CALVIN HARRIS CLAIMS FIRST SONG TO BREAK 10M STREAMS IN ONE WEEK:
BUT AT HOW MUCH PER STREAM?
JUST LOOK AT THIS MATH!
"Industry still streamin' and believin'. In what? I ask"
September 16, 2014
By Thomas Giannini, Esq.
[By Thomas Giannini, Attorney at Law & CEO Ampslam]
According to Murray Stanseen at Music Week
, Calvin Harris' single "Blame" was streamed 10,000,000 times in one week. He should be elated. This is great.
This is good. Hell, this is awesome money.
But for fun let's play with some numbers. Ready?
Let's compare "Blame" to a single released in 1973. Mind you, these are very rough assumptions on my part based on the history of the industry. This not a criticism of any organization - I'm just bouncing a few numbers around for my readers.
The average retail price of a single 45 vinyl record in 1973 was about $1.00 U.S.- usually a bit more, but for simplicity let's use a single dollar. 10,000,000 million singles sold would gross $10,000,000 dollars U.S. (Indeed, these sales did occur back in the day. For example the Canadian singer Terry Jacks' version of "Seasons in the Sun" sold 14 million copies in 1973 on the Goldfish Records label.)
The recording contracts at that time were harsh on the artist -and sometimes still are. Free goods, mechanicals to the songwriter, producer fees, breakage, royalty bearing percentage and packaging costs were deducted from the artist royalty, but let's just assume our artist in 1973 finally received a net 6% (probably too low) of the suggested retail list price - SLRP - equating to a royalty of $600,000.00. Using an annual inflation rate that amounts equates to over $3,290,000.00 in 2014 dollars.
It is known that Spotify pays
about .6 cents to .84 cents per stream (with plans to increase that rate), and certainly individual artists could make other deals,
but if we calculate .084 x 10,000,000 streams you gross $84,000.00. Calvin is listed as the producer, not a songwriter, on "Blame". Terry Jacks did not write "Seasons in the Sun" - so we are just making some very rough estimates of money from record sales in 1973 and streams/downloads in 2014 for Calvin Harris- with no songwriter/publisher performance royalties from a non-digital PRO for either artist. 13% of the revenue
from "Blame" came from streaming, so perhaps the other 8,700,000 units were iTunes downloads equating to another $1,044,000 in sales factored at a 12% royalty. John Newman is the featured artist on the single, so perhaps John would receive the bulk of the SoundExchange digital performance right in the soung recording.
So a very rough guess is that, to date, Calvin Harris has pulled in a bit over $1 million for "Blame", the bulk of which came from digital download sales, not Spotify streaming.
Calvin Harris is a talened man. And he is wealthy
. He has worked hard for his money. He has surpassed thousands of other talented DJ/Producers in fame and celebrity. Good for him.
The point here - if you haven't already guessed - is that today's royalty streams do not compare to the music industry of the past. One hit wonders like Terry Jacks hitting number one on Billboard and collecting $4 million dollars in royalties simpy doesn't happen much anymore.
Artists today must be ready for a long, hard haul in creating their place in the popular music industry.
The good news: If Calvin Harris can do it - YOU CAN TOO!
Thomas B. Giannini, Attorney at Law