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Further Dividing the Penny

Those that publish their music on streaming services such as Spotify know all too well that the revenue per play is less than one penny. Many justify these nominal payments because of the possibility of indirect revenue from the exposure of having a popular song on one of these services. However, as Spotify looks to pay musicians even less, bands may find it harder to justify providing content to services that are disingenuous in their revenue sharing.

So what can musicians unhappy with these developments do? For one, they can await the outcome of the Federal Trade Commision complaint filed against Spotify. A ruling in favor of songwriters could restore previously established royalty rates.

Alternatively, many artists are choosing to opt out of these huge streaming services and direct fans to their own websites and apps. At first blush, this seems like a crazy idea as it goes against the conventional logic of having your music next to top selling artists potentially brings those millions of ears to you. However, Spotify has now been around for over 15 years. We have enough data to interrogate this assumption. According to an analysis by Music Business Worldwide, 78% of all artists on Spotify have fewer than 50 monthly listeners. More than likely, these 50 listeners were already aware of these artists, not fans of Taylor Swift that then stumbled upon a similar sounding unsigned singer.

Given this, it may actually be wiser for indie artists to focus on their core audience than trying to expand their audiences by leasing their music practically for free to a tech company that doesn't fully appreciate their art.

If you would like our help transitioning your music to a site you control, feel free to contact us. We can go over with you any recording contracts or distribution deals you may have entered to figure out how and when you can pull your content from streaming services and discuss what rights you have to sell music from your own website or app.

Don't be afraid to take back control over your own content. Music stream services only have the power you give them. After all, a music stream service is not a music stream service without musicians, but a musician is absolutely still a musician without streaming services. You can do it!

Blog posts do not constitute legal advice nor representation. Consult us or another attorney of your choosing before acting.

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