It's no secret that musicians only get a fraction of a cent for streaming their songs on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and similar services. However, this may soon change. As a result, musicians' pay will rise, and users will have to pay more – but not immediately.
UC Irvine expert Peter Krapp has calculated that a musician needs about 4 million Spotify streams to reach the California minimum wage.
But last weekend, the US Copyright and Royalties Court ruled that musicians should get more for their songs.
Now owners of streaming services have to pay 15% to music publishers. This is the largest percentage in history (and 43% higher than it is now). Previously, this figure was at least 10%.
National Association of Music Publishers CEO David Isralight commented on the changes as follows:
This decision is the result of two years of legal research about how unfair songwriters are under current legislation and what a significant share of the profits they bring to streaming services.
For big streaming companies like Spotify and Apple Music, this is bad news: they're not making a profit anyway. And head of Apple Music Jimmy Iovine last year called streaming “not the best business.”
However, do not rush to cancel your subscription: this does not mean at all that due to changes in the terms of payments to musicians, prices per month of listening will skyrocket due to the desire of companies to maintain profits. Over the next few years, prices will definitely rise, but not at all due to the fact that musicians will receive a little more.
Spotify and other companies have already reached an agreement with music publishers. The point is that the 10% mentioned was the recommended rate. Apple Music and Spotify already paid publishers 15% or more, which is in line with current legislation.
However, the researchers point out that the cost of subscriptions will increase in the next 5-7 years. At least in the long term, Spotify, Apple Music and similar services will try to do this – as the services get better and offer more possibilities. For example, Spotify is already gradually adding new multimedia formats such as video and news to the application.
Each of these services now offers a huge amount of content – up to tens of millions of songs. However, this will soon become commonplace and will not be seen as an advantage. In the future, buyers will be willing to pay more for additional features.
However, this change in legislation is no less important for musicians who have fought for their rights for many years.