Is this the future of music? We continue to look at more artist revenue streams.
We’ve been waiting for someone to send us this kind of data. This info was provided anonymously by an indie label (we were provided screenshots but anonymized this info to a spreadsheet). Through the cooperative and collaborative efforts of artists such as Zoe Keating and The Cynical Musician we hope to build more data sets for musicians to compare real world numbers.
In our on going quest for openness and transparency on what artists are actually getting paid we’d love to hear from our readers if their numbers and experience are consistent with these numbers below. At the very least, these numbers should be the starting point of larger conversations for artists to share their information with each other.
Remember, no music = no business.
For whatever reason there appear to be a lot of unmonetized views in the aggregate. So let’s just focus on the plays earning 100% of the revenue pool in the blue set. These are videos where the uploader retains 100% of the rights in the video including the music, the publishing and the video content itself.
So it appears that YouTube is currently paying $1,750 per million plays gross.
We understand that people reading this may report other numbers, and that’s the point. There is no openness or transparency from either Spotify or YouTube on what type of revenue artists can expect to earn and under what specific conditions. So until these services provide openness and transparency to musicians and creators, “sharing” this type of data is going to be the best we’re going to be able to do as East Bay Ray comments in his interview with NPR.
As we’re now in a world where you need you need a million of anything to be meaningful here’s a benchmark of where YouTube ranks against Spotify.
|Spotify To Performers/Master Rights||1,000,000||0.00521||$5,210.00||Gross Payable to Master Rights Holder Only|
|Spotify To Songwrtiers / Publishers||This revenue is for the same 1m Plays Above||0.000521||$521.00||Gross Payable to Songwriter/s & Publisher/s (estimated)|
|YouTube Artist Channel||1,000,000||0.00175||$1,750.00||Gross Payable for All Rights Video, Master & Publishing|
|YouTube CMS (Adiam / AdRev) **||1,000,000||0.00032||$321.00||Gross Payable to Master Rights Holder Only|
The bottom line here is if we want to see what advertising supported free streaming looks like at scale it’s YouTube. And if these are the numbers artists can hope to earn with a baseline in the millions of plays it speaks volumes to the unsustainability of these models for individual creators and musicians.
It’s also important to remember that the pie only grows with increased revenue which can only come from advertising revenue (free tier) and subscription fees (paid tier). But once the revenue pool has been set, monthly, than all of the streams are divided by that revenue pool for that month – so the more streams there are, the less each stream is worth.
All adrev, streaming and subscription services work on the same basic models as YouTube (adrev) and Spotify (adrev & subs). If these services are growing plays but not revenue, each play is worth less because the services are paying out a fixed percentage of revenue every month divided by the number of total plays. Adding more subscribers, also adds more plays which means that there is less paid per play as the service scales in size.
This is why building to scale, on the backs of musicians who support these services, is a stab in the back to those very same artists. The service retains it’s margin, while the artists margin is reduced.
[** these numbers from a data set of revenue collected on over 8 million streams via CMS for an artist/master rights holder]