The AWAL Numbers

The AWAL Numbers

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“AWAL says ‘hundreds’ of its artists now earn $100k+ a year from streaming”: https://bit.ly/3aDy3rC

Daniel Ek spoke about the number of artists making bank on Spotify and he was excoriated by seemingly every musician over the age of 50 and the wannabes who probably never will be.

Welcome to 2020, where it’s all about groupspeak. God help you if you say anything negative about Biden and Harris, you’ll be ostracized by people who say we must defeat Trump and you’re a stupid person who must shut up and get on board or leave the community.

A good example is this article in today’s “Washington Post”:

“The convention shows Democrats don’t care about young voters – The way to lure young voters into a Democratic coalition is to include people who genuinely appeal to them”: https://wapo.st/3hhG880

Read the comments, they’re full of vitriol dismissing the writers’ words, stating that the convention is wonderful, despite ratings being down, and we must rally around Biden and stop saying this nonsense. But how can we get to truth if we do not have a discussion? Talk to anybody in tech, anybody in the recording studio, it’s oftentimes the most left field ideas that bear fruit, despite most of the left field ideas being justly disregarded. So now it’s not only the right that requires full adherence, but the left too. If you need a trigger warning to go to college maybe you shouldn’t be there.

So, the fact that some people are making money on streaming and others are not is not sexy. It’s kind of like Lake Wobegone, every artist is above average and entitled to a comfortable living. What next, everybody should be able to play in the NBA and earn seven figures?

AWAL also states that “dozens” of its artists make more than a million dollars a year on streaming. Think about that, translate it to the major labels…do these three conglomerates have dozens of artists making seven figures a year in streaming royalties? Actually, that’s doubtful. Which shows what a major statement AWAL’s is.

Then again, AWAL’s model is different. The artist owns his or her rights and gets the lion’s share of the income. This is the new paradigm. Kind of like Kobalt and its dashboard that single-handedly brought publishing into the twenty first century. Old entities are opaque, new entities are transparent. If the company you’re with won’t give you access to the data, maybe you should be with a different company.


So, if you’re signed to a major label, you’re coughing up at least half of your royalties, and if you have an antique deal, probably much more! But the used-to-bes are the ones who are bitching loudest. But it’s their own damn fault, they’ve got lousy deals, or they were just born at the wrong time. But don’t extrapolate the experience of these oldsters to today, it’s apples and oranges.

Furthermore, there are different kinds of streaming that pay different amounts. On demand and radio are different. So, a paid-for stream on Spotify is much higher in value than a radio stream on Pandora.

And then there’s ownership…

If you wrote a sixteenth of a song, but don’t even own the publishing, your slice is probably 1/32nd, and if it’s a radio royalty…that’s how you end up with all those bogus columns online about low payments.

But, streaming comes down to popularity. Do people really want to listen to your music? If not, you’re gonna be broke. Come on, how many records did you buy in the physical era you played once? How many overpriced CDs did you buy to only hear one track? Don’t blame the public, people are paying for music, they just might not be paying YOU!

As for the media outlets…if you expect them to understand streaming economics, you also expect the U.S. Congress to understand ticketing. Ticketmaster must be the enemy, otherwise I’d be able to sit in the front row for $50!

But these, once again, are not sexy stories. So, you make music and you made 100k a year from streaming. Who wants to print that? News focuses on the negative, ever notice? You want to believe you’re lucky, that some poor other sot got hurt or killed. You want to believe someone else is at fault for your situation. No one wants to accept responsibility.

Once again, I’m not saying you’re not entitled to a roof over your head and food on the table, but you are not entitled to a successful career in the arts. You need no degree, you just say you’re an artist. Imagine, should I just say I’m a BMW mechanic and am entitled to six figures? Or a doctor entitled to more? Or a computer programmer? You need no skill to be a service worker, and that’s why those jobs pay so poorly. Everybody’s dreams can’t come true!

Read this MusicAlly article, it’s like the Antichrist, it’s opposite everything you’ve heard, opposite the popular narrative. AWAL artists are making twice as much on recording as they are on touring. And revenues are going up! More artists are making more dollars from music. HOW COULD THIS BE A BAD THING?


But the system MUST be broken. I’M NOT GETTING RICH!

So, what happens is what always happens. The system breaks, it bifurcates, into insiders and outsiders. Do you expect Daniel Ek to reach out to the creative community again, painting a rosy picture of revenues? OF COURSE NOT! He’s now music industry enemy #1, because he had an idea and made a billion. How come Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre had an idea and made the same amount and are lionized? And isn’t everything about ideas? When it comes to art, execution is secondary to conception, that’s what an artist is, someone who expresses ideas. Which is why you can make money covering the work of these artists, people want to hear their music, but they may not want to hear yours.

Then again, in a world where facts are fungible, most people won’t believe the AWAL numbers either. It doesn’t feel true to you so it can’t be.

And it gets even better!

“‘If you have $100k and control your rights, the value of the masters is a million dollars in the saleable value of your rights,’ Kobalt chairman Willard Ahdritz told Music Ally, adding that by this calculation, AWAL already has some artists with catalogues worth $100m+.”

But since you’re left out, the system must be rigged. They do call it MUSICAL CHAIRS, however in this case it’s not about luck.

Streaming saved the recorded music business, plain and simple. The numbers demonstrate it. Just like MTV saved the recorded music business back in 1981. But people would rather cry in their beer. They can’t adjust to the new system, maybe the new system doesn’t have a place for them.

THIS IS GOOD NEWS! READ IT AND REJOICE!

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