Subscription based music is said to be a dream for consumers. Pay a single monthly fee and stream all the music you want. How’s it working out on the flip side of the coin, for the artist?
Figuring out just how lucrative streaming services like Spotify or Apple’s iTunes Match cloud feature, which streams you songs you already own from the cloud, is tough. Mostly, that’s because there is a lack of transparency from both parties. The artists are at times reluctant to share numbers and the streaming services don’t want those deals exposed either.
There were some interesting numbers shared today on Twitter by Josh Davison of Centro about streaming revenue garnered from his band Parks and Gardens on both Spotify and iTunes Match. It shows just how little each song play nets for the artist.
Josh Davison @stringbot: Correction: iTunes Match pays $0.00330526797710 per stream. Spotify actually pays us more, at $0.00966947678815 per stream.
Parks and Gardens needs just over 3 plays for any song to get a penny of revenue from a track on iTunes Match. They pay distribution service TuneCore $50 a year to get their music out on the services. So, it would take over 15,217 plays of their songs on iTunes Match just to break even. On Spotify they’d need to see 5,171 plays.
One point to remember is that on iTunes Match, the earnings are basically a bonus on top of the outright purchase of a song.
In the case of small artists the streaming numbers wouldn’t even come close to breaking even.
So, if you hear a song you like on your streaming service, why not do the artists a favor and buy the track or album outright? They’re not exactly getting rich from the streaming revenues.