With artists being paid the bottom dollar through streaming services like Spotify and YouTube, Microsoft Groove is entering the music streaming realm with larger incentive and bigger rewards for artists.

For the past year or so, Digital Music News has been publishing streaming royalty statements shared by artists and labels. Since the project began, we’ve published payout details from Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Deezer, Google Play Music, Napster (formerly Rhapsody), and even defunct services like Rdio (if you have anything to share, email it to us at news@digitalmusicnews.com, of course we’ll protect confidentiality as needed).

Most of these payouts were very low, but several months ago, things started get really strange. Two services in particular — Tidal and Microsoft’s Groove Music — were showing abnormally high payout rates, for reasons we couldn’t quite figure out. One explanation was that these were smaller services with subscription-only plans, thereby raising the money pool, lowering the number of streams, and elevating royalties significantly.

Whatever the reason, smart artists and labels quickly saw an opportunity to game the system a bit, and make some serious money in the process.

The first person to tip us off to higher Tidal and Microsoft Groove rates was the head of an indie rap label. As part of a test of streaming service payouts, which we first reported on back in May, this person unearthed the following rates from Tidal and Microsoft Groove. Compared to Spotify rates that often hover around half-a-cent (or $0.005) a stream, and oftentimes worse, these were about ten times the payout.

Usually when spikes and abnormalities like this appear, everyone rushes in and kills the party. But not in this case: instead of these rates normalizing towards low-level Spotify payouts, it appears that payouts on Microsoft’s Groove Music are heading even higher. And not just a little bit higher, multiples higher than before.

That includes payouts of more than several dollars per single stream, according to the statements we’ve reviewed (and are about to present). Specifically, an average of $4.67 per song played in the statement we reviewed.

(Quick note before going further: Microsoft has changed the name of its streaming music service a few times over the years, and we’ve seen at least three different names on streaming royalty reports. That includes Xbox Music, Musiwave Xbox, Zune, and Groove, with other variations included).

Here’s a quick look at some of the payouts that this label is seeing from Groove. As you can see, these are payouts of several dollars per stream, consistently.


Read the full story by Paul Resnikoff at Digital Music News

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