In this new magnificent world of technology and innovation consumers are spoiled with all sorts of luxuries. Movie lovers no longer have to go out and walk or drive to a local Blockbuster to rent a film. The convenience of services such as Netflix and Hulu drove companies like Blockbuster completely out of business. Music lovers don’t need to go out and buy their favorite music song by song or album by cd or record; all they have to do is buy a subscription to Spotify or Apple and listen to music all they want. Compared to the cost of buying songs by the album, music streaming services are significantly cheaper. And although this is great for the buyer, many of us rarely consider the creators of the music we so fondly consume.
Four years ago, the popular artist Taylor Swift pulled the vast majority of her songs off of Spotify. Swift states that she did so because of how little the payout was for all the work that was put into her music and encouraged other artists to follow her example. Yet, the last thing that’s on any of our minds when we listen to music is how much money the artists are making on these services. Some artists spend years making an album, putting in unimaginable work, just for us to listen to it all we want for virtually next to nothing.
To have music downloaded onto our devices we can download one of the many services such as Apple Music or Spotify and pay a measly ten-dollars a month or we could pay absolutely nothing to search songs on YouTube and enjoy them. With streaming being the more popular way of obtaining music, it makes you wonder just how much money artists are now making.
A chart released by Digital Music News shows the amounts different services pay their artists per stream. It shows that the service with the most users (YouTube) pays the least amount of money, giving their artists $0.0006 per stream. For an artist looking to make money on YouTube, it would take 2.4 million views just to make minimum wage. The chart continues to list off the statistics of many other services: Pandora pays $0.0011, Spotify $0.0038, and Apple $0.0064 per stream.
The amount artists get paid through these services is near nothing. It’s no wonder why Taylor Swift would secede from Spotify: the pay simply does not compensate all the effort and work put in. If a star as big as Taylor Swift believes they’re being underpaid, then the musicians who are just beginning to make their way into the scene are really in trouble. These artists aren’t even earning a hundred percent of the money they earn. Their contracts probably entitle them to about fifteen percent of what they have earned. So if you feel proud that you listened to your favorite artist’s songs a hundred times on Apple, you’ve only given them about a dime.
Sadly, these services are just too good to give up. Not many of us have the money, but if you really want to support your artist, buy an album, or better, go out and treat yourself to a concert. It’s a way for you to enjoy yourself while still allowing your artist to do what we love them for.