Spotify has taken a lot of recent heat for paying artists pennies for their streams, but what about its larger, brasher audiovisual brother? Artists who officially license their songs through YouTube are supposed to receive a cut of the ad payments when fans stream their songs and watch their videos. But it looks like YouTube isn’t paying out much more for authorized videos than they are for fan uploads.
The Dead Kennedys recently revealed that the Google-owned stream giant tossed them only a couple hundred bucks for a whopping 14 million plays. Not only does that seem an unreasonably paltry sum, but YouTube has given no indication as to how they actually come up with the amount of money they believe artists are owed.
“I don’t know—and no one I know knows—how YouTube calculates the money. What YouTube claims is irrelevant until they produce how much they’ve made off my band and how much they’ve shared with my band. Don’t let them bullshit you that it’s too complicated,” said guitarist Raymond Pepperell during an interview with NPR. He claims that YouTube initially told the band that they’d be receiving a 45% cut of ad revenue from their channel views, but they’ve yet to see the calculations that whittled that eight-figure number down to three.
So even when you suffer through full-page VEVO ads to check out that new Grimes video, it seems like your artist of choice will see only fractions of pennies for your trouble. Bad looks, YouTube. [Digital Music News]