If Only Artists and Managers Had Listened To Us : Spotify Per Stream Rates Keep Dropping

We hate to say we told ya so, but… Below is our post from September 2015. Two years ago we predicted the inevitable truth of the all you can eat Spotify subcription model. Like many of our predictions and proposals (example; windowing titles) we’ve had to wait for the industry to catch up to us. Today, two years later, Digital Music News confirms our prediction.

Read the report from Digital Music News by clicking the headline link here.

Exclusive Report: Spotify Artist Payments Are Declining In 2017, Data Shows | Digital Music News

Our original post from 2015 is below…


Spotify Per Play Rates Continue to Drop (.00408) … More Free Users = Less Money Per Stream #gettherateright

Down, down, down it goes, where it stops nobody knows… The monthly average rate per play on Spotify is currently .00408 for master rights holders.

PerStreamAvg_Jun11_July15

48 Months of Spotify Streaming Rates from Jun 2011 thru May 2015 on an indie label catalog of over 1,500 songs with over 10m plays.

Spotify rates per spin appear to have peaked and are now on a steady decline over time.

Per stream rates are dropping because the amount of revenue is not keeping pace with the  number of streams. There are several possible causes:

1) Advertising rates are falling as more “supply” (the number of streams) come on line and the market saturates.

2) The proportion of  lower paying “free streams”  is growing faster than the proportion of higher paying “paid streams.”

3) All of the above.

This confirms our long held suspicion that as a flat price “freemium” subscription service  scales the price per stream will drop.  As the service reaches “scale” the pool of streaming revenue becomes a fixed amount.  The pie can’t get any larger and adding more streams only cuts the pie into smaller pieces!

The data above is aggregated. In all cases the total amount of revenue is divided by the total number of the streams per service  (ex: $4,080 / 1,000,000 = .00408 per stream). Multiple tiers and pricing structures are all summed together and divided to create an averaged, single rate per play.

Updated! Streaming Price Bible w/ 2016 Rates : Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Tidal, Amazon, Pandora, Etc.

The last time we did this was back in 2014, so we thought it was time for an update. Not a lot of surprises but as we predicted when streaming numbers grow, the per stream rate will drop. This data set is isolated to the calendar year 2016 and represents an indie label with an approximately 150 album catalog generating over 115m streams. That’s a pretty good sample size. All rates are gross before distribution fees.

Spotify was paying .00521 back in 2014, two years later the aggregate net average per play has dropped to .00437 a reduction of 16%.

YouTube now has their licensed, subscription service (formerly YouTube Red?) represented in these numbers as opposed to the Artist Channel and Content ID numbers we used last time. Just looking at the new YouTube subscription service numbers isolated here, they generate over 21% of all licensed audio streams, but less than 4% of revenue! By comparison Apple Music generates 7% of all streams and 13% of revenue.

Speaking of Apple, they sit in the sweet spot generating the second largest amount of streaming revenue with a per stream rate .00735, nearly double what Spotify is paying. But, Spotify has a near monopoly on streaming market share dominating 63% of all streams and 69% of all streaming revenue. The top 10 streamers account for 99% of all streaming revenue.

streamrevenuemkrtshr2016

To put this list in the context of our 2014 numbers we’re adding the chart below with the data sorted by the quantity of streaming plays required to match the revenue of a single song or album download. This is important as we work towards defining and setting a fair per stream rate and also setting an accurate economic equivalent of streams to songs and albums for the purposes of charting.

Billboard currently calculates 1,500 streams to one album for the purposes of charting, which at current streaming rates actually matches an economic equivalent. However, that is most likely a highly excessive numbers of plays to achieve that economic equivalent. But, more on that later…

Keep in mind every streaming service has a key piece of data that would allow artists and labels to set a fair per stream rate. Every on demand streaming service, Apple, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play all know how many times a song is played (per person) on average over time. This is the data that is key to setting fair streaming rates. Who will share this information? Apple, Jimmy Iovine, we’re looking at you.

streamspersong2016

  • HOW WE CALCULATED THE STREAMS PER SONG / ALBUM RATE:
  • As streaming services only pay master royalties (to labels) and not publishing, the publishing has to be deducted from the master share to arrive at the comparable cost per song/album.
  • $.99 Song is $.70 wholesale after 30% fee. Deduct 1 full stat mechanical at $.091 = $.609 per song.
  • Multiply the above by 10x’s and you get the album equivalent of $6.09 per album
[EDITORS NOTE: All of the data above is aggregated. In all cases the total amount of revenue is divided by the total number of the streams per service  (ex: $5,210 / 1,000,000 = .00521 per stream). In cases where there are multiple tiers and pricing structures (like Spotify), these are all summed together and divided to create an averaged, single rate per play.]

[royalties][streaming royalties][music royalties][royalty rates]

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Spotify might not suppress search, but that doesn’t mean artists with exclusives get treated equally | Tech Crunch

Hmmmm…

However, while Spotify has been clear about rejecting one part of the argument against the company, there is another piece of the story that remains unaddressed. Hidden in the details, the accusations are really twofold, including both the notion that

* Spotify directly suppresses tracks from artists that have previously signed exclusives with Apple Music or Tidal in search results.
* And, Spotify indirectly targets artists who have signed exclusives with Apple Music and Tidal but promoting music differently in playlists and banner ads.

READ THE FULL STORY AT TECHCRUNCH:
https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/26/spotify-might-not-suppress-search-but-that-doesnt-mean-artists-with-exclusives-get-treated-equally/

Spotify Is Burying Musicians for Their Apple Deals | Bloomberg

New boss, worse than the old boss…

Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy. Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps. Those artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings of Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, the people said. Spotify said it doesn’t alter search rankings.

READ THE FULL STORY AT BLOOMBERG:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-26/spotify-said-to-retaliate-against-artists-with-apple-exclusives

Songwriter Would Need 288 Million Spins To Equal Average Spotify Employee Salary

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 8.12.33 PM

 

Spotify just posted their financials and Paul Resnikoff at Digital Music News was quick to point out that the average Spotify employee salary is $168, 747.

Contrast that to the plight of songwriters.  There would be no music business without the fundamental efforts of songwriters. Yet, there is not a free market in songs.  The federal government sets compensation for songwriters/publishers based on a percentage of revenue.  An abysmal below market rate.  In effect a subsidy for streaming services.   Last I checked this rate was working out to about $0.00058 per spin.    This includes both the public performance (BMI/ASCAP) and the streaming mechanical  (IF they happen to pay it).

Best case scenario, if a songwriter retains all publishing rights to their song then a songwriter would need 288,104,634.15 spins to earn the reported average salary of a Spotify employee.

Any questions?

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Related see this post on failure of techies to understand that streaming services are subsidized by government mandates

https://thetrichordist.com/2016/05/27/clueless-spotify-defender-illustrates-tech-ignorance-about-federal-cap-on-songwriter-pay/

 

So Prince released his new album today Exclusively on TIDAL… how long will that last before it’s on YouTube?

Today Prince released his new album “HITNRUN Phase One” exclusively on TIDAL. The real question is, how long will it be before the album in part or in whole is on YouTube and every other pirate site in the world?

image001

You can listen to :30 of each song at the link below without signing up for the service.
http://listen.tidal.com/album/50767183

Music Tech Policy detailed why we can’t have nice things in the post “The Great Disappointment: Tidal Highlights YouTube’s Moral Hazard for All the World to See”.

Part of Tidal’s business model relies on artists being able to grant exclusives.  The concept of an exclusive requires property rights that are respected by other platforms in the channel.

Imagine if Showtime began showing rips of Game of Thrones day and date with its HBO release.  Forget that HBO would sue them and win.  The actors, screenwriters, producers and the vast below the line personnel would think twice about working for Showtime in the future.

And that’s exactly what should happen to YouTube.

Beyonce released “Die With You” on Tidal as an exclusive.  Everyone at YouTube knows that it was intended to be an exclusive just like everyone at YouTube knows that YouTube could keep the track from being uploaded to YouTube if YouTube wanted to do that.

YouTube has worked hard at getting the world to accept the concept of “user generated content” as some kind of great cultural event–even, when like “Die With You”, there isn’t anything particularly “user generated” about it, unless you call a one-to-one rip of Beyonce’s track that was distributed in clear violation of Beyonce’s rights “user generated”.

READ THE FULL POST AT MUSIC TECH POLICY:
https://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/tidal-highlights-youtubes-moral-hazard-for-all-the-world-to-see/

Streaming Music is Ripping You Off | Sharky Laguna via Medium

A worthy read from Sharky Laguna on how streaming music has disconnected fans from bands.

You Are Worthless

Imagine a hypothetical artist on a streaming service. Which do you think that artist would rather have: 10,000 fans who stream a song once, or one fan who streams it 10,001 times? Seems obvious, right? 10,000 fans is much better than one fan! But the Big Pool method, which only cares about the number of clicks, says the single person is worth more!
Ass-Backwards

This is bad for the artist, but astoundingly it’s even worse for streaming services: if each subscriber is paying $10 a month then those 10,000 subscribers would generate $1.2M in annual revenue, while the single user only generates a measly $120. Clearly the services benefit from getting more subscribers, not more streams, so why are they incentivizing streams and ignoring subscribers?

READ THE FULL POST AT MEDIUM:
https://medium.com/cuepoint/streaming-music-is-ripping-you-off-61dc501e7f94

c3 ‪”#thatsongwhen 10k people listened, the artist got paid $60 and the major labels got stock options.”

c3, The Content Creators Coalition is enlisting musicians and songwriters to share their true stories of Spotify plays, payments and thoughts to raise awareness around unsustainable digital service royalty structures. Join in.

If you care about the economic rights of artists in the digital domain, join us in hijacking Spotify’s new twitter hashtag campaign. Got your own numbers to share? Like so: Fun with new Spotify hashtag campaign: “#thatsongwhen 10k people listened, the artist got paid $60 and the major labels got stock options.”

We do believe in digital. But current rates are not sustainable. Spotify is using our music like venture capital and promising better returns later while they pay their employees and hire expensive ad firms to create the above hashtag campaign.

thatsongwhenSarahManningthatsongwhenTessaMakesLove thatsongwhenMarilynCarino

FOLLOW c3 ON FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/ContentCreatorsCoalition
https://www.facebook.com/pages/ccc-nycorg/

Music Streaming is “just dressed-up piracy” says Rosanne Cash| Hypebot

Hypebot noticed this Facebook post from Rosanne Cash which echoes the sentiments of many artists, that streaming in it’s current form and economics is pretty much legitimized piracy…

RosanneCashStreaming

READ THE FULL POST AT HYPEBOT:
http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2014/10/streaming-is-just-dressed-up-piracy-says-rosanne-cash.html

RELATED:

Five Important Questions For Spotify from Artists and Managers

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

Streaming Isn’t Saving the Music Industry After All, Data Shows…