June 27th, 2013
Stumbled upon a website called The Trichordist. They shared the spreadsheet of the alternative band, Cracker, and their profits for the last quarter for writing their 1994 modern rock hit song, “Low“. The song was recently featured in the film, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Pandora registered 1,159,000 listeners and they earned $16.89! 160,000 hits on YouTube nettedless than $2.00 and let’s not forget Spotify’s 120,000 hits that earned him another $12.00. That’s about $30 net in 3 months for their biggest hit. And get this, Pandora wants to lower the royalty rate for songwriters.
Now we all know that artists make a large portion of their income from touring. Ticket sales, t-shirts, promotional items lucratively add up quickly. Plus artists make money not only for songwriting. They get royalties for performing and much more if they own the publishing rights. But these low payout values are eye-opening. The article did mention Sirius paid them $181 for this same time period, not exactly a retirement portfolio either.
This reminds me of 1986 when I met Prince’s dad at the bank where I worked. Like a Seinfeld episode, Mr Nelson, in his early 60’s, strutted in the First Bank of Minneapolis in his stylish purple suit and matching fedora with a handful of royalty checks for amounts like $2.15 and $0.98 for his royalty payments for two piano arrangements on Prince’s Around The World In A Day CD. Not sure what shocked me more, seeing those outrageously small paychecks or watching Prince’s dad flirting (and succeeding) with Angie, my 21 yr old co-worker.