In 2012, the average yearly spend on recorded music per person in the U.S. was only $43.33 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A Spotify or similar subscription is $9.99 per month or almost $120 per year! And about 70% is paid out to rights holders.
This is not about per stream rates, downloads vs. streams, albums vs. tracks, CDs vs. digital. This is about exploiting the attention economy.
Think about it this way: Subscription revenue is divided on a pro rata share. If you have a great album and a lot of people spend time listening to it on a subscription service you will earn a big share of the pot. If you have only one big track you will earn a bit less. If you have music that most people don’t listen to as much as other music you will earn even less.
What your takeaway should be here is to stop trying to calculate per-use rate and rather focus on how much time people spend with your music — the rest will follow. Wait until there are 10 million paying subscribers on Spotify. And then 20 million. And then 30 million.
We are never going back to the old way. We suggest you go with the flow. Or stream.