I have no idea if David Lowery's original post about making only $16.89 for 1 million plays was distributed by a PR firm, but it sure feels like it.
PG's thoughts on PR are spot on, and I love referencing his article to both discern truth from half-truth in the news, and, of course, to push my own PR efforts:
It is not interesting to post a story which says "Pandora Paid Over $1,300 for 1 Million Plays" but it is very interesting to post a story which says "My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89"
I watched Mike Arrington (founder of TechCrunch) talk about PR on youtube at a startup seminar and he raised this exact point. Regardless of your agenda, a controversial story is far more newsworthy and will get you more coverage then a regular story.
Compare that to what they would have got had it been on the rotation on Radio 1.
Note as the article says in the rest of the world unlike the usa terrestrial radio does pay for the songs it plays.
Great insight - considering now a days PR is also becoming SEO.
By that I mean that a good PR firm provides a service of getting high-end backlinks from highly authoritative sites - media, etc.
Pandora spent $82M on content according to the most recent 10Q, with 4.18B listener hours. That implies a cost of $0.02 cents per listener hour. A million plays is roughly 62500 listener hours, which implies a content cost of $1250.
"$0.02 cents"? Do you mean "$0.02", or "2 cents" or two hundredths of one cent, or something else?
Is this Verizon writing? ( http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/2006/12/verizon-doesnt-know-... )
Sorry about that. It is an easy mistake to make at 2pm in the morning.
Based on their cost of $0.02 cents per listener hour, I wanted to calculate how many hours per day my $36 yearly payment equates to (ignoring their operational costs):
($36 / $0.02) = 1800 hours per year
1800 hours per year = 4.93 hours per day
> "We've heard Pandora complain it pays too much in royalties to make a profit. (Of course, we also watched Pandora raise $235 million in its IPO and double its listeners in the last two years.) But a business that exists to deliver music can't really complain that its biggest cost is music."
Sounds reasonable enough to me. Do they have any other major expenditures besides hosting?
Also, Pandora does not complain that their largest expense is music, it complains it is so large that it prevents the possibility of them being profitable. It may be true or untrue, but the opinion in USA Today distorts it. Pandora doesn't claim it doesn't want to pay it all, it just wants to pay so that they still could be profitable.
Additionally, even if Pandora did make enough money per listener, the fact they spend a large portion of their revenue on royalties indicates that if this portion increases, their profit margins will vanish very easily. This is not contradicted neither by size of their IPO nor by number of their listeners, because this is a marginal game, not summary. So their argument is "if royalties increase, we die". The opinion you quote does not refute this. Of course, you could say "ok, so Pandora dies, who cares, good riddance, they should have built their business better" - but that'd be completely different argument. And on this argument one should notice that in this case the authors probably would get $0 royalties for internet performances if no viable business would be possible for it.
Marketing and Sales is primarily the cost of selling advertisements, including all the required employees. Selling $100M worth of ads isn't easy, (unless you are google).
Pretty sure anyone subject to the real rules is disallowed from doing this thanks to the dot com boom/bust.
If that nonsense was allowed, then every company would show revenues in the billions. The finance department would pay the the HR department for HR services, the marketing department would buy millions with their own company, etc.
It is common for internal accounting books to record these intracompany expenses/revenues for record keeping. For instance a TV Show pays for ads on the same network, but before Disney reports profits publicly all of that accounting cruft must be removed.
Part of that is their Music Genome Project where human beings listened to every song Pandora hosted and rated every aspect of it. I'm sure now they just have a ton of other useful data from listening habits. Regardless, I think the music could almost be seen as secondary.
If all Pandora wanted to do was have me pay $36 dollars for a weekly, automated newsletter telling me of new songs I might like and then collecting my feedback for future newsletters made for me, I'd likely pay for that. They could even alert me to new concerts in my area. Of course, the music streaming ties that all together in a really compelling way.
So, I think if anything you could say that about 50% to musicians and 50% to programmers and staff and overhead sounds about right. Hopefully they manage to eek out a profit to stick around.
They'll be greatly missed if all that's left one day is iHeartRadio and the same old industry pushing the same old method of selecting hits.
Pandora is undeniably a good way to listen to music, and all anyone wants is to ensure they have a fair way to compete.
No one likes seeing artists go hungry. But we all also recognize that if there's anyone being unfair to artists, it's the mega industry from the prior era.
The new industry involves artists owning their work and paying $50/year at TuneCore or similar companies to get their music distributed to companies such as Pandora. Or, they sign up to traditional album sellers like BandCamp or CDBaby. It's simply the most efficient way to do it now.
Absolutely we appreciate the music industry for almost a century of fantastic art and culture. But they either need to adapt or gracefully accept their new role, which is a purveyor of American classics and the niche hype machine for the few mega acts of pop music who actually get good terms on their contracts with major labels.
Instead, the public starts from the stance that music should basically be free, and artists are lucky to be paid anything at all.
The purpose of statutory rates is to create an economic environment where businesses can operate without constant negotiation, and creators can earn a living.
Virtually no one is earning a living from Pandora or Spotify, so, it isn't working. Meanwhile the public has access to a functionally infinite amount and variety of music for nothing, or next to nothing.
Why is that obvious? If violating copyrights was impossible, I would probably just be exposed to a lot less music, and would thusly end up spending less on music (I pay for iTunes Match, usually spend $50-100 a year on albums, and $100-200 a year on concerts).
Oh? If Pandora already spends half its revenues on the music, how is observing that doubling (for example) royalties would cause music costs to eclipse revenues, bullying and threatening? It sounds like Pandora is the one that should feel threatened.
Wait, no, it wouldn't be wonderful, because then you'd be angry that every company was making 50% net profit off you left and right.
I'm not sure most average people use bit torrent anymore. And the web is an extremely inconvenient way to try to access illegal content.
Google searching for 'pink floyd the wall' and clicking the three most obvious links in order gets you a well seeded torrent file. None of the links on the page obviously lead you to somewhere to pay to stream/download the album legally (although there is an iTunes link for the movie at the bottom).
Pirates are still winning on convenience, let alone cost.
Yeah, many people don't - because of Pandora and Spotify. Take those away and people will go back to piracy.
I don't think that's obvious, I think it's an empirical question. With N subscribers, Pandora currently makes $36 * N per year. If they raise the cost to $50, they'll make $50 * (N - x), where X is the number of subscribers they'd loose.
Of course, all the profit is basically split between the licensors. Pandora currently keeps nothing.
You are suggesting that 50 * (N-x) is "obviously" bigger than 36 * N, but I would suspect that Pandora has already tested it, and $36 provides the maximum possible revenue. If they haven't tested that, they are truly incompetent.
The Pink Floyd article mentions their IPO, but doling out IPO money to licensors is a temporary solution, and probably one Wall Street wouldn't take particularly kindly to. So the choice really is "the current licensing terms, or $0".
I'm pretty sure they made the money from selling the music people heard on the radio.
a song isn't an advertisement for ANYTHING for the songwriter. It is the entirety of the songwriter's creation. The songwriter does not make a living from t-shirts, ticket sales, endorsements, or hosting a reality TV show.
The linked blog do nothing of the sort. It simply state that song writers get in average an $800,000 for radio and TV for a "hit song".
It doesn't say how much is TV vs radio. It doesn't say what a hit song mean, or how many CD's such song will in average sell. It doesn't say what the average number of songs of a singular author is in such CD. It doesn't say what the average income from digital downloads are from producing such hit song, or how it effect sales from the authors other works.
And worst of... Its a blog without any source for its data, and has a disclaimer at the bottom that says: ... the information is the opinion of the author only.
I didn't realize I need a citation to explain what is obvious to any music industry professional: performance royalties from radio play are a major source of revenue for songwriters of hit songs.
If the passle of you want to wave your opinions around for decades while literally enabling and rationalizing the destruction of an industry through targeted technology (napster, for example, originally ONLY supported mp3s) maybe you should do your own research and educate yourself, and not expect me to footnote every assertion.
Otherwise, just admit you want everyone else's IP for free and stop making up justifications.
Also, eliminating Pandora might (or might not) increase royalties via other media.
Artists, get over yourself. The market is huge now, and your product value is approaching zero. But keep on flailing in the noose.
EDIT: Half credit. Per dllthomas, "Per the article, FM radio pays royalties to the songwriter but not the performers."
To be a prospering model, rather than a struggling one, they might have to raise prices on customers while trying to hold royalty payments to a steady %.
The biggest potential threat to Pandora, other than the labels killing them with royalties, is Apple and Google.
But forget about the numbers for one song. Let's say a guy like the OP of the other article works full time as a singer song-writer. He writes a few songs, performs some of them, has others (more popular artists) perform some of them, and maybe he plays a few gigs himself (either as a musician in someone's band, or good enough to do his own shows). Let's say he's median successful. One or two of his songs (either recorded by him or someone else) is close to charting. People are listening to it online and radios are playing it. Other songs are getting played but not getting the same traction. He works 50-60 hours a week on music, either writing, recording, or performing. What kind of living can he make?
a) 20K and lives off of another job?
b) 40K and struggles to pay rent?
c) 60K and can survive?
d) 80K and considered successful?
e) 100K and lives comfortably doing what he loves?
f) More and can live in expensive parts of the country (NY-SF-LA)?
How was it in the old system of labels and DJs? How has it changed with Pandora and iTunes?
The same opportunity that made it possible for artists to record once and resell in the millions is now working against them.
Where where they when the distribution companies who used to make a living from the music industry was laid off? Or the record stores?
It's not a right, it's an opportunity.
Obviously, there is no "right" to earn a living in the legal sense of a right. But it seems moral to say that if someone puts in average work, and they're average talent, they should make an average living out of some industry that is still in demand.
You raise an interesting point about the producers and salespeople of the industry. Why shouldn't they have a "right" to make an average living as well. Indeed, but they could also follow the technology, eg from "curating" a record store to "curating" a recommendations website. Or, since they also have more portable jobs, they could produce or sell other products or talents.
The musician, on the other hand, is stuck. If musicians can't live from their music, even if they are in demand, will stop making music for us consumers.
This sort of explains why many areas are winner takes all or extremely exponential in wage/quality.
The problem is that once you start digging into it, the reality is that claiming "i wrote this song" is a much more muddled claim than you might think and so is the claims about how much one should earn and that others are stealing when pirating.
In reality 99% of the people playing music wouldn't be able to do it if it wasn't for the same technology that is now making it impossible for them to make a living.
So deal with it and find a way to make money or quit. That's really all there is to say IMO.
I listen to music, I don't create it. This is not the choice that I face, and there's plenty else to say in terms of how I want to direct my attention and my dollars.
 at least, not for other people 
 or at least, they don't appreciate it when it is...
Many unions force companies to pay workers inflated wages which are well above the current rate.
Might as well pay royalties to sound engineers and producers, for that matter. To me it is a question of whether or not someone was a dedicated member to the group or simply someone who was hired to do a set job. I mean, some musicians do all the songwriting and playing, some are hired to play a given sheet music verbatim, etc. The latter is not very different from a sound engineer who is hired to work on one album for a fixed hourly pay.
It's kind of interesting how the musicians are the heroes of the music world and always the one that are focused on when it comes to "fair pay" etc, but the world of music isn't simply divided into the working musicians and the record label suits. Some people have suggested donating to the musicians directly instead of buying their albums (opting to pirate them instead), and that works of course the band was behind financing the whole album. If they weren't, though, then it glosses over some of the other players...
Multiply that by 1,000 Aerosmith fan's who bough a used CD, and you have 1 Million plays that generate $0.00 for the music industry.
I wonder if the Music industry feels that they are being treated unfairly by the Used CD Marketplace? Or how they feel about people just purchasing $4-$5 CDs used (S&H included) off of Amazon - the combination of low cost + convenience.
Ironically - in the last year, I signed up for iTunes Match ($25/year), so in theory, every time I listen to this CD the various contributors are once again receiving revenue.
The original purchaser bought it for full price, and assuming I'm a major artist like Aerosmith, that's big money in the aggregate. A cd isn't rent, it means you get to enjoy that stuff for as long as you own it. If the original purchaser wanted to transfer that ability to someone else even for free, I don't have a problem with it. I don't see cds as somehow being linked to the original person's lifespan, or a time-value of how long he's likely to listen to it. It's the existence of the cd, period. The fact that he got three bucks for it, more power to him.
Now, if he instead ripped the cd to continue his enjoyment and then sold or gave it away, to me that's the same as keeping the cd and letting you rip it (either for free, or for three bucks). That's not okay. He clearly liked it enough to "keep" it, so he should have kept it. In which case (if everyone else acted the same way), you would have bought a new copy, which means more money for the artist.
At any rate, you, by purchasing a used cd, did nothing "wrong" from any perspective in my book, because it can't be on you to ensure that the seller will no longer listen to or enjoy the music. But people that sell their used cds, technically they're stealing if they keep their rips after they sell it. Or at least "stealing", in the sense that it's the same as letting someone else rip/burn their copy.
Musicians were complaining about royalties and payment long before the internet was invented and they'll be complaining long after we're all gone. Keep that in mind when they act like streaming is the new scourge of music.
I'm sure the labels are very happy to keep making the same margins they used to with these new distribution channels. The music industry is doing fine here, it's just the artists who are getting a small piece of the pie.
As it stands I don't see how it would be possible for Pandora to ever do better than small profits.
 Not including salary.
20 years ago that and thousands of others songs wouldn't even have been played anywhere and definitely not a million times.
If you want to live off of making music or as an author or anything else you have to think like a publisher not an artist.
Playing music is a joy, something you can enjoy whether you make money or not from it.
Living from making music is an opportunity not a right.
Ironically that song was a hit exactly 20 years ago... so no, it managed to do just fine without a streaming service.
But yeah, I would never go back to the old model of radio and music only being on physical media. In fact, we can't at this point.
> Playing music is a joy, something you can enjoy whether you make money or not from it.
Other than an on average greater passion than in other professions, music sometimes has the potential to be "just a job". You might dream of coding the next greatest physics engine, but you are stuck making the same boring apps in a domain you don't care about. Similarly, you might dream of composing and playing rock operas but you are stuck doing crummy session work for R n B artists. It's not that R n B is bad, but not every musician is necessarily a person that has passion for all kinds of music and all kinds of gigs in the music industry.
But yeah, making a living from it is not a right, just like any profession.
Here's another thing I don't get thought. I listen to albums every day on Spotify. I also bought a few on iTunes. How much of that $9.99 does the artist get for my unlimited usage?
"If you don't understand that, you shouldn't even participate in the conversation."
This is childish. "If I can't conceive of any other perspective, then you shouldn't open your mouth!!!!"
If I can get a "test drive" of the music whenever I want, all the time, then yes, I'd be less likely to buy it. And so there's likely a crossover point where too "smart" streaming systems will cut into revenue. You see fear of that in e.g. last.fm's restrictions on number of skips per hour for the web player.
But it is pretty clear that a lot of peoples music buying habits involve first getting to know an artist or a specific song via exposure to it. All the music I buy comes as a result of that.
You can keep asserting what you like, but I don't think what I just said is unreasonable at all.
If you stay on a single station very long, you will hear it repeat. Their catalog simply isn't that large. I can name the THREE whole Calvin Harris songs I've heard in ALL of my EDM artist playlists on Pandora.
On the other hand, I've bought a ton of albums from new artists on Amazon that I'd found through those stations.
Of course, now Spotify is just superior in basically every way and I'll happily pay for it (Or Google Music, still debating)
But then mention it's a company selling music, and people shrug, "Oh, well music should be free anyway... The artists should be happy they get anything."
Separately, to your point about unfairness, I suspect that both radio and internet streaming prices are lower than what the market would set if the government didn't intervene.
I don't necessarily doubt it is more effective for certain things, like local events (although Pandora could move that direction I suppose). I'm just wondering why radio would be so much more effective. Is it because they have so many more ads per hour of play, and radio "personalities" to shill local stuff?
It's not like you have a natural right to prevent people from copying your stuff - we grant that right as a society, subject to very definitive limitations.
The real issue here is piracy -- if Pandora didn't have to compete with free, they could raise their prices and this whole issue would go away. As long as piracy exists, the price of music will be driven down. You can't blame Pandora for that.
Without congress, Pandora wouldn't have to negotiate with anyone at all, because there wouldn't be any copyright on the music to stop them.
You can argue that compulsory licensing is good or bad for artists/distributors/consumers in the long run, and it's an interesting debate. But it's not like there's some default natural right that is being violated here.
Pandora just bought an FM radio station in an effort to reduce its royalty rates.
Well, Pandora is a public company, so they have to disclose all that stuff. Which means we can look it up! Transparency is awesome.
According to their latest annual report (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9M...), in fiscal 2012 Pandora brought in $274 million on $285 million in operational expenses.
Of those expenses, $149 million were for content licensing. Product development accounted for $13 million.
Of the money they made, the vast majority ($240 million) came from advertising.
Edit: Also, these numbers aren't just cash. Revenue is realized when it's earned, not when it's actually paid. So, for example, if Pandora provides $50MM of advertising, and then bills that, it records $50MM of revenue, even if it hasn't received all of that yet. Instead of being counted in cash, it's counted in accounts receivable (commonly abbreviated as A/R). This adheres to GAAP (in the US).
If you truly want to support the artist, go to every single one of their concerts and buy three t-shirts.
I'm guessing I've bought dozens of CDs and gone to multiple concerts thanks to Pandora.
So, a payout (revenue; before expenses) of $1372 for 1,159,000 plays.
Well, let's look at it in terms of an album where all songs are played equally. In reality, some songs will be played more than others. Assume an album of 10 songs.
Okay, that's $1372 for 115,900 complete album plays.
Well, you can sell an album for $10. More, actually, but let's say $10 since that's the digital rate. And you hope for repeat listens out of an album... ten listens? 100 would be pretty great, actually, maybe that's a true fan.
Well, 115,900 complete album plays for $1372... at ten bucks apiece, that's akin to each purchase being played 1,000 times.
In other words - ignoring other benefits of Pandora - you don't want to use Pandora to "sell" your music unless you have reason to believe that album purchasers would listen to your album 1,000 times or more. Only at that time would Pandora be worth it.
That of course doesn't take Pandora's discovery benefit. I don't know if that would be enough to knock the numbers down to 100 or 10 album listens, but I suspect people often overestimate Pandora's discovery benefit. Just because a listener might discover a lot of new music doesn't mean that an artist gets a lot of new fans from Pandora.
Now, someone who makes a lot of money off of radio plays, and sees radio plays shrink as Pandora plays increase, they might still feel they have a beef due to the lower songwriter royalty rates.
Spotify, on the other hand, is different. Spotify does rob album sales.
Pandora's model actually works better for the artists, since there is metadata that could be used to spy on American citizens... whoops, wrong story; that could be used to connect to fans in markets the artist may not have had access to previously. Maybe Pandora should be selling that information to the artists and labels, although I don't know that they don't do that already.
Both radio and Pandora are more appropriately described as advertisement. Playback restrictions of both formats means that listening to something is not purely selective in the part of the listener. I can't request that Pandora play Cracker's Low, anymore than I can shout that request to my radio. However both give me exposure to music that I might not otherwise hear. Extra credit goes to Pandora for giving me easy access to the Artist, Album, and Song Title, as well as up sell links whereby I can purchase the music I'm listening to.
Pandora provides much more value than terrestrial broadcast - value for which the music industry should probably be paying Pandora. I fully appreciate the positron Pandora finds themselves in, but they aren't in a fair fight, and the artists that should be supporting them don't seem to understand that distinction for their own good.
Does anyone have information on what a radio station pays for one play of a song, when they have an audience of, say, 100,000?
Edit: ah, I should have finished reading the original link, they make the latter point well.
Footnote from this post: "He does clarify in the footnotes that $16.89 is only for 40% of the songwriting and there is a separate performance royalty, but certainly the headline & coverage could leave many with the impression that $16.89 was everything."
I'm not defending Lowery—he clearly wrote that post in an effort to draw negative attention to Pandora's practices—but he stated that the documents he threw online were outlining songwriting revenue—he made that delineation in the very first line of the post.
Not that have knowledge of royalty proportionality, but it also seems unfair to have royalty costs dwarf any other business costs. I have no idea how much it costs Pandora to stream a song, but if it's a fraction of the ~$0.0012/listen they seem to pay in royalties, it seems like the royalty is disproportionate and unfair. On the other hand, if the royalty is more than ~2 orders of magnitude less than cost to stream a song, then maybe there is an argument that it's too low.
(of course the above is assuming you agree with royalties at all.)
Why? Their business model is to take other people's work and distribute it to subscribers.
It seems to me that acquisition of the actual product should be the majority of their cost.
In any case, the content is only an aspect of the value, and without the value add many services would be rather useless. If the cost of content dwarfs the use's value add, something with potential becomes something untenable.
I mean without streaming, multiple platform support, browsing/searching, etc., what would Netflix be? The delivery method and interface themselves have value, and it's not insignificant at all.
Remember the purpose of copyright isn't to give creators rights. It's to drag as much out of them for as little cost as possible for the sake of the enrichment of society as a whole.
I guess maybe this would require a corollary of compulsory licensing, but I'm pretty sure that already exists to a large extent.
(I realize that this is more complicated than "70%", see https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A29FL26O...)
I think it's a sign of efficiency that a large portion of the money goes to content creators. Content creation will get cheaper as technology improves, sure, but in fields like music and writing, content creators struggle to make a decent wage. Therefore as content distribution technology improves, the percentage of money given to content creators should increase.
As well they should--it's an ultra-competitive field, swarming with competitors, the market is so flooded it makes New Orleans after Katrina look like a kiddie pool. Unless you're the cream of the cream of the crop, you're going to struggle in this industry. And not one of the content creators has an inherent 'right' to make a profit from their work. The market decides winners and losers, and inevitably in this market it's going to be mostly losers. Whether or not it's 'fair' is irrelevant, life isn't fair.
> The market decides winners and losers, and inevitably in this market it's going to be mostly losers.
But the problem is that royalty rates are decided by law, rather than by negotiation between interested parties. This isn't a market economy, this is a planned economy.
Those are the breaks. Copyright itself isn't a market economy, it's a "temporary" monopoly that's granted by the people and it comes with stipulations. The royalty rates perhaps aren't what the content creators would like them to be, but complaining about that when the term lengths for copyright are so outrageously generous just smacks of greed. For most working people, you get paid for your work once, and not for the rest of your life plus an additional 70 years.
This is a non-sequitur. "Musicians are paid royalties for the rest of their life plus 70 years, therefore they should not complain about how large the royalties are." Obviously if our top musicians earned $10 over a 120 year period they would rightly complain about wages. Also obvious is that a $2 million per year royalty due for a song whose composers died nearly 100 years ago is excessive and wrong.
What is not clear is how to pay musicians. Since you seem to care about this problem, suggest something.
I don't know much about the movie business, and I'm not sure about my predictions. But I wouldn't want to draw conclusions by narrowing my focus to big-budget Hollywood movies with traditional distribution models, especially if the newer content distribution technologies are disrupting that model.
I also wasn't trying to make a statement about absolute amounts.
So there is a cost to deliver songs (servers, bandwidth, devops, engineering) which is analogous to the old radio days of the engineer, power, transmitter, tower maintenance, etc. And there is the revenue from advertising and/or subscriptions. And there is the royalty rate.
If you are managing your on-going costs to a minimum, your ability to sell advertising/subscriptions is a market thing (people will or won't buy the service based on the perceived value to them) and then your royalties come out of that.
How would make an argument that royalty rates aren't pertinent?
I think royalties should be set in a way that maximizes what I'd call the versatility of utility. If royalty costs are far beyond the actual infrastructure or service costs, it seems as though entire industries and uses of content cease to exist.
It also seems pretty clear that huge differences between prices and real world costs are what lead to extensive piracy - people develop a perception of being cheated when you try to charge $25 for an e-book or album download. On the other hand most consumers seem to feel fine about paying $1 or $5 for a song/album/e-book.
You could argue that 'oh, the creator should have the right to control what they make as much as they want and charge whatever they feel like,' but it seems pretty clear that given free reign, copyright holders feel entitled and abuse copyright in ways that entirely undermine the whole system.
I'd say that if you believe in copyright there's a legitimate interest in restraining royalties to reasonable amounts so as reinforce the legitimacy of the whole system. After all, the perceptions of gouging and rights abuses create large masses of people like me who no longer believe in copyright as a whole to any great extent.
Ensuring the liberalization of restraints and apparent reasonableness of exercised privileges allowed creators seems key to creating a copyright institution that can survive and appear legitimate in the long run.
Hulu: 70% 
YouTube: 55% 
Google Adsense: 68% 
Spotify: 70% 
Everyone's gotta eat. What we're seeing now is the natural give and take within the industry adapting to new norms and business plans. From a higher level view, it's fascinating.
No I'm not. If something is not profitable, then do something else that is. Don't complain that you're not being paid enough.
No one is entitled to a meal in a capitalistic society. You have to "earn your keep" so to speak. Everyone does have to eat, but that doesn't mean you're entitled to eat off of your music. If music isn't working out maybe these artist should get a "real job".
Most of these artist are still following a a business model that is broken. I'm not sure why they feel they are so entitle to high income. Maybe it has something to do with that carrot that the record industry dangles out there. Every feels like they should be making Beyonce money or something. Why is it that radio royalties and album sales seem to be all they focus on when they get such a little cut anyway. It seems like building a following and then getting that following to pay to go to your concert and buy your merchandise directly is much more profitable.
There are some musicians that recognized they would never make as much as they would like in that business. Look at someone like 50 cent. He realized that royalty payments wouldn't be enough. From the start he created a brand around his name and his crew G-unit. From that they were able to sell clothing, get exclusive sneaker deals, negotiate for their own label, etc. With that money he invested in outside deals like Vitamin water which made him much more money than his music did when it was sold to Coca-Cola. This is someone that understands the business and how to leverage it to benefit you more than it benefits the industry.
It's been shown time and time again that artist do tend to get fucked, but it's not just internet radio providers doing said fucking. How much of the royalties get paid out to labels, managers, and anyone else that has their hands in the artist pocket. Maybe if they could negotiate better terms they would get a bigger piece of the royalty pie.
Look, I get paid what I think is a decent amount at my job. My employer has no obligation to pay me that much. They do it because I have valuable skills in a competitive market that they are willing to pay for. I also provide much more value than the salary that I earn. If for some reason those skills weren't desired or I wasn't able to make a living from them I would attempt to move on to something new.
I really don't know why I'm rambling so much. I do wish artist could make a living, but I don't think they are entitle do earn a living wage making music. Watching this industry try to keep their failing business models alive is pretty interesting though.
"Why do programmers feel so entitled to high payment? Why is this even a story?"
Unsuccessful or moderately successful musicians didn't make a lot even back then.
Now, musicians are basically fighting for attention among a greater number of competitors. The choices are more varied. The output per year has grown significantly and internet has brought international music into the fold further increasing competition for 'ear-time'.
This should make one ask the question: what is the worth of musicians? Why was the high figures of the last decades the 'right' level of earnings and why are they being 'ripped off' today? Is the alleged ripping off due to content delivery platforms (like Pandora) truly taking a larger cut of the revenues compared to delivery platforms of the past (record companies and retail distributors)?
It is not exactly pertinent to put past and present in the same basket, compare the numbers and bring out the pitchforks. Circumstances have to be looked at, and that little question of what the musicians are 'worth' needs to be thought about. What makes musicians worth more than a farmer or a checkout clerk. An even fairer comparision - why is their an income discrepancy between a successful musician and a successful calligrapher. If the worth is more, the market will decide. A given musician will have to continue making music despite low pay if music is their true love. If not, time for career change.
The music industry and consumption is maturing. Musicians need to do the same. There's no point fighting the ebbs and flow of the market by crying foul.
My opinions here are bound to be 'polarizing'. Do discuss.
Meaning: all this "1 million of anything must be worth tons" isn't really what everything should be all about.
For frame of reference compare Sirius XM paid me $181.00
Terrestrial (FM/AM) radio US paid me $1,522.00
All the artist cares about is how much it gets at the end of the day.
patent issued... demo built and tested... its called a pooled-user-determined account which forms the root for an internet wallet.
I'm a terrible entrepreneur but despite that the concept seems to be making progress... especially for its potential in lobbying.
There are way too many hands in the cookie jar and it's way too easy for artists to connect directly with fans and sell to them directly. The current model serves the labels and associated organizations.