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Even if you're streaming music instead of buying it artists can apparently benefit more if you pay up. According to a new report filed by The Wall Street Journal, musicians can earn as much as 5 to 7 times as much money per stream from a Spotify Premium user when compared to their nonpaying counterparts.
According to the article, which cites a report published by digital royalty advocate Audiam, in December "a single play on Spotify Premium was worth an average of about 0.68 of a cent in royalties" while "a single play on Spotify Free was worth an average of about 0.14 of a cent." The news is a little more depressing when you consider that only a quarter of Spotify users pony up the $9.99 a month for a Premium account. And while that leaves about three times as many freeloaders as paying customers, Spotify earned only 9% of its revenue last year from the free tier.
The freshly-released data sheds some light on artist discontent with the service, most famously issued by Taylor Swift last year in an op-ed for WSJ and then in an interview with Time thereafter. "With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums," she said in November. "And that places a perception of value on what I've created. On Spotify, they don't have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that's that." That's all good and well, but maybe Taylor was just looking for a bigger payout.