Musicians fear they’ll take a beating | Winnipeg Free Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Recording artist Zoe Keating only needs to look at her earnings to zero in on why she has misgivings about Apple Inc. buying Beats Electronics.

The cellist made $38,196 selling downloads on Apple’s iTunes last year, along with about $34,000 from three other download services. By contrast, five streaming outlets, from Spotify to Pandora Media, netted her just $6,381.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS:
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/music/musicians-fear-theyll-take-a-beating-261411471.html

What YouTube Really Pays… Makes Spotify Look Good! #sxsw

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.

whatyoutubereallypaysFor 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.

Plays  Earnings  Per Play
2,023,295 $3,611.84 $0.00179
1,140,384 $2,155.69 $0.00189
415,341 $624.54 $0.00150
240,499 $371.47 $0.00154
221,078 $313.47 $0.00142
TOTALS TOTALS AVERAGE
4,040,597 $7,077.01 $0.00175

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.

Service  Plays  Per Play  Total  Notes 
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.

Meet the New Boss: YouTube’s Monopoly on Video | MTP

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]

RELATED:

Streaming Price Index Updated 2014 : Per Stream Pay Rates

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

YouTube Shares Ad Revenue With Musicians, But Does It Add Up? | NPR

UNSOUND @SXSW Meet Filmmaker Mikael (Count) Eldridge #SXSW

Filmmaker, producer and musician Mikael (Count) Eldridge will be speaking at SXSW Monday about new tech, start ups, and the impact on creators.

http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_OE02908

Monday, March 10  | 2:00PM – 3:00PM
Austin Convention Center | Next Stage EH 3/4
500 E Cesar Chavez St

From the forthcoming documentary Unsound: Bad Religion guitarist and Epitaph Records founder Brett Gurewitz talks about how large tech corporations make millions of dollars selling advertising- essentially making people the product, without them even realizing. The promise of free or cheap music is often used to draw eyeballs to websites, apps, and social networking platforms, allowing corporations to make large amounts of money from advertising. The public is generally unaware and happy to have free/cheap music, corporations make tons of money from advertising, but how is the musician benefiting from this?

LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.facebook.com/unsoundthemovie

Unsound uncovers the dramatic collapse of the music industry and its impact on musicians and creators of all kinds trying to survive in the ‘age of free’.

RELATED:

“Zoe Keating on How Big Business Wins…”| UNSOUND Little Cast

Reality for Indie Artists : Zoë Keating’s Annual Music Sales & Streaming Data @SXSW #SXSW

Zoë Keating released her Annual Music Sales & Streaming Data Spreadsheet a little bit ago and we stayed out of the fray, although we did also publish an update of the Music Streaming Price Index for 2014 as well.

This quote from Zoë in a follow up post about her open and transparent sharing of information on Hypebot got our attention.

I want you to know that I don’t release these numbers as a marketing tool. I’ve always tabulated stuff as part of doing my annual accounting and last year I decided to make a portion of them public. Music commentators were saying, over and over, that artists are not making a living selling music, they make all their money touring, etcetera etcetera. I noted that in my case that wasn’t true and never had been. In the commentary I wasn’t seeing a lot of actual numbers from artists and thought I’d offer some details of how it all works for me: a non-labeled artist whose career has existed entirely in the internet-age.

It’s curious to us that someone would insinuate the motivation behind sharing information in an open, human and transparent way was an attempt at self serving marketing. Shame on those who have made such comments. Zoë should be celebrated for doing what the interweb companies claim to do, and ask others to do, but do not do themselves.

We also found the following statement to be true of our experience of the vast number of artists we hear from who report similar experiences with streaming services ranging from Spotify to YouTube. These services only financially serve the very large artists and the very large labels. In other words, Spotify, YouTube and the like have not empowered artists towards financial freedom and very well appear to be achieving the very opposite.

Meanwhile yes, the big money is to be made at the top of the tail…and therein lies the promise of commercial music streaming services. It will be financially valuable to those who make hits and those who aggregate legions of artists. For a single artist like me commercial streaming will never be more than promo. I accept that. But will keep talking about it until streaming companies do more to make that promo more useful (i.e data).

But there appears to be more to this story. In this recently posted video clip by “Unsound” documentary  filmmaker Mikeal Eldridge, Zoë reveals that she has dug a bit deeper into the realities of streaming economics noting that the more streams that are served, the less the artists makes per stream. Again, this is consistent with her observation that “the promise of commercial music streaming services… will be financially valuable to those who make hits and those who aggregate legions of artists.”

We’ve yet to see anyone propose how streaming can actually scale and be sustainable for artists. We love streaming services, what we don’t like are the economics.

92% of Zoë’s recording income is from transactional digital sales. If these streaming businesses are claiming to be the future, the question to ask is whose future?

Downloads Streams Total % Downloads
$75,341 $6,380 $81,721 92%

RELATED:

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

Why Spotify is not Netflix (But Maybe It Should Be)

Musicians POV: Spotify Isn’t Good for You – Full Post

On Spotify (and Why I’m not a Conspiracy Theorist After All) | Tape Op

The real reason why the major labels love Spotify | Guardian UK

UNSOUND : Zoe Keating Interview : Part 1 [VIDEO]

Zoe explains her background and how she became a DIY artist. She also explains how streaming services like Spotify don’t work out so well for independent artists.

 

 
RELATED:

Musicians POV : 1,000 True Fans (an answer)

If the Internet is working for Musicians, Why aren’t more Musicians Working Professionally?

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

The music industry may be streaming towards a cliff | Business Spectator

In August the cellist Zoe Keating published a spreadsheet of her earnings from various streaming sites. In the first half of 2013 she scored 232,000 streams, for which she was paid $906.41.

I used the word “legitimate” above because by far the biggest “publisher” of music is BitTorrent, which is simply the internet protocol for enabling peer to peer sharing of files, and the foundation of Napster’s many successors. Some people I know have zettabytes of music and movies they have downloaded; BitTorrent has been estimated to account for as much as 70 per cent of all global internet traffic.

READ THE FULL POST AT THE BUSINESS SPECTATOR:
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/9/information-technology/music-industry-may-be-streaming-towards-cliff

Thom Yorke, Trent Reznor and a Chorus of Artists Speak Out For An Ethical and Sustainable Internet

Perhaps 2013 will be the year that we see as the tipping point in artists rights advocacy for an ethical and sustainable internet. There have been more artists speaking up vocally this year than we can remember over the last decade. The hangover from an excess of hope that the internet would empower musicians has begun to set in as the evidence of more, and worse exploitation becomes increasingly obvious every day.

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke noted his realization about Google and other big tech companies.

“[Big Tech] have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions. And this is what we want?

“We were so into the net around the time of Kid A,” he says. “Really thought it might be an amazing way of connecting and communicating. And then very quickly we started having meetings where people started talking about what we did as ‘content’. They would show us letters from big media companies offering us millions in some mobile phone deal or whatever it was, and they would say all they need is some content. I was like, what is this ‘content’ which you describe? Just a filling of time and space with stuff, emotion, so you can sell it?”

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has also been outspoken this year commenting first on streaming services, and then later on the value of music.

“I know that what we’re doing flies in the face of the Kickstarter Amanda-Palmer-Start-a-Revolution thing, which is fine for her, but I’m not super-comfortable with the idea of Ziggy Stardust shaking his cup for scraps. I’m not saying offering things for free or pay-what-you-can is wrong. I’m saying my personal feeling is that my album’s not a dime. It’s not a buck. I made it as well as I could, and it costs 10 bucks, or go fuck yourself.”

Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains refused to play new songs in the bands live set until the new album is released to protect the integrity of the bands work.

“Well, in the old days – if you start out with ‘in the old days,’ you’re totally an old f–k – you were able to play a lot more stuff live,” Cantrell tells Spin magazine. “But with the advent of the Internet and sharing and shit going everywhere, you can’t do that anymore. We really haven’t been playing anything off the new record that’s not out yet. We’ve been playing ‘Hollow‘ and ‘Stone,’ and now that it’s going to be released, we’re thinking about whipping out ‘Phantom Limb‘ and maybe a few more.”

Quincy Jones discussed his legacy and the challenges presented for new artists in an environment of unprecedented piracy.

What’s sad is that there is 98 percent music piracy everywhere on the planet. It’s just terrible. What if these kids (who download music illegally) worked for me for two months and then I said, “I’m not going to pay you.” That’s just not right.

Aimee Mann brought a lawsuit against a digital distributor.

Guy Marchais of the band Suffocation showed fans how to buy a CD and explained the importance of supporting artists with legal purchases.

Marc Ribot of Ceramic Dog (and sideman for Tom Waits) took up the battle against Ad Funded Piracy.

We don’t know what the ultimate solution is — but we know it isn’t the impoverishment of musicians and defunding music. And we know it isn’t pretending that no-one is being hurt. Corporations are making huge profits from the ads on ‘free’ sites, from selling the hard and software that make illegal downloading possible.

Austin band Quiet Company noted their disappointment after an internet marketing partnership experiment.

““After everything, I’m not sure there is a new model. The old model is still the model, it’s just that the Internet made it way worse.”

East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys noted who is making money and who is not at SF Music Tech.

“There’s opportunists on the Internet that have taken advantage of the artists, [they’re] giving a free ride on a carnival horse, but they’re starving the horse.”

Zoe Keating spoke to the NY Times about how artists in certain genre’s such as classic and jazz maybe condemmed to poverty in the new digital economy without better mechanisms in place.

“In certain types of music, like classical or jazz, we are condemning them to poverty if this is going to be the only way people consume music.”

Blake Morgan went public with an email exchange between him and Tim Westergren over Pandora’s attempts to reduced already low royalties to artists.

I hear you when you say you’re “seeking a balanced structure that allows musicians to generously participate in the business.” But respectfully –– and this is quite important –– musicians are what your business is built on.

Without us, you don’t have a business.

Victoria Aitken wrote about the effects of piracy on EDM artists.

“The Internet pirates have made me, and thousands of other musicians, walk the plank. We now have to swim in shark-infested waters where the big fish gobble up our dues and the pirates laugh their way to the bank.

I believe this basic injustice must be remedied – Internet pirates are white-collar criminals. They should pay the royalties they have stolen or be answerable to the law, like looters, burglars, and fraudsters.”

Pink Floyd expressed their feelings about Pandora and digital royalty rates for the next generation of musicians.

It’s a matter of principle for us. We hope that many online and mobile music services can give fans and artists the music they want, when they want it, at price points that work. But those same services should fairly pay the artists and creators who make the music at the core of their businesses.

Martha Reeves also explained the importance to continue to work towards fair royalties for artists in the new digital economy.

Musicians should be paid a fair value for their work and all digital services should play by the same rules. These are just common sense ideas, and once Congress adopts them as law, future generations will wonder why we ever struggled over them. But that’s why we must keep struggling – until justice is done.

Shawn Drover drummer for Megadeth responded to a question asking if the band had been effected by piracy.

Of course it is. We are certainly thrilled to have a #6 record on Billboard in America and #4 in Canada, but sales are way down for the entire music industry right across the board, which is a real drag. Internet piracy, torrent sites and all that are the reason why. Concert attendance for us is still great around the world, so we are definitely happy about that.

Band Quiet Company says Internet Has Made Things Worse for Artists “New Boss is Worse Than Old Boss”

A decade into the snake oil and lies of the empowered internet musician the truth bares itself out over and over again. In a recent case study the band Quiet Company said of their promotional experiment with Grooveshark in an interview with Digital Trends,

“I think for years now, as far as back as [Quiet Company] has been together, people have been talking about how different the music industry is and how the Internet has changed everything and how we’re all looking for a new model.”

“After everything, I’m not sure there is a new model. The old model is still the model, it’s just that the Internet made it way worse.”

We’re not surprised in the least as we’ve previously noted how Grooveshark’s infringement based business model could easily be described as “Notice and Shakedown.” Even tech progressive artists such as Zoë Keating have struggled with the service. Zoë could not get her music removed from the site after issuing at least six DMCA notices to Grooveshark.

So it’s strange to us despite there being near universal agreement on just how bad this service is for artists that some people still don’t get it. Of course these always seem to be the same people that defend every other service that rips off musicians and pays them nothing like The Pirate Bay.

One tech blog actually said after the Pirate Bay verdict, “The folks this will hurt the most are those content creators who actually do value The Pirate Bay.” But we doubt that as it’s not like there aren’t tons opportunities for artists to give away their work willing, with consent, should they so chose. What we find most disturbing is why the choice of consent to give away one’s work should be forcefully take from them by companies who are profiting from advertising revenue?

It’s all pretty simple. Artists need to get paid and so many of these so called “new models” seem to be built on the “new model” of not paying artists anything at all, or next to nothing at all. Again, from Digital Trends,

But now the contract is up and not being renewed, because – you guessed it – a monetization strategy couldn’t be found for Grooveshark. “We were the test monkeys,” says Osbon.

Once again we see that The New Boss is Worse Than The Old Boss, indeed. We’re not surprised, we know there’s a lot of money being made on the internet in music distribution, it’s just not being “shared” with musicians. So once again we ask where are all of these self empowered, independent new middle class musicians? The answer is, like most things where the truth is self evident, they just don’t exist.

Zoë Keating’s Request for Internet Transparency met w/ usual Hypocrisy

We’ve been following Zoë Keating’s blog for a while. Zoë represents (figuratively, not literally) a new generation of musicians whose careers have only really existed in the post-internet, pro-piracy environment. As such, the perspective of these artists who have little experience in the world prior to optional payment and virtually no artist control over the distribution of their work is somewhat different from those who have inhabited both environments.

We celebrate the Zoë Keatings of the world for their undying tenacity in their efforts to navigate the current music industry without having had the benefit of the pre-piracy era. Zoë’s made a few excellent observations and suggestions. One recent post has been to ponder the creation of a new artists rights coalition to represent the needs of contemporary indie and DIY artists. Another post has been soul searching on what might be the fair way to set appropriate royalty rates across the various terrestrial, satellite and internet streaming radio platforms.

But it is one of Zoë’s most recent posts which has really caught our attention, as Zoë has been “slashdotted” just for asking for transparency and data sharing from the internet companies profiting from the artists work.

In the case of a service like Pandora, when someone has taken the time to create a station around my music or given my songs a “thumbs up”… I’d rather know where in the world those particular listeners are than be paid the $0.0011 per play that is currently required by law. That was my point.

Now, we don’t think this should have to be a choice, and we think Zoë has an excellent point, especially given that the Declaration Of Internet Freedom specifically states transparency as one if it’s principles.

Declaration of Internet Freedom

We stand for a free and open Internet.

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.

Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.

Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.

Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.

Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

As with many things we’ve seen from the tech sector, there always seems to be selective reasoning when it comes to them actually adhering to their own principles. This from the same people who want permissionless innovation, up and until, you are not asking them for permission as Google is illustrating with Doogle.

Of course the double standard and irrationality of the freehadist hive mind doesn’t stop there. Among the comments posted, this one is indicative of the faulty logic and thinking expressed by so many of the anti-artist maximalists.

“She got money, I got music. There was no agreement to get my data. 0% is hers.”

The point that should be emphasized is that there was no agreement period. Pandora gets a compulsory license. It gets the benefit of a “one-stop shop” for all sound recordings so long as it pays the rates, no questions asked. Congress took away from Zoe Keating the choice to make that agreement. So it’s also perfectly valid to say that Pandora should also turn over some data to artists in exchange for that – especially if the consumer is (and should be) given the choice to opt-in.

We are pro-choice and respect consent, and we believe that the internet and tech community should also as well.

Weekly Recap Sunday Nov 4, 2012

Grab the Coffee!

Recent Posts:
* Techdirt Is A Never Ending “Dumb Off”
* Untruth in Advertising: Pandora’s Misleading Plea To Listeners On Behalf Of The Internet Radio “Fairness” Act.
* Mellencamp Character Assassination. The New Republic Bravely Stands Up For Corporations and Criminal Groups That Exploit Artists.

From Around The Web:

Ars Technica
Artist who sued Twitter over copyright declares victory—via settlement
The Russian underground economy has democratized cybercrime
Google settles Rosetta Stone lawsuit, its last major dispute over AdWords

Copyhype
Friday’s Endnotes – 11/02/12

Music Producer Tunnidge via Facebook
Tunnidge Facebook Post
“I am going to try and be as obvious as possible. Without being able to make money from our music it effects greatly our ability to make the music, more often it stops us.”

Vox Indie
Where’s Our Outrage When Internet “Free Speech” is Really Under Attack?
Blogspot.com, a Bridge to Piracy?

The Illusion Of More
On Letting Foxes Mind Chicken Coops

The Register UK
The Big Debate: OK gloomsters, how can the music biz be FIXED?

Zoe Keating
Towards a manifesto
“We can’t just hope that the interests of music and technology companies will always magically align with ours. We have to participate in the process. Otherwise, we just have to accept that anachronistic legislation, policies and deals will continue to be written without our input. We need public policy that reflects us. We need fair royalty schemes. We need companies to build our interests into their business models.”

Popup Pirates
Theft is not “Free Speech”

Music Tech Policy
Mellencamp Is Right, Brand-Supported Piracy Screws Songwriters AGAIN: Snakes in the Grass, @McDonalds, Google and Other Species of Vermin

Digital Music News
It Gets Worse: Pandora Executives Have Dumped $63 Million In Stock In the Last Year…
13 Extremely Scary Things About the Music Industry Today…

Tape Op
ON SPOTIFY (AND WHY I’M NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORIST AFTER ALL)

Copyright Alliance
AN INVITATION TO FREE INTERNET ADVOCATES TO JOIN US
“Without free speech, copyright protection is meaningless. The two rights are critical to artists and combined have proven to be a powerful force for social justice around the world. That is why we consistently and openly advocate for a fair and open internet that champions free speech as well as respect for authorship.”

Torrent Freak
Piracy Topsite Operators Handed Suspended Jail Sentences
IMAGiNE BitTorrent Piracy Group Members Jailed
BitTorrent Pirate Ordered to Pay $1.5 Million Damages For Sharing 10 Movies
Link ‘Pirate’ Sentenced to Pay $13,000 to NBA, NFL, NHL, WWE and TNA

AdLand
The trouble with Adsense – abusive porn ads on The Star news site [NSFW]