's Payback For Playback seems to be having success.
January 31, 2001 8:05 PM   Subscribe's Payback For Playback seems to be having success. Exactly 6 months ago, this thread tells us about the birth of this program. Since then, some online artists have made close to $200,000 from listens alone! The site shows the top monthly earners since July. Amazing or what?
posted by swank6 (11 comments total)
$200K is about 30 minutes revenue for the music CD business. If that's all they've gotten, then the program is a failure, or at best a limited success. $400K/year isn't going to appease the record companies or the artists.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:18 PM on January 31, 2001

Really? It seems like the artists from there all started out sort of just messing around on their computers, and ended up finding a talent and making a wad of cash while they were at it. Some of them are now starting to get record deals and coming out with CDs. If you asked me months ago whether I thought an artist could gain any real recognition through online broadcasting alone, I wouldn't have believed it.

I just get the impression that almost all of these artists started out in their homes for fun, with no real intent to make any money. But through they're already making some and are probably going to make a lot more.
posted by swank6 at 9:36 PM on January 31, 2001

Steven, I think you have the wrong idea, this isn't money that people (listeners) donate to them or anything, has a certain amount of money that they give to artists depending on how often their songs are downloaded. If they've only given out 200K, it's becuase only had 200k allocated to it. They throw whatever money is allocated into a pot basically and share it out day per day according to downloads, or at least that's my understanding.

Even though someone only posted here about this program 6 months ago, it's been around since 1999 or so. There was also a pretty good story in Salon a few months back about how people try to scam it and do porn recordings, etc, but I can't get to Salon right now.
posted by beefula at 9:47 PM on January 31, 2001

Either the original post is poorly worded or some of you have read it incorrectly. But doesn't the original post say that some artists have made $200k. This does not mean the grand total handed out is $200k, infact, it'd be far more?
posted by wackybrit at 10:05 PM on January 31, 2001

I believe the way it works, at least currently, is that each month gets $1 million to share among all the artists. I would guess that recently, the numbers probably start to decline, because more artists are signing up while the pot each month is staying the same.

303infinity for example, has made as of this post $186,453.92. So some individual artists really get up there.
posted by swank6 at 10:10 PM on January 31, 2001

From here:

More than $10 million dollars has been made available to artists since the program started in November 1999.
posted by pnevares at 10:28 PM on January 31, 2001

Yup, $1 million/month has been the payout thus far, IIRC. Moreover, you don't get a portion of that pot unless you get at least 15 daily listens, thereby stopping a small arsenal of talentless hacks (e.g., me) from nickel-and-diming away a sizable portion of that million in favor of saving it for the "more real" artists. Quite the shrewd decision, all things considered.
posted by youhas at 10:52 PM on January 31, 2001

I'm sorry, I read what you wrote wrongly. I thought it said $200K total in 6 months.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:45 AM on February 1, 2001

BTW, $186K is vastly more money in net payout than most major label recording artists can receive from their CD sales ... maybe 5%-10% of major label artists get that much.

Part of why Napster and other free music solutions are so popular among many artists is the structure of recording contracts -- it is entirely typical for an artist to get a $25,000 advance, spend 4 months recording and 4 months promoting an album working 6 or 7 days a week, 18 hours a day (i.e., the advance is equivalent to about a $5 an hour wage...), have a tremendous hit, sell 1 million records and still owe money to the label.

The real juice for a typical successful but not-Britney-Spears recording artist is to get their music out there and (if lucky) break even on recordings, and actually make their living on the $3K to $5K a night net paydays that a tour of 500-2,000 seat theaters, seats of which were filled by the music being out there in the first place.

posted by MattD at 5:41 AM on February 1, 2001

And Steven, you're also assuming that this is for Napster-style shared MP3s. These are original MP3s that are placed on the service by the artists. They don't have record companies (mostly, I assume) and they don't have any other realistic means of distribution. This is it, and they're in some cases doing quite well.

That said, there's probably ten times as many who get jack because they don't meet the threshold. Them's the breaks. The one thing you DO get from a record company is effective access to the promotion pyramid.

MattD, depressing that the music business so closely resembles the business of being a female pr0n star.
posted by dhartung at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2001

dhartung, funny, I almost made that observation as a parenthetical to my earlier post ... I had been reading something about the economics of pr0n a couple of weeks ago ...
posted by MattD at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2001

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