“My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89, Less Than What I Make From a Single T-Shirt Sale!”
I should note that while this article points out how these Internet music streaming services are run on the backs of the artists, the comparison to the fees paid by over the air broadcast companies is not fair as one “play” on Pandora or other streaming services only reaches one listener while one “play” on a radio station can reach hundreds of thousands of listeners.
More interesting reading on this subject:
Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker – A not very well written overview but pulls in thoughts and ideas from many other folks and is the source for the next few links here.
Damon Krukowski on Pitchfork – Good overview of how the money breaks down and where it’s not going. Love this quote:
“As businesses, Pandora and Spotify are divorced from music. To me, it’s a short logical step to observe that they are doing nothing for the business of music– except undermining the simple cottage industry of pressing ideas onto vinyl, and selling them for more than they cost to manufacture.”
Charles Arthur in The Guardian writes about Thom Yorke’s (Radiohead) decision to pull his songs from Spotify and Spotify’s response.
Great infographics on where the money goes from the Future of Music Coalition
UPDATE: I’ve added some more recent links on this subject to this page.