Adweek recently reported that streaming music provider Pandora paid Sony / ATV Music Publishing $2,700 for artist Pharrell Williams’ 2014 track of the year, “Happy.” The money was split between the publishing company and Pharrell, leaving him and his sweet hats a tiny check of $1,350. How is that even legal? Well, this is the murky world of digital publishing and depending on who you work for in the music industry, it’s saving or killing music. Hint: It’s not doing either.
What is a fact, is that it’s probably generating more for the services–Pandora was valued at over 5 billion dollars in 2013 and their stock soared recently, due to buy out speculation–than the artists, if 1 million plays of a song generates around $17. Seriously, this piece by David Lowery of the band Cracker broke the whole thing down. Lowery explains how his song “Low” received over 1 million plays, and Pandora hooked him up with a check for $16.89.
Whatever, we all like having access to everything asap and for free, plus music start ups have cool open-concept offices with ping pong tables and free FitBits for everyone, so this doesn’t mean much to the average human, but you could consider this stealing and no one wants to be robbed, right? But if the music industry can’t ante up enough money for Pharrell to continue to have a sustainable career making pop songs, can you imagine what dog shit is going to replace him for a fraction of the overhead?
Be terrified, invest in streaming/stealing music apps, and don’t ever consider actually making music, if you’d like to make money of course. I can’t believe it, but I feel bad for Skateboard P.