Internet radio and streaming-music providers, including Pandora and Spotify, are growing quickly. So is the ire from musicians about royalties and the sustainability of the streaming-music model when it comes to paying a decent "wage" to the recording artists on which the streaming businesses are being built.
Artists, including Thom Yorke of Radiohead (who used some choice language), David Byrne of the Talking Heads and Beck have lashed out at Spotify for paying artists a tiny amount compared to record sales and other alternatives. Other artists, including British folk rocker Billy Bragg, have said artists should still point their finger at "the man" (i.e., the record labels).
What's the truth of streaming-music economics? It's important to tune out all of the rhetoric and first understand the main costs that Internet radio and streaming music providers pay. It's also a battle reflected in the results just reported by Pandora after the market close on Wednesday and its executive commentary.