According to a report by Digital Music News:
Napster, the king of streaming music payouts, now pays out $0.019 per stream. To meet the monthly minimum wage amount in the US ($1,472), an artist needs 77,474 total plays.
TIDAL remains a top player. The service pays artists $0.0125 per stream.
Artists on TIDAL now need 117,760 total plays to earn $1,472. Taking third place, Apple Music now pays $0.00735. Deezer’s per-stream rate rose to $0.0064, placing it right behind GPM
Spotify reportedly pays $0.00437 per play
Right behind Spotify, Amazon now pays $0.00402
How Napster Changed Music
Nowadays we are used to listening to music mainly in streaming , through services like Spotify , Apple Music and YouTube (both normal and in premium version ). But it has not always been this way: in the early 90s, at the dawn of the Internet, the recording industry was still doing great, and most people heard cassette music or CD music . Then, with the arrival of Napster , everything changed. Today 19 years have passed since the attempt of the record companies to stop the new digital reality, and we want to take this opportunity to tell you its story.
Let’s start from the beginning: it’s the 90s , and the recording industry completely controls its distribution. Most people listen to music from physical media or from the radio . The piracy already exists, but is mostly limited to people who rippano CDs or cassettes that impact. It is therefore a limited phenomenon, especially when compared to what is about to happen shortly thereafter.
June 1999: Shaw Fanning , an 18-year-old programmer, launches Napster . It is, “trivially”, a peer-to-peer file sharing service , or “peer” , not centralized and where all the nodes are equally important. Users, by installing the program, make available to all the music saved on their computer. It’s a revolution, with 80 million people registered at its peak. In colleges, where the connection speed is higher than average, up to 61% of the traffic is downloaded MP3 . Music labels can not remain in your hands.
On December 7, 1999 the Recording Industry Association of America ( RIAA , the US equivalent of FIMI ) sued Napster for copyright infringement . The trial lasts until the first half of 2001 , and in the meantime Napster continues to grow, thanks to media attention. Several artists are publicly siding against the “piracy” service. In particular, Metallica are the protagonists of both a further legal action against Napster and a controversial and provocative TV commercial.
Eventually the industry wins the case, and in the J uly 2001 Napster was forced to close. But it is too late: the paradigm shift has taken place, and Napster users simply migrate to other similar platforms, in a fragmentation that is hard to combat. It is not possible to go back, but there does not seem to be an easy solution to counter piracy. As long as someone does not invent it.
Steve Jobs, in 2001 , in agreement with the various music producers, launches iTunes . There was not even the iPod , presented later that year, but it is still an epoch-making change. Apple’s digital market is a commercial success , and it gives the industry a chance to truly enter the twenty-first century. The idea of the album becomes old-fashioned, and they begin to dominate the individual songs, usually sold at 99 cents each . The landscape, however, is not as flourishing as before Napster: most of the distribution is no longer in the hands of production companies, and profit margins decrease considerably, especially for artists.
The download , legal and illegal, is not intended to remain. In 2005 YouTube arrives , and it’s another revolution. YouTube is now a platform used, as well as for amateur videos, to upload music illegally. YouTube is still the most used platform for on-demand music streaming . This time the record industry does not intervene as heavily as with Napster. On the one hand begin to emerge artists born on the web and close to this, started from the bottom thanks to digital platforms, on the other YouTube plays on the side of the industry, allowing the monetization of video and checking copyright infringements thanks to tools such as the Content ID .
In addition to Youtube, a whole series of services dedicated exclusively to streaming music, such as Spotify , Pandora and the same YouTube with YouTube Music , are starting to appear . Their mobile and flexible listening pattern changes the music industry once again. Apple itself begins to rely less and less on iTunes (at the beginning necessary to manage their iPhone ) and launches the Apple Music streaming service .
The transition to streaming and on-demand involves, with different timing and methods, other industries, such as film and television, with Netflix , Hulu and Amazon Prime Video . But while the latter, along with traditional networks and producers, bring more investment and greater content creation, this is not the case with music. Spotify, despite the enormous success, it is not yet active : Users premium are still much less than free , monetized with advertising, and profit margins for the various artists are very limited.
During the trial against Napster, public opinion has not simply divided into “scroungers” and people who instead recognize the right of artists to be paid for their work. There are also those in Napster who see a possibility, a democratization of music, with the possibility for some artists to be known by the public without going through contracts with record companies. Moreover, not all are convinced of the close link between illegal downloads and sales decline , indeed: some argue that, with the ability to more easily know more artists, people end up buying albums that otherwise would not even considered.
If these speeches seem familiar to you, you are right: the diatribe between those who see the network as a democratic place and those who see it as a place without rules has emerged many times over the years. When Taylor Swift went against Spotify , it was not a different attack than Metallica made against Napster. When people say that the illegal downloads of HBO’s TV series , like Game of Thrones , are actually a good thing, because they expand the pool of people who will then buy DVDs and merchandising, it is nothing that had not already been said at the beginning of the 2000s for Napster. The speech is obviously very complex, and it is neither easy nor correct to express a valid judgment for everyone.
You may be surprised to know that Napster still exists: after its closure, the logo and the brand have passed through many hands. Following the bankruptcy, the company was bought by Roxio , who rebels his Pressplay music service with the name Napster 2.0 . In 2008, it was sold to Best Buy , and in 2011 it was merged with the Rhapsody streaming service , which permanently changed its name to Napster in 2016. In a sense, therefore, Napster still lives , even if completely different from phenomenon that was in the 90s. Who knows that the future does not give us surprises, with a Napster again protagonist under another guise.