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Is streaming media cutting into music industry profits?

In a June 9, 2014 post, we illustrated the complexity of the entertainment industry by talking about royalty payments that are made to singers and songwriters whenever their music is played or performed. In the post, we asked if those involved in the music industry should be able to negotiate the amount they receive from such payments, which was a question the Justice Department had only just taken up.

For a lot of our readers, this post showed just one issue that could lead to a dispute in the music industry. But if those same readers also read the new PBS article that also talks about royalty payments and the music industry, then they may realize that the industry is much more complex than most people realize.

As we mentioned in our June 2014 post, streaming media like Pandora and YouTube pay a portion of their revenue to those in the music industry every time an artist's song is played. But as we explained, royalty payments are small, especially when it comes from streaming media sites. As the PBS article illustrates, this is not sitting well with many artists in the industry.

"For an 18-month period, I had 600,000 streams," explains Rosanne Cash, the daughter of the famed Johnny Cash. To some, this may seem like a blessing -- more streams equals more listeners which then equals more revenue from royalty payments. Right? Wrong, explains Rosanne Cash who says this worked out to $104. Other artists in the industry are seeing the same thing, begging the question: is streaming media cutting into music industry profits?

While some say yes, others say no, such as those new to the industry who see streaming media sites as a way to get their name out to a larger audience in order to increase concert ticket sales.

Whichever side you fall on, it may be worth noting now that the music industry does appear to be changing, which means there may be a greater need for legal representation, especially if you want to make sure that you are getting fair payment for your work as well as protection for your intellectual property rights.

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