Avicii’s release "Wake Me Up!" that I co-wrote and sing, for example, was the most streamed song in Spotify history and the 13th most played song on Pandora since its release in 2013, with more than 168 million streams in the US. And yet, that yielded only $12,359 in Pandora domestic royalties—which were then split among three songwriters and our publishers. In return for co-writing a major hit song, I’ve earned less than $4,000 domestically from the largest digital music service.
- Aloe Blacc, from an open letter published in Wired magazine last week.
Just to put it in context, if those 168 million spins had been purchased copies/downloads, Blacc would've netted about $5M. No one is expecting sales numbers of that size—just trying to point out the staggering, Grand Canyon-size gap btwn $4K and $5M.
You can read his complete letter here.