US indie band The Layaways (no, us neither) look set to reignite the row over payments on streaming and cloud-based sites after posting the, let’s  say, “modest” payments the band is receiving from the iTunes Match service.

iTunes Match, which launched in November 2011, allows consumers to store their music in the cloud for an annual fee of $24.99/£21.99, and then stream it to their connected (iOS, of course) devices. The service apparently pays 70% of this annual fee to rightsholders, although each track receives different payment based on factors such as its popularity and exchange rates.

For The Layaways this means $.00012767 per play in November 2011, $.0012083 per play in December 2011, $.0020231 per play in January 2012 and $.0025946 per play in February from iTunes Match in the US. This compares to the band’s average payout from Spotify of $.0041792 cents per play, a figure calculated over several months.

Given the high-profile debate over Spotify payouts since last year – techno producer Gold Panda claimed to have made 19p from the service – it is interesting to see iTunes Match paying significantly lower per-play rates than the Swedish streaming service, especially as Digital Distributor CD Baby claims that pay rates through Match “should look similar to streaming services such as Spotify”.

However, there is some debate over whether iTunes Match, which effectively allows consumers to play music that they have already acquired (be it through fair means or foul), should even have to pay streaming rates. This was an issue that MP3tunes was prepared to go to court over until it was driven into bankruptcy last month as it battled with EMI. As iTunes Match continues to grow, expect this debate to run and run.

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