Streaming services are frequently criticized for their failure to properly compensate artists, but when it comes to the major labels, its a very different story. The more things change, the more they stay the same...
Guest Post by Bobby Owsinski on Music 3.0
Who says that there’s no money in streaming? It seems that all of those micro-payments add up after all as Universal Music Group is making about $3.9 million per day just from streaming music, according to its parent Vivendi’s first quarter earnings statement.
In fact, UMG’s streaming revenue was up almost 60% over the previous quarter, which amounted to more income than from downloads, which were down 32% from the year before. Yes, it’s true, fewer and fewer people want downloads after they experience the joys of streaming.
With all things factored in, streaming was responsible for 34% of UMG’s total income, versus 22% for downloads, and a surprising 27% for physical product.
So here’s the scary part – the first quarter of the year is usually rather quiet in terms of front line releases by the company’s major stars, and this year was no exception. That more or less plays into the streaming increase since there are fewer sales. But with Drake absolutely crushing it with his latest release (he just posted the records for most streams in a week – 247 million), which isn’t counted in the report, it looks like that increase will continue on a similar trajectory.
Of course, the real real issue here isn’t how much Universal Music made, since we know that labels do better than OK from streaming revenue, it’s how much it actually paid out to its artists. That will continue to be the problem going forward, as the record label is always the main repository of revenue from just about any distribution sources. It’s then up to the artist (and his legal representatives) to have a strong deal in hand to get a fair piece of that income.
Still, you can bet that the majority of that income stays in the hands of the label. Some things just never seem to change, regardless if we’re living in Music 4.1 or not.