The verdict is still out on whether streaming music services provide artists with the same sort of dividends as pay-per-song services like iTunes competitors, but according to Pandora that gap is rapidly closing.
Pandora CEO Tim Westergren took to the company's blog today and wrote a post called "Pandora and Artist Payments" which detailed how the streaming service is allowing artists who don't notch a spot on the Billboard charts or get heavy radio play make a decent living. Westergren mentions artists like French Montana, who this year will make $138,567 from Pandora.
That's pretty good for an artist who has yet to drop an official album.
The craziest part of Westergren's blogpost, however, comes when he discusses how much big-name acts like Coldplay, Adele, Lil Wayne, and Drake are raking in. According to his accounting, two of Cash Money's stars will each make something close to $3 million over the next twelve months.
So is the tide changing? It seems to be.
Back in March, former Facebook president and Spotify investor, Sean Parker, told an audience at a SXSW panel that Spotify is "returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]," and that if the company continues to grow at its current rate it will "overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”
This is good news for the music industry. In 2011, total global music sales dropped 3%, while digital purchases rose by 8%. Spotify, which launched in 2008, has around 13 million users, with 2.5 of them paying for a subscription. It was reported, in 2011, that Pandora has 94 million users.
Are we where we need to be in terms of compensation for artists and consumer happiness? Not yet, but we're getting there.