Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

No grounds for complaint

Unlike the bad old days, artists now have access to all the data and metrics they need about streaming – it’s just a case of asking for it

Dan Le Sac's survey shows artists know some things but not everything about streaming revenue and royalties

Fri, May 23, 2014, 09:45


Some complaints pop up in music interviews again and again. Talk long enough to any band who’ve been burned by the music industry, for instance, and you’ll hear a litany of woes about what happened and what-could-have-been.

When acts grumble about things which went sour in the past with deals, you tend to sympathise a little. Many didn’t have a clue what they were getting into and never quite grasped the idea of independent advice.

It’s a much different situation today. One of the most welcome aspects of the move to digital sales and revenue is that every single digital platform can provide you with a spreadsheet of your sales per week, per territory or per whatever other metric comes to mind. Acts and labels may be drowning in data as a result but at least, they have the facts and figures to hand.

All of which makes the new survey from Dan Le Sac and Complete Music Update about artists and streaming revenues so interesting. 50 per cent of artists knew how much their label was receiving per play from Spotify, but the same didn’t apply to other platforms like Deezer, Rdio, Vevo or YouTube.

Naturally, the survey shows that most artists believe streaming royalties to be too low, but it’s fascinating that the majority are not aware of what they get from the biggest streaming platform of all. YouTube is the go-to for many people when they want to check out an act or song and yet the artists have prioritised Spotify, chiefly perhaps because that service has become the whipping boy in the streaming royalty debate.

At a time when artists have all the forensic data in the world to hand, they really should take the time to study it. They might not like what it says, but they ignorance of the facts are not grounds for grumbling.