In this modern landscape of the music industry, piracy isn’t the only worry for starving musicians anymore. Legal services such as Pandora and Spotify are taking criticism for the lack of money they give to the artists. Death and Taxes reports that while David Crowley’s song “Low” was played on Pandora 1,159,000 times he only received $16.89. Part of this is due to him splitting the royalties with the other songwriters but still that means “Low” only earned a total of $42.25.
Pandora is currently making waves in congress with its “stop discriminating against internet radio” campaign. At this point it is congress who sets the charges Pandora and other internet streaming sites have to pay the artists. Pandora’s campaign is asking for more freedom in which they could pay the musicians less. It should be noted that other radios such as Sirius and normal terrestrial radio pay musicians more, but not by any sort of extravagant amount. Crowley cites he received $181 from Sirius and $1522 from terrestrial radios.
This is a developing problem within the music industry as more and more people are signing up for legitimate payment methods of streaming to listen to music, as opposed to pirating entertainment, the artist is still being left without a substantial income of support. At this point, as Grizzly Bear points out, the best way to support your favorite bands is to purchase hard copies of albums. While streaming services certainly help bands gain more fans, which leads to increases in concert tickets and T-shirt sales, record sales are the most direct way to help an independent musician.