Streaming service Rdio’s plans to start paying artists for referring fans who then become paying subscribers are well known, but the details were announced this morning.
Rdio will now pay artists $10 for every new subscriber attracted through “social sharing”, if that subscriber stays for at least a month. Scissor Sisters, Snoop Dogg, Chromeo and Brendan Benson are already on board.
The scheme is complemented by analytics, tools to create trackable referral links, and embedded players for their sites. It’s opening in all 14 countries where Rdio has launched.
According to CEO Drew Larner, it’s a direct response to arguments over streaming payouts for musicians. “The issue of the moment for artists is that they don’t feel they are getting paid enough on streaming services,” he tells Music Ally.
“It’s not that we don’t charge a fair price – we do. Or that we don’t give the labels a fair percentage – we do. It’s because it hasn’t reached the scale of the likes of iTunes or what they are used to. We are saying to them to help us build scale, we will pay them for helping build that scale on the affiliate side. And as they help build scale for us they will get paid as well.”
Larner is keen to stress that labels should not see the scheme as a threat – a similar idea from audio-books service Audible provoked unrest from book publishers earlier in the year.
“If this drives subscribers they benefit,” he says. “We are not licensing content from these guys [the artists]. We are not getting in the middle of negotiations for new record deals. That’s not the point.”