American musician Rosanne Cash has criticised Spotify and streaming music before, but last week she elaborated on her views in a series of Facebook posts. “‘Download’ and ‘stream’ are different animals. If you download and pay, it’s the same as buying a record. If you stream, it’s just dressed- up piracy,” she wrote, although she later added a caveat. “Streaming IS the way of the future– we aren’t blind about that– but musicians shouldn’t be the only ones not getting paid.” Cash also made a specific claim about Spotify: “For 600,000 streams of my songs on Spotify in an 18-month period, I was paid $104.” Which is worrying, because using the $0.0072 average per-stream payout figure claimed by Spotify last year, those 600,000 plays should have generated a total payout of $4,320 to rightsholders. In turn, that suggests that Cash was paid just 2.4% of the royalties from streams of her songs by the label(s) and publisher(s) responsible for her music.

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