But artists get very little compensation at all from services like Spotify.
This just isn't true if you look at the hard numbers. For my premium account the artist I listen to gets around 1.5 cents per each time I stream one of their songs. that sounds like a small number but it adds up FAST and thats just for when I stream the song, when you take in to account that there are, even for the smallest bands, dozens of streams a day they make more money off of spotify streams than of actually selling music.
I gather that your main point is that streaming services like Rdio and Spotify are a step in the right direction and definitely part of the solution, not the problem--which I wholeheartedly agree with. However, I would add the caveat that while they may be part of the solution, I don't think they are THE solution, although I don't know what that looks like haha. Also just speaking personally, unless there's a major crackdown in downloading or someone somewhere invents a streaming service that just knocks me on my ass with how awesome it is, I doubt I'll ever stop doing things the way I do them now: torrenting lots of shit, and buying on vinyl and sometimes CD records I love and can afford.
Interesting. Could you link me to the hard numbers please? I'm a bit skeptical. Also do you know if all artists get the same flat rate through Spotify or is it like Youtube where the more plays/views you get the better compensation you receive?
See the post directly above the one I am currently responding to.
Only 20% of users have some kind of paid Spotify account, either unlimited or premium, so that's a rate of between 0.7 and 1.5 cents per stream. Even for that 20%, that's significantly less than the approximately 9 cents per track that an artist would make from downloads on iTunes or AmazonMP3. Not glorifying iTunes or Amazon in the slightest, but Spotify really isn't an incredibly legitimate source of compensation for an artist. If I have a premium account, I'd have to go listen to a song six times to equal the pittance Amazon throws an artist's way. If I don't have any kind of paid account, like 80% of Spotify users, I have to go listen to it SEVENTY-FIVE times to equal that pittance. You're telling me most Americans have the dedication and attention span to return to a track seventy-five times in a relatively short time span? Nope, don't think so.
You seemed, however, in your original post to be alluding to a more interesting proposition, which is that people go and stream things on Spotify for free that they wouldn't pay to download. I definitely think this is true, but there's no way to track that, and I am highly skeptical that that factor alone makes up for the egregious inconsistency between what Spotify pays artists in comparison to other outlets.
Edit: Did some independent research and number-crunching, and the most recent figure for what percentage of Spotify users have premium (not sure about unlimited) is about 11.5%, just FYI.
So because it doesn't pay as well as itunes, a one time purchase, we shouldn't use it? It's a hell of a lot better than pirating and how likely are you to but something that you will only listen to less than 6-75 times throughout the life of owning it? The upfront payment is less, the long term payout is more and the fact that you are making something off of a song that would otherwise just be pirated and you'd see nothing is clearly better.