In an era during which artists are doubtful as ever that streaming services will help them monetize their music recordings, an unlikely platform reportedly pays out the highest royalties to unsigned artists. The name Napster was practically synonymous with controversies surrounding music copyrights after the turn of the millennium, but it boasts over 150% the payouts of the next highest-paying alternative.
A report by Digital Music News revealed that Napster paid out $0.0167 per play. Tidal, which previously touted itself as the highest-paying streaming service, only pays out $0.0110.
However, the two platforms had the lowest numbers of subscribers of the entire list. YouTube reigned supreme in this arena with 1,000,000,000 users – but with a meager royalty payout of $0.0006 per play.
An Unlikely Hero
Napster had come under fire in 2000 when the band Metallica discovered a demo of their song “I Disappear” had circulated on the website before its release. An imminent lawsuit filed by the likes of A&M Records and the Recording Industry Association of America followed, resulting in the shutdown of the company in 2001.
However, Napster’s logo and branding elements were acquired in a bankruptcy auction by American software company Roxio in 2008. After exchanging hands a few times, the music streaming platform Rhapsody was rebranded as Napster in 2011.
According to the report, 90,000 plays per month on Napster would earn an artist the equivalent of minimum wage ($1,472), whereas approximately 2.4 million YouTube plays would bring in the same.
Source: Digital Music News