Also, maybe this is just blunter way of putting everyone else’s sentiment, but those numbers look a lot better if you take the label out of the picture. At $0.01 per listen, I only need 200,000 plays to make $2000/mo. which is plenty of money for a 20-something musician living in Portland (or other affordable artist enclaves). If the question is not: “Can the music industry support three multi-billion dollar corporations?” but instead “Can the music industry support a half million middle class artists?” then these ad-driven economics start to look really revolutionary.
And maybe there’s an opportunity for a few companies to become big by offering services to all of these artists that increase their efficiency or execute the irritating parts of the business on their behalf.