Never mind click fraud — your article nicely demonstrates how the “Big Pool” method, by itself, robs independent artists to pay the superstars. Tragically, this method compounds (or helps to explain) the problem of the “Fat Head” eating the “Long Tail” of music retail, as proposed by Robert Cookson, last year. [http://blogs.ft.com/tech-blog/2014/03/why-the-music-industrys-fat-head-is-eating-its-long-tail/]
For those unfamiliar, your “mission impossible” math hints at the promise of the Long Tail — a sustainable music career made not by million-dollar hits, but by slow, steady streaming activity from a dedicated fan base of perhaps only a few thousand. [Multiply success by catalog volume and things begin to get interesting.] But, as you point out, the Big Pool demands an unrealistic fan base from indie artists. Another opportunity to inspire young talent, to encourage competition, and to revitalize our industry is being lost.