As an independent artist with music on Apple Music and Spotify, I’ll say that your aticle raises some valid points, but you make some incorrect assumptions and your solution only creates more problems. Yes, this big-pot method of divvying up royalties is unfair, and most artists with music on these services get squat from streaming royalties, while the minority (the “biggest names in music”) get a substantial payday. In fact, most artists these days — thanks to file sharing and free streaming — make far below minimum wage and it’s at our own expense that we create, as it’s definitely not worth our time financially.
The incorrect assumptions you make is about the amount people get away with click fraud in streaming services, specifically on Apple Music and Spotify. The band publishing silent tracks and instructing fans to play them on repeat is a rare incident that does indeed screw over fellow artists, but it wouldn’t have been so sensational unless it was a rare occurence. Both Spotify and Apple Music take measures to verify that artists are real and publishing real content. They only publish artists whose content is uploaded to them by verified distributors and labels who also have measures in place to verify real artists and their content. As an independent artist, I had to pay money and jump through hoops before I was verified by first my distributor and then by the stores and streaming sites my music was distributed to.
Now, as another comment said, your “solution” only adds to the problem, because you propose to do the exact thing you are complaining about, and it does not even the field. It screws over a substantial amount of us who put hours of physical and mental labor, not to mention our hearts and souls, into our art only to get paid .0007-or-whatever-per-click, and the money is generally not coming from people. Spotify has advertisers and subscribers only pay (currently) around 0.99 per month for a premium subscription, not $10.00 a month. You’re thinking of Apple Music, who have offered everyone a 3-month free trial, so chances are that pretty much no one has paid a cent for this new service as of yet and won’t until October.
In short, most of your claims are uninformed or invalid and unresearched. The only reality of this article is that most artists don’t make diddly-squat from the big-pot royalty system.