How a math trick helped one band made 500% more in streaming music royalties

Originally published at: How a math trick helped one band made 500% more in streaming music royalties | Boing Boing


Should one of those “outside”s read “inside”? If not, I don’t know how to parse this.


How a math trick helped one band made 500% more in streaming music royalties

It sounds to me that the “math trick” was how to steal fair music royalty compensation from the bulk of artists. Getting paid fairly is not a “trick”. Stealing other peoples money is a “trick”.

Makes me wonder about “user centric” compensation model for US manufacturing, where line workers would receive an amount of revenue equal to the percentage of work they put into the making of the product…


Set aside for a moment the issue of bots. In the pro-rata model they are averaging all income over all artists for a period of time. It’s one giant average for the whole system. In the fan-powered model, it’s averaging by artist and fan, but for the whole system it’s the same amount of total income and payout. And if the proportion of payout is by number of plays, in the pro-rata model, wouldn’t the band have gotten the same payout, but it would be averaged over all listeners, instead of the just the fans? The fan-powered model does seem to establish more of a bond between listeners and bands, but in terms of payout, are the models that different? I don’t know.

When you add in the bots though, that could make a difference. If it swings the average over to the artists that are most popular because that makes the bots more money, that would clearly change things. But not being a music creator, I don’t really understand what the bots do.

Wait a second: if I pay 10$ and my 10$ goes to every artist I played, how does that help an artist using bots? They would only get the 10$ the bots paid to sign up for the service and nothing from legitimate users, right?

1 Like

So both the “user-centric” (a.k.a “fan-powered”) formula that’s being touted here and the more-common “pro-rata” formula use number of plays to decide who gets paid. But “pro-rata” gives more control to users who play more tracks. If every user streamed exactly 1000 tracks per month, the two formulas would match.

Do I have that right?

(Also, minor nit: if a user paid $10 a month in a “user-centric” system and played only one artist, then that artist would get all of that user’s artist payment, but it would be less than $10. The streaming service also gets some money. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that that’s their whole motivation.)

1 Like

One would think the one little trick was to get people who listen to you to subscribe to the service that is optimal for the individual artist.

The point is that it helps under the other system, not the fan-powered model.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.