How To Make Streaming Royalties Fair(er)
Sharky Laguana

Real Numbers from the Proposed Alternative Streaming Model

I was fascinated by @sharkyl’s post on How To Make Streaming Royalties Fair(er).

Here’s a crude summary:

Current Model:

All user subscription fees go into one pot.

Streaming service takes 30% off the top

The remaining 70% gets divvied out to artists* depending on their percentage of overall plays on the platform

* “artists”. Money usually goes to label.

Proposed Model:

Your individual subscription fee goes into a pot

Streaming service takes 30% off top (same as always)

The remaining 70% gets divvied out to artists that you listened to, depending on their percentage of your overall plays

Really, it’s worth reading @sharkyl’s original article. I was interested in the general concepts, but wanted to see the tangible numbers of how this would look for my listening habits.

I stream exclusively through Rdio (let’s be friends), which scrobbles my song plays to

So I went to and pulled my last 12 months of song play history, and threw it into a spreadsheet.

For the artists I’ve listened to over the past year, I calculated the current payout model (~$0.007/stream) and the alternative payout model (my subscription fees/percentage of my streams).

Here are the results for my Top 20 artists:

Full results with all artists here:

Over the last 12 months, I’ve streamed songs 2,936 times.

My personal payable subscription pot is $83.92 (70% of $9.99/mo for a year).

So my streaming rate per song is calculated at $0.0285817.

If I streamed less than 2,936 songs, than my stream rate would be higher. And vice versa.

You can see that I’ve been binge listening to David Ramirez the last year (actually, just the last few months). I’ve been going through a hard time, okay? ☺

On the old payout system, that results in about $1.58 in his bank account.

On the proposed payout, that would result in $6.46. Still not a lot. He probably couldn’t buy a sandwich with that.

But it’s more than 4 times the original payout.

Personal rant on the hope of continuing returns from streams

Maybe a few years ago I would have paid $10 for his CD. As an independent artist, it probably would have cost him $1 to create that. So $9 in his pocket. (simplifying things here).

Just over the last few months (on the proposed model), I streamed $6.46 worth. I will likely continue listening to David Ramirez for years to come, and in a few months will probably surpass that $9 that would have come from a one-time album purchase.

It’s still not a lot of money, but it gives me hope (and less guilt) that albums that I love and continually play will receive more than an album I bought, listened once and never again.

Questions, comments, or just want to say hi? Would love to talk.
@webmusicguy or b [at]

Brendan is the Director of Product at Front Gate Tickets in Austin, Texas.

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