While there are certainly people who know far more than I, I think I probably know a little more than you appear to be giving me credit for. I appreciate your “few years” in music licensing gave you some experience and insight. I have been actively engaged with the music industry since the early 90's. I’ve been a major label artist, signed major publishing deals, licensed a lot of music, worked for streaming music startups, and have started a few music companies myself, most notably Bandago which is the largest provider of tour vans to the music industry in the United States.
OK so let’s get to the substance of your remark:
Your description of how the Big Pool works is not accurate: advertising rates are not blended in with subscription revenue, and then the combined revenue pool is divided by the number of all clicks. Rather it’s separate for each: overall premium subscriber revenue is divided by overall premium clicks, and overall freemium advertising revenue is divided by overall freemium clicks. If it was the way you described than it would be very simple to manipulate the system: anyone with a free subscriber account could direct the monies of premium subscribers by streaming constantly.
I’m aware the rate changes every month. In fact I’ve reviewed US copyright section 115 disclosures made by Spotify and I have doen the analysis to show how much each service level (premium and freemium) contributes to that variable per-stream rate:
The result is that premium streams actually pay more than $0.007 per stream. So why do I use $0.007? Because that’s the number Spotify references on a regular basis in their public communication, and if I use any number besides that I will get a million comments from people saying I’m using the wrong number. And the actual amount of the number is irrelevant, so I don’t need everyone getting hung up on something that is not material.
The core of your argument lies here: “[I’m not] leaving the rest of my subscription money ‘up for grabs.’ My subscription money pays for access to ALL the music.”
This is an argument I hear periodically which is usually brought up in a “cable TV” context. The argument being that your fee is paying not just for the channels you use, but also the right to access channels you don’t use. So let’s be straight: you won’t find reference to “access fees” anywhere in any contract around streaming music. This is an after-the-fact statement of the purported philosophy behind the big-pool which has no actual legal rights behind it. The statement falls flat the minute you walk out the door: if it’s an access fee, then why does it get smaller the more I access? And if I listen to more than 1,000 tracks in a month, why does it become a negative number? In other words, I’m not only NOT paying to access tracks I’m not listening to, I’m actually taking other people’s payments, and directing them towards the artists I listen to.
The truth is you are paying to listen to artists. You pay 30% for the infrastructure (you can call this the access fee if you like). And the other 70% goes to artists. The question is should 70% of your money go to the artists you listen to, or should it go to artists that other peple listen to?