The streaming royalties controversy continues today, as NPR spotlights a few cases where bands make a tiny sum of money for receiving millions of plays on YouTube. While the platform is primarily known as a video service, it is also the leading source for music discovery for a ton of teens these days. At least kids are using something for discovering new music, right? Well, that is great and all, but there also needs to be an effective system in place to compensate artists for these millions of daily streams. Especially when the youth is switching from actually purchasing music to simply streaming it for free at their own convenience. And YouTube isn’t the only one struggling with this, as services like Spotify also seemed to have dropped the ball for some artists.
That is where the Dead Kennedys’ story comes in, where they claimed to have received only a couple hundred bucks for the 14 million plays they received on YouTube. We’ve heard dismal numbers like this from a number of artists who have gone viral, but this claim sounds pretty extreme. We have heard reports of YouTube taking up to 45% of ad revenue made on streaming videos, and this seems like a pretty fair number. After all, they are the one setting up all these advertising deals and providing a platform that reaches millions of people.
But there doesn’t seem to be any transparency with the system between Google and the artists. That is, the band is in the dark as to how much revenue was actually brought in from their music. Now, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to advertising on the Web. Perhaps a lot of the advertisements being served to the Dead Kennedys’ demographic aren’t worth very much to Google and YouTube’s community. That is, a band like U2 (god, I hate Bono) for example with a wider demographic could be getting the higher advertising rates over a punk band like the Dead Kennedys.
We know the metrics YouTube deals with are probably more complex than we could ever imagine. But with so much controversy surrounding music streaming royalties today, you’d think there would at least be an attempt at creating some transparency with the public. Let us know what you think about this sitatution, and read more about the story over at NPR.