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Want to see my royalty statement showing payments from Pandora, Spotify, etc?

There are tons of articles about music streaming sites like Pandora, Spotify, etc in relation to recording artists making money or not. Here’s a screen capture of my quarterly royalty statement. 14,227 performances of music (almost every track 100% owned by me) generated $4.20. Notice one performance of “Ceremonies” or “Distant Lands” streaming radio show like Hearts of Space that brings in 26 cents for the full writer’s share compared to 2,088 performances of “Gypsy Rain” on Spotify that brought in a total of 60 cents.  Someone’s making money, and in true fashion with the music industry, it’s not the artists. Business practices like this are one of the reasons I jumped ship and only write for television now.

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Comments

  • John Tuttle on said:

    You’re obviously using the “Grammy Nominated” title as if it carries some privilege or prestige. You were in a band for 4 of the 13 years it was together and during that period one of their albums was nominated for a Grammy. Before your tenure, they had not only been nominated for a Grammy, but won one as well. And need I remind you that Milli Vanilli were not only nominated for a Grammy but won one two years prior. It’s been a long time since that title implied any level of prestige.

    During a one month period, the entire catalog of music for which you are entitled compensation for was played 14,227 times. Let’s average that out to around 475 plays a day, for your entire catalog. Which means that your entire catalog reached, at a maximum, 475 people in a 24 hour period. And that’s a stretch since it’s based on that fact that each play is by a unique individual. So, let’s just use 400 and say your entire catalog of music reached 400 people in a given day.

    Do you really feel those are numbers worthy of a windfall of royalties?

    • Armen Chakmakian on said:

      The words “Grammy Nominated” aren’t in the title or on this page. I know Shadowfax’s history well, but thank you for summarizing their GRAMMY® history and your interest in my post. You’re obviously a fan of the band.

      To answer your question about me feeling if the numbers you stated are “worthy of a windfall,” you’d first have to define “windfall.” What I do believe is that it’s fair to say that this model pays EXTREMELY low compared to the other ways an artist can generate money with their music? I’m fortunate enough to make a living writing for television. For those who make a living as recording artists, which is difficult enough, this model of non-interactive and interactive streaming makes it even more difficult for them to make money. This generation of recording artists has it much tougher. I’m finding out from my younger friends who write for music libraries and my peers who are trying to break into that scene that writing library music is the new “getting signed.”

  • Pingback: Bette Midler Critiques Pandora, Spotify: ‘Impossible for Songwriters to Earn a Living’ | Trending Fever

  • Zach on said:

    Here’s the problem: Each time your song streams, it streams to one person (assuming people are playing this on their computer or smartphone on the way home from work, and not playing it for a crowd, which I think is generally reasonable). This is not like AM/FM, where it goes to potentially thousands of people at a time.

    Look, I totally support artists getting paid a fair amount – and getting small checks like that probably stinks. But if you want Pandora to pay you more each time they stream your songs, guess what? Pandora is not going to be around, and your small checks will get smaller. And if I’m reading your royalty statements right, they’re contributing more to those checks than other services.

    I’m not going to argue the system is great. I will say that all the people saying Pandora pays crap should reconsider whether asking them for more is going to be like killing the goose laying the golden eggs.

    And for the record, no, I don’t work for Pandora, before you ask. Just a fan.

  • Armen Chakmakian on said:

    Thanks for the comment Zach. There’s definitely a goose, but it’s not laying golden eggs. Financially speaking, if the Pandora goose were killed, I don’t think a large community of artists would notice – certainly not in the way that Pandora users would notice. Pandora, Spotify, etc. are a dream come true for music lovers. The exposure for the artists receiving performances from these services though – that doesn’t seem to be directly nor indirectly generating income. That’s not a complaint, that’s just a reply to those who say “Well, at least they get a lot of exposure.”

    >And if I’m reading your royalty statements right,
    >they’re contributing more to those checks than other services.

    Unless I’m mistaken, it looks like it’s Live 365 that’s contributing more.

    >I’m not going to argue the system is great.
    Yes, it seems levels below “great.” I’m not sure it’s even “good” in its current model.

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