Streaming Income

I was thinking about how most music discovery is via streaming services rather than radio these days, and how that compares for the indie musician.  For commercial radio or television, the royalties to composers is in the hundreds of dollars, but this is usually broadcast to a mass audience.  The streaming situation is different in that people can choose which tracks to listen to and the audience is one person.

Current streaming services pay copyright owners up to 2 cents per play, with many sites paying a tiny fraction of a cent.  The lower end of these rates is definitely too low, and the upper end is a rate that I consider to be reasonable.  If you imagine the purchase of a typical track for a dollar, if it is a favourite, it will be listened to hundreds of times, whereas a track that was purchased but not really liked may only get a couple of plays.  The majority of tracks would be somewhere between those extremes, so maybe at 100 plays, making it 1c per play.  So any pricing scheme that is at about 1c per play is fair.  This is only a rough estimate, but I think it’s a reasonable one.