I hate to make you think twice about pursuing your dreams of becoming a superstar musician, but this is one of the most grim sign-of-the-times stories I've seen in a while. David Lowery is a songwriter and musician who's song "Low" has been played over a million times on Pandora, not to mention 152,000 views on Youtube and 116,000 plays on Spotify. And for all that, he has apparently earned only $30.89, and only $16.89 from Pandora alone.
You might be quick to pounce on Pandora after reading this, but not so fast. Derek Thompson over at The Atlantic points out that Pandora is not only following all the rules stipulated by royalty regulations, but the company is still losing money like crazy, and has come close to shutting down many times over the years. Thompson accurately portrays the fight between artists, listeners and the recording industry as something like a paradox.
"When we hear that our musicians aren't rich, we feel indignant," he writes. "When our Internet music sites threaten to close down because of 'excessive royalty rates,' we feel indignant."
In a way, this translates into good news for the consumer. As we've already begun to see, more and more artists are throwing in the towel so-to-speak and simply offering their albums for free, at least for a little while through streaming. The downside to this approach is less money that serves as the artist's livelihood, which could mean less quality music. Sure, a free album or mixtape might earn some much-needed exposure, but exposure is not going to put food on the table or pay the bills.
Clearly, the industry is very much still in transition. So in the meantime, keep buying albums and going to shows if you want to keep hearing good music.
© 2012 GOWHERE — All Rights Reserved
"The Second Coming of the Christ comes not as an individual being but as collective realization. The Second Coming occurs within our hearts."