So, Spotify’s joined the ranks of the streaming services Australians can get. It’s nice to have a variety of choice, but does streaming offer a fair deal for Australian artists?
If you don’t want to own the music you’re streaming per se, streaming music makes a lot of sense; pay once a month for access to “millions” of tracks that are yours to listen to as many times as you’d like. But on the other side of the equation, it’s not always that great a deal.
The ABC has an interesting piece up relating to the local music scene’s reaction to the launch yesterday of Spotify, quoting Local hip hop MC producer Urthboy as stating that:
“The massive, massive amount of music out there means that a small, independent artist is going to be working so hard just to get noticed. It’s scary because the small amount of money you might have become accustomed to is once again being diminished.”
At the same time, Urthboy states, it’s something of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing; you can’t afford to ignore streaming music either:
“The one thing that I would like to see from Spotify is a fair playing field, whether you are an independent artist that has no label representation or whether you are major label act who has huge sway. And quite often it comes back down to who’s got the most power in allowing access to music catalogues.”
It’s not exactly clear how much a local artist gets from a single Spotify playback, but the article quotes Nick O’Bryne of the Australian independent record labels association as stating that
“They might be being cagey about it but in the end we do know that it’s less than a third of a cent and probably sometimes – depending on which labels you are and which artist and what deal you have done with them – it may be less than one tenth of a cent. If you do the maths on it, if you see a single song on iTunes you might get paid about a dollar by the times iTunes has taken their cut and that goes to the label and then divided amongst the artist and the label themselves. So if you are getting paid about a third of a cent per stream you would have to listen to the same song about 300 times before it would make the same amount of money.”
It’s an interesting problem. On the one side, it’s exposure, and, I guess, potential concert ticket sales and the like, which are often stated as being more lucrative for artists than record sales. On the other side, it’s not like streaming music services are working for free themselves; if they’re profiting, shouldn’t the artists be profiting as well? [ABC]