14/11/2012

“ My BMI royalty check arrived recently, reporting songwriting earnings from the first quarter of 2012, and I was glad to see that our music is being listened to via services including Pandora and Spotify. Galaxie 500’s ‘Tugboat’, for example, was played 7,800 times on Pandora that quarter, for which its three songwriters were paid a collective total of 21 cents, or seven cents each. Spotify pays better: For the 5,960 times ‘Tugboat’ was played there, Galaxie 500’s songwriters went collectively into triple digits: $1.05 (35 cents each). To put this into perspective: Since we own our own recordings, by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one— one— LP sale. „

Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500/Damon & Naomi breaks down just how little bands earn from streaming services— and details what the music business’ headlong quest for capital means for artists today— in our new feature, “Making Cents”. (via pitchfork)

With all due respect — Boo fucking Hoo. You know what everyone else got paid for shit they did in 1988 — fuck all.  Unlike the vinyl we all fetishize which required complicated manufacturing, multiple stages of distribution, retail (with plenty of fixed costs including inventory digital has lower fixed costs and almost no distribution costs for the artist (not that they don’t have plenty of other costs in life).

Of course artists should get paid when others use their intelectual property to make money but I don’t care if they use to make more money off of the old physical distribution system… we didn’t use to have a choice and now we do and it’s better for the customer.

Lots of people still make money off of licensing and live performance you can make a living off of music though certainly being a non-performing songwriter is probably not viable but for a small few. But being a typesetter, a blacksmith and a fax machine repairman aren’t the most viable things either.  On the more artistic side, painters, poets, and sculptors have always had to figure out their own business model, rather than leverage the largess of large corporate entities. 

Further, if you want to vilify Spotify, you’d be better off looking at the total business model… because there’s no evidence they’ve ever made any money. Last year they took in $236 million (83% from subscriptions) but they lost $57 million.  Count those 35 cent checks while you can… cuz they may not last.

This is not to say that no one should attempt to leverage their position as content creators, negotiate with distributors to get what they believe is a fair share of the profit should any ever materialize.  However, if want to get paid for music my suggestion is that you should play it for us in person, instead of just whining about the old days.

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