In April 2018, one of the top streaming services made its $30 billion debut on the stock exchange and resurrected a familiar debate in the music industry: While streaming services have become a de facto way for fans to discover and enjoy music, lesser-known entertainers are finding it difficult to make a living.
While the “per stream” payout from a streaming service can vary, the average for one popular streaming service in 2016 was $0.0046524—and it’s trending downward. Additionally, that pay goes to all “rights holders,” which includes labels and publishers, meaning that, at the end of the day, an artist will likely see even less money.
The economics are stark: Based on the average payout above, an artist whose song is played 100,000 times in a month could make less than $500.
Emerging technologies more often associated with finance than with the arts could offer an antidote. Earlier this year, The Music Fund was formed to help artists turn their musical creativity into cold, hard cash. The tech? Big data analysis.