So you are an artist, signed to a label, getting some decent exposure, and one of your tracks just hit 1 million streams on Spotify. Awesome! You probably repaid your mortgage at once, and pre-ordered the brand new Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder with money to spare. Or didn't you?
Probably the answer to that last question is no, unless you want to file for personal bankruptcy before your career has properly started. And there are several reasons why you shouldn't and can't do all that. Streaming right now is not very lucrative. 1 million streams on Spotify probably equals some revenue between $4000 and $7000. Around $0.00397 per play based on this site. And it's not a given that any (independent) artist hits that amount ever, or on every track. Let alone on a monthly basis.
Another major drawback is the time in which you receive the payments. This can take up to a year. And that's the most positive scenario. Not a very nice period if you still have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Watch what Gareth Emery (a pretty well-known DJ and producer) had to say about this specific part of streaming services:
You did watch more than only the part about streaming-payments right? If not, you should. Gareth gives an interesting viewpoint on the state of the current music industry and what should solve it. Coincidently, he happens to have taken matters in his own hands and (co-)founded a new streaming platform called Choon. The idea behind Choon was mainly fixing the wrongs in the legacy music industry. Cutting out middlemen that takes in shiploads of money, getting paid a more fair rate per stream as an artist, and receive payments almost instantly (on a daily basis). How? Via blockchain-technology.
,,But blockchain is cryptocurrency right? Bitcoin and stuff? That's just a bubble right? A farçe?''
Yes, I heard it all already, when trying to explain what Choon is and what Choon does. And maybe that scepticism is justified. Last year saw an explosion of scammers and frauds in crypto, and on top of that the whole market came down, people that bought in late and stepped out lost a lot of money. But let's step away from the coins and currencies for now. Blockchain is just a technology and even if the currencies wouldn't survive, probably the tech is. It's a way of storing data, like transactions for example, for everyone to see (transparent) but stored on several sources. Hard to hack, and much safer as a central place to store it. That is the tech Gareth and his Choon-team are putting to work to create fair and instant payment. Which is possible as everything on blockchain is recorded instantly.
Choon developed Smart Record Contracts (SRC) to take care of the revenue split. Let's assume you made a track, together with another musician, and you decide that the both of you can have 50% of the future revenue. In that case you'd upload the track, set up the SRC, with 50% split for both and the blockchain would take care of the rest. At the end of the day you'd both receive a statement with the total amount of streams and revenue, and the split you and your partner would receive.
,,Yeah, yeah, heard it all, where's my money? And I don't want to be involved in crypto for that matter''
Alright, fair point. There is no money yet at this point of writing. Therefore, the token needs to be unlocked, and available on crypto exchanges, so it has a value. Planned unlockdate however, is December 1st 2018. In my personal situation, I joined Choon May 15th, and uploaded my first track June 9th. So even if the unlock date would be moved to March next year, payment would still be earlier than with Spotify, via a label to the artist. And that would be only for the early adopters. Once the token would be unlocked, payments can take place every day.
Choon is still in Beta. This is important as there are a lot of plans to make sure the crypto payments only happen under the hood. It takes time to instantly exchange their token on the platform to fiat, but that will be rolled out, probably in 2019 already. If you can wait for over a year on Spotify to pay you, that wouldn't be too long right? And if you want to get paid earlier, just read up on how to exchange crypto to fiat and you can receive payments after the unlock already.
Why join now?
In one of my next blogs I will dive deeper into my experiences as a Choon-artist. For now, I can only say this. Most independent artists don't make barely any money from music, have dayjobs and do gigs for fun. If you don't sign up, give away your bootlegs for free on Soundcloud, and get 1000-100.000 streams a year on the several streaming services in total, nothing would change that.
If you'd upload your music to Choon instead, and Choon would either, not unlock, go bankrupt, shut the service down or a combination of those, nothing would change either. I for one did not make any money on Soundcloud so far, and exposure on such a big platform is only significant if you pay for listens and follows. So, it's a gamble. A gamble of switching from making no money anytime soon to not making any money right now, but a chance to get a fair pay somewhere between December 1st and end of 2019. Also, as Choon divides a fixed amount of tokens over all daily streams, the later you join, the smaller the cut will be. So, if you decide if you want to put up your brand new original track as a promotion on Soundcloud, or on Choon, don't hesitate. And just FYI, you can still do both. Choon doesn't pin you to an exclusive deal.
In the next blogs I will explain more about the value of the NOTES-token that Choon will use on the platform, the payment and streaming-counts, the benefits for users (listeners) and my personal experience on the Choon-platform.
However, if you're already interested and want to read more already, make sure to check the Choon whitepaper.
Signing up is also possible, and if you use my Referral-code you'll skip the waiting-list, and I'll receive a small amount (10) of the NOTES-token as well.
Make sure to leave a question if you have one, and I try to get back at you as soon as possible.
©2018 - Marco Svarda / Arkroom