Things are not going well in the music industry…. That’s an understatement. The truth is that things are pretty screwed up in the music industry… That’s also an understatement!
More people need to realize what artists get paid by streaming platforms for their hard work. More people should care!
The cold numbers (per play)
Napster pays $0.0167
Tidal pays $0.0110
Apple Music pays $0.0064
Google Play pays $0.0059
Deezer pays $0.0056
Spotify pays $0.0038
Pandora pays $0.0011
Youtube $0.0006 (IF you monetize)
To get on these platforms you also have to go through a distributor, for example CD Baby, which takes 19% of these royalties… On top of the fixed price for the entry ticket of course, which varies between $49 and $89 for an album. And of course to withdraw that money, you will have bank or Paypal fees…
So in average among these platforms, you get $0.0065, minus the 19% that’s a whooping $0.005265! Meaning for 10,000 plays you get roughly $50
Sleeping with the devil
So, I see indie artists trying to work around the system one way or another, trying to aggregate playlists to be played in loops all day on a desktop (sound muted) by all the people featured… And for what exactly? Hopefully they’ll get a burger by the end of the year. Who has even been truly listening??? What kind of interaction have they gained from being there, do they even know, do they even can contact the fans who have played and liked their music on these platforms? Nope.
I see countless artists, even radios, linking to Spotify and Deezer and Tidal on social media, actively promoting their links and playlists! And I’m thinking “I’m sure these platforms are really pleased that your fans are sent to them to listen to YOUR music.”
There’s a name for it, I believe. It’s called “Sleeping with the devil”.
Every day these platforms are petitioning in court to try and pay less and less royalties to artists, and put more money in the hands of their shareholders. They have no trouble using your content to do so. They will not promote you in any way, they are bound to big labels who couldn’t care less about indie music.
And then what?
I have decided that I will no longer condone any of these platforms, link to them or put anymore of my music on any of them. I’m just tired of endorsing crooks and bend over to get screwed a bit more, and say thank you while I’m at it… It’s not going to make that much of a difference in my revenue anyway, that’s for sure.
And I sincerely think all indie artists should do the same.
You will be able to find my music on my own website where I’ll get 100% of the revenues, on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon (they all take a cut).
But also especially you will be able to hear it, alongside many great indie artists, on indie radios and podcasts and shows, and read about it on indie blogs and magazines… All of the true distributors and dispensers of today’s indie music that we should all support, link to and recommend.
Fans should stop using these platforms. Radios should stop promoting any links to them. Their only aim is to create a monopoly and eliminate all the little guys, they will kill any creativity that’s left. Let’s not play their game!
But we don’t have a choice!
The main objections that I hear from artists are:
“You have to be there to be found…” - really? And who is finding you there, except the fans you’ve pointed to, to begin with?
“You don’t have a choice” - hum, isn’t that how dictatorships are made?
“If you don’t do it, others will” - again, isn’t that how the 3rd Reich’s atrocities happened?
“If you’re not there, no one will want to promote you” - I don’t believe the people in the indie world are really looking at Spotify to find the music they play and review and promote.
“It’s not that bad!” - go back and read these numbers from the beginning again, please!
Perhaps not many artists will find that worthwhile, and perhaps not many will change anything and they will keep linking to Spotify and the others, but as for me, I’m just tired of sleeping with the devil… I’m opting out! I think you should too!