Streaming music might not be so bad for artists after all, as Pandora CEO Tim Westergren revealed today that some artists are making more than $2 million a year.
While that’s not across the board, even some of the lesser-known music artists on the service make at least $100,000 per year.
“These are all working artists who live well outside the mainstream—no steady rotation on broadcast radio, no high profile opening slots on major tours, no front page placement in online retail,” Westergren writes on Pandora’s blog.
Pandora pays over 55% of its revenue to artist royalties. The company will pay more than $10,000 to over two thousand artists each within the next year, and about $50,000 to over 800 artists.
But the big-name artists, like Coldplay, Adele and Wiz Khalifa, each make more than $1 million a year. But what’s really surprising is that hip-hop artists Drake and Lil Wayne each make a whopping $3 million a year.
Despite what critics have said about the digital music industry, Westergren notes that these numbers show how much potential streaming music and Internet radio has.
He also called for reform of rules about how much Pandora has to pay compared to other music-delivery options.
“Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it is also enabling musicians to earn a living,” he says. “Since Pandora accounts for just 6.53% of all radio listening in the U.S., it seems fundamentally unfair that other forms of radio that represent much larger shares of U.S. radio listening pay substantially less to artists.”