Streaming music services are making a killing off of artists but how much of the royalties do the artists make? An analysis of singer Pharrell Williams hit song “Happy” indicates not much.
Williams’ song “Happy” earned him Grammy nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video. His song “Happy” had 43 million Pandora streams in the first quarter of 2014. However, according to music publisher Sony/ATV CEO Marty Bandier, a million streams of a song on Pandora only yields a paltry $60 in royalties.
In an email to Business Insider, Bandier wrote: “This is a totally unacceptable situation and one that cannot be allowed to continue.”
Bandier continued: “We at Sony/ATV want these digital music services to be successful because they are a great way for music fans to listen to music and have the potential to generate significant new revenues for everyone. However, this success should not come at the expense of songwriters whose songs are essential for these services to exist and thrive.”
Williams is likely not the only artist getting ripped off. In 2014, Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalog from Spotify in protest, as she claimed that music streaming services don’t value artists. Multiple artists are also demanding that YouTube take down thousands of its songs that it doesn’t have permission to share or it will be hit with a $1 billion lawsuit against its parent company Google.
However, Fusion’s Rob Wile stated that Williams likely made much more than $2,700 as the calculated figure doesn’t include performance rights royalty rates.
Wile said to Business Insider: “According to industry analyst Michael DeGusta, Pharrell would likely have earned approximately $25,000 from the 43 million plays.”