Lance Cleveland

Streaming Royalties Estimates for 2015


According to various stats collected from the top streaming services, there were about 1.03 trillion music streams in the first 6 months of 2015.   With the growth of streaming it is a safe bet that the total streams in 2015 will easily hit the 2.2 trillion mark by year-end.

Here is what those numbers mean in terms of royalties collected.

Sound Exchange

Sound Exchange collects money on behalf of the “recording artist” (musicians, producers, etc.) and pays the copyright holder, the people holding the rights to the “master”, according to rates set by a quasi-governmental rates board.   They are supposed to collect for all digital transmissions of music played by organizations that qualify for the statutory rate*.

* Statutory rate compliance means ALL MUSIC played online via non-interactive (no audio-on-demand/play what you want when you want) streaming services.   It is not clear what on-demand services pay but they may be negotiating rates directly with the copyright holders.

In 2015 the typical rate paid via Sound Exchange for companies that qualify for the statutory rate of $0.0024/play yields $5.25B in royalties collected by Sound Exchange on a projected 2.2 trillion streams (2x the 6 month figure presented above).

Sound Exchange operates with a 4.9% “maintenance fee” on all funds collected.  In 2015 this will put $258.7M in the Sound Exchange coffers.

The PROs

The PROs, most notably ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI, collect money from just about anyone anywhere that plays music.   They collect for every performance in order to pay the owners of the musical work, the notes and lyrics for a song.   They collect from the local bar or restaurant for playing a song.   They collect from streaming services.   If you hear music these people get involved in collecting cash for their members.

Since there really is no “typical rate” for these organizations, we can only estimate the royalties collected.   To complicate matters these organizations have a hard time figuring out which “flavor” of a song they represent so they tend to just “blend it all together” and the “customer” ends up paying all the major PROs based on a generic formula.

However, we can assume that the rates are the same as what Sound Exchange collects to give us a point of reference.   While this is often not true due to “percentage of revenue” contracts that make “free streams” a HUGE issue, we need some measure of performance here.

At 2.2 trillion streams we end up with the same $5.2B in royalties collected for song writers.   If it were divided properly among the “big three” PROs this would put about $1.7B into each organization to be re-distributed.

ASCAP deducts their operating expenses of 11.3% from their $1.7B cut.  That puts about $327M in the ASCAP coffers for 2015.

Music Streaming and Social Media Stats Aug 2015

iPod BattleIPodBattle” by Maxime Felder – originally posted to Flickr as iPod Battle 2. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


A summary of the SonicBids Blog article:

Streaming Plays

Streaming total plays through June 2015:
According to via Pandora, Rdio, Soundcloud, Vevo, Vimeo, and YouTube stats.


Presence on Instagram increased from 51M in June 2014 to 283M in May 2015.   Artists’ Instagram followers were up 6-fold in that period.


Social Media By Genre

FaceBook page likes: #1 Nicky Jam
Soundcloud plays: #1 Drake
Spotify streams: #1 Calvin Harris



WordPress Malware – Active VisitorTracker Campaign – Sucuri Blog

If you are running your web presence on WordPress you will want to know about this. The method used to get the JavaScript code onto your site and redirect to a malware installer is not yet know. The fingerprints, however, are easily detectable. Share this article with your site or system admin so they can scan your WordPress install and remove the malware if necessary.

WordPress Malware – Active VisitorTracker Campaign – Sucuri Blog

We are seeing a large number of WordPress sites compromised with the “visitorTracker_isMob” malware code. This campaign started 15 days ago, but only in the last few days have we started to see it gain traction; really affecting a large number of sites. Here is a quick snapshot of what we’re seeing with the infection rates.

Read More at:

Streaming Services Have 99 Problems. And They Are…

Streaming Services Have 99 Problems. And They Are…


(1) Artists make little-to-nothing off of streaming services.

(7) Streaming services pay the labels, who typically pay nothing to the artists.

(13) Streaming services suck at proper accounting and payouts.

(18) Streaming services are actively hostile towards artists and their financial well-being.

(20) Streaming services lack transparency.

(23) Not enough people want to pay for streaming music services.

(28) There are too many streaming services competing for too few dollars.

(31) Very few streaming services (subscription or otherwise) actually make money.

(37) The streaming music micro-industry is probably a bubble.

(42) Streaming kills downloads, which make more money for artists.

(51) Given the myriad of problems associated with streaming services, superstar artists are signing massive, mega-million exclusives to major corporations (U2+Apple, Jay-Z+Samsung).

(52) Artists and copyright owners typically have little-to-no control over their content on YouTube, easily the largest streaming music platform.

(60) All of which translates into extremely low payouts from YouTube, little explanation into why these payouts are so low, and little-to-no control by rights owners over whether their music appears on the platform.

(62) Streaming services don’t contribute anything back to artists or the artist community.

(65) User abandonment on streaming services is extremely high.

(67) Internet radio pays almost nothing to artists, and little to publishers.

(78) SoundExchange is an inept company that routinely screws up artist royalties, screws up payouts, and hordes tons of unpaid royalties.

(88) When it comes to streaming services, indie labels generally get screwed.

(92) The DMCA is a ineffective loophole that greatly benefits companies like YouTube and Grooveshark, absolutely screws artists and rights owners, and desperately needs to be reformed.

(98) Most of the music on streaming platforms are never listened to.

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