While short and not very deep in content, I appreciate this recent article in FAST COMPANY in that it contains a few telling quotes from the CEOs of the major streaming services such as MOG, RDIO and of course, Spotify. The sheer fact that none of these CEOs can give a more detailed response to how artists get paid from streaming services goes straight to the heart of the issue.
These deals are being done with the labels…who only have their own interests in mind. The artists are left to pick up what little piece of the pie that’s left based on, quite often, not so artist friendly deals cut with said labels. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the labels and their need to find ways to make up lost revenue from CD and download sales, but until there’s more equality in how the label shares this sort of revenue (streaming) with their artists, it’s a mirror of what’s happened to artists time and time again in the past.
All that said, the benefit for artists comes in the opportunity for potential new fans to come into your world, to sign up to your email list or attend a show, so there’s a benefit even if it comes at a lost sale.
In the end, the fan will consume based on what their natural habits develop into. If that’s buying the CD at a store or a show, that’s great. But if it’s simply a casual first listen on Spotify, that grows into an uber fan over time, that’s a huge win for the artist (and anyone involved with them).