. I don’t think that Internet streaming changes this– except inosofar as it makes streaming/radio-like rental consumption of music more popular than owning it.

prognostication November 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

Folks: please stop kidding yourselves that musicians make a sustainable living on touring. To the extent that anyone is making a sustainable income on touring, it mostly involves some combination of: 1) playing very large venues with thousands of seats, which many great artists will never be able to do; and/or 2) being married, and relying on their spouse’s income and health insurance to help make the enterprise sustainable.

No matter how you do the math, the new paradigm greatly reduces the likelihood that any given band will ever produce enough income to not require outside income sources. Piracy is still rampant; it’s not really a valid objection to say someone is “only” selling X copies or “only” getting X plays. First, because streaming and download services have pushed music into an a per-song consumption model, which for most people means that they don’t listen to entire albums, even though it makes much more sense for a band to make albums, because there is a fixed cost component to recording costs and because the acceptable markup for physical media is much higher in the full length album format. Second, because piracy in various continues to depress legitimate consumption. I can see a Galaxie 500 track on YouTube with over 100,000 plays in the past two years. Think they’re getting anything for that?

John Thacker November 15, 2012 at 9:44 am

I can see a Galaxie 500 track on YouTube with over 100,000 plays in the past two years. Think they’re getting anything for that?

I do not. I also believe that Galaxie 500 is not getting anything for the free streaming that they offer on their own website. From the article:

Which is why we are streaming all of our recordings, completely free, on the Bandcamp sites we set up for Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi. Enjoy.

It strikes me as odd that they’d attack the pittance from Pandora / Spotify / radio (radio is attacked implicitly since it has even lower rates, though perhaps its omission is important as it would weaken his point somehow), but still stream freely on their own sites. I’d like to read a defense of why this makes sense to them. I suppose there’s a bit of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” but it still seems odd to complain about someone paying you for something that you’re willing to give away for free.

Rahul November 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

So we should endure the whole album even though there’s only one song in there worth listening? It used to be that we had no option; but now that we can afford to be selective what’s wrong with that?

jult52 November 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

“So we should endure the whole album even though there’s only one song in there worth listening? It used to be that we had no option; but now that we can afford to be selective what’s wrong with that?”

Because it decimates the economics of musicmaking, leading to less of it in the future? Because I don’t believe you (or myself for that matter) can tell instantly what is worth hearing in a set of songs and that it takes time and repeated listening to absorb a work of art?

I know there is no going back to yesterday and digital distribution is here to stay, but as a passionate music fan, I have to be disturbed by what’s happening to the economics of musicmaking and what it means to the future of the artform. To do otherwise is Panglossian.

John Thacker November 15, 2012 at 9:40 am

The thing that I would take away from it is that this has always happened for radio, but this may be evidence that Internet streaming isn’t really enough to help the tail of the distribution succeed, even allowing more choice than radio and even with fewer fixed costs than LP and CD production.

Live in-person performances are one thing where it’s difficult to scale beyond a certain point, and thus there’s both inefficiencies but also less of a winner-take-all, just as in live in-person teaching. Both of these things naturally lead us to Alex’s excellent essay on online education, as we consider whether online music is like online education and efficient but rewards a smaller number of skilled winners.

The obvious similarity to Alex’s paper is, I assume, why Tyler put the parenthetical “who’s next?” in the post title.

Turkey Vulture November 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

I assumed Tyler had just listened to Who’s Next on Spotify.

Careless November 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm

First live got the song
And that was good
Cause they love peace and brotherhood
Then albums got the song
But that’s OK
The balance of power’s maintained that way
Who-s next?
Radio got the song
But don’t you grieve
Because they’re on our side
(I believe)
Napster got the song
But have no fear
They can’t wipe us out for at least five years
Who’s next?

Careless November 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Great, stripped the formatting. Also, “motherhood_

lords of lies November 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

“by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us [Galaxie 500] the profit of one– one– LP sale.”

cry me a river. hard to get worked up over the financial travails of quasi-rock stars. do people realize what motivates men to form bands and play on stage? they do it all for the nookie. the girls they get couldn’t give a rat’s ass how little they make from pandora plays. this is why there continues to be a steady stream of aspiring young men throwing caution and their bank accounts to the wind in hopes of becoming the next indie flavor of the month.

Sam November 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

+1
Exactly. We shouldn’t reason from the price that musicians are selling their music. What matters is whether there is quantity/quality music in the market. Music production is extremely high despite low profitability. Arguing for higher prices is implicitly arguing that there’s a shortage of good music in the world, when that’s patently not the case. As you said, the rewards of being a musician are mostly non-monetary and involve signalling and status — either that, or the kinds of people who become musicians are systematically worse arbitrageurs than the rest of us.

mulp November 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

But is the quality/innovation as high as it was in 1969? 1979?

I admit to having become totally disconnected from contemporary music after the “clear channel” revolution eliminated “progressive” radio and made music either all about the ads and 50s, all about the ads and 60s, all about the ads and disco, all about the ads and rap, … I could take the ads when they were for local businesses that tried to get with the listener demographic….

But, are there current artists who will be as iconic as the Beatles, Stones, Who, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Cream, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin in 50 years? If you say “yes”, I will take your word for it. I note that a TV show promo featured a Zeppelin cut and stated the next episode would feature Zeppelin themes; maybe they are trying for the 55-65 demographic, but I doubt it.

lords of lies November 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm

the era of the long-lasting arena rock band with scores of top ten hits is over for four reasons:

1. the low-hanging fruit of novel guitar riffs has been picked clean. it’s just much harder now to compose more than one or two catchy tunes that don’t blatantly rip off songs from the past, autotune to the contrary notwithstanding. how many ways can the twelve-note scale be arranged? depressingly, there may be a limit. plus, the ready availability and replayability of forty year old rock songs means that current artists can’t plagiarize the past without getting called on it. this was perhaps not so much the case for past artists, who could safely crib from older songs that weren’t subject to so much radio or internet replaying.

2. the incentive structure has changed. a dude who pens one decent song can get on stage and score chicks for years, maybe even decades, based on that frantic bestowal of fame. internet play action and advanced marketing offer instant fame to the fly by night, one hit wonder musician. the pussy rewards for male artistry flow faster and stronger today than they did in the past, thanks partly to unshackled female hypergamy and partly to the betatization of the average american male. as a result, the self-perceived need to pump out multiple albums of high quality work has diminished.

3. easy living (c.f. porn, video games, endless plates of food stamps) has taken the edge off the urgency to create a compendium of works of spectacular art that can win over a large and dedicated audience of admirers and payers. men, in a word, are being medicated into comatose feminized stupor by dopaminergic distractions.

4. diversity is our lack of diversity. the advent of the diverse playground known as the internet has created so many ostensible musical niches appealing to everyone’s most personalized tastes that it has, paradoxically, made music *less* diverse, by funneling would-be artists into similar musical paths which maximize the odds their voices will be heard above the din. what point is experimentation and building an oeuvre for the long haul when your potential audience is so prefragmented and fickle? may also explain why music is getting louder today.

i’d add that there exists the possibility as well that people in the west are simply getting less creative in some genetic/physiological sense. perhaps it’s all those BPAs in our plastics and Pills in our water.

Sam November 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

Your metric (iconic artists) doesn’t necessarily relate to quality. They’re iconic because of their market depth — compare the black artists that were just as revolutionary but are today unknown. Take away physical records and the widen the channels of sharing and information flow and you won’t see as many people clustering around ‘iconic’ acts. The current world is much more fragmented and idiosyncratic. The creation of an Icon requires collective action.

cthulhu November 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Two words: Jack White.

Reg November 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

This is where kickstarter makes sense. Galaxie 500 fans can enjoy the old albums, and if they want, could fund a new album. The band can decide how much it needs to make for it to be worthwhile to make a new album.

Once the album is made, the music escapes and is free.

Adam November 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

We are to be surprised that a product that requires zero marginal cost and is easily substituted for free earns a small return than a product with actual marginal costs sold via price discrimination to a customer who’s happy to pay more?

mulp November 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm

The author of the quotes above was on PRI/Marketplace and clarified his comments in reaction to misinterpretations of his commentary he’s heard.

One point he makes is something like “I’m happy with these services, but I wanted to point out the money doesn’t go to the artists”.

But back in the good old daze, the artists didn’t get much money, nor did the drug dealers paid by the record companies, all the profits went up the nose of the artists, producers, records execs, and drug dealers.

Only after the music died and the rights were bought by the MBAs did anyone get the money, but they killed the geese that the drugs didn’t kill laying the golden eggs. But they made a good living selling pictures of the golden eggs.

This is the 50th anniversary of A&M, a label that was killed off when its founders sold it to get bigger and better to some MBAs who killed them off – but 600 of the records from the first couple of decades are still in print.

vegetable November 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm

‘”Eject” is the first album released exclusively through Spotify, which not only means that you won’t be able to buy a physical copy, but also that you can’t download it at all: not from Apple, not from Amazon, and not even from ASDA, where you can now buy MP3s as well as vegetables.’
http://moreintelligentlife.com/blog/album-isnt-yours

ShaneM November 16, 2012 at 2:36 am

On radio didn’t bands/labels often pay for play?

oon2ooo November 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm

What strikes me as false in this article is not the figures, it is the concept that most likely the individuals steaming this music are likely a previously captured artist. Meaning, if the plays are that low, I would have to assume the majority of listeners were previously exposed to this music, therefore they likely already paid for the previously mentioned LPs and any streams by them would be considered within the license of their previous purchases. So they should be making no money, because frankly, they aren’t creating new fans.

I would be curious to see the numbers over a period for a group that is going from this level of popularity to fringe mainstream and how those factors grew over time. The author clearly states the algorithms change when those factors change. So I would chalk this up to not being representative of anything other than a failing artist who would have failed regardless of the scenario.

And to further the point, In 1988′ an independent band from 1964′ would like have made exactly $0.00. So I find this hard to take seriously as suggesting that things are going in reverse, at least from this perspective. Again, this is the wrong artist to try and made large scale judgments of these services as they are likely gaining positive results compared to previous eras.

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