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Armen Chakmakian on Royalties



There’s no doubt that the new music economy is brutal. We all know that. But we rarely get to see the actual numbers. Luckily someone is brave enought to come forward. Armen Chakmakian, who in 1992 were nominated for Grammy for Best New Age music album with the band Shadowfax, has published a list of his pay outs. It is not pretty reading.

On Digital Music News Armen writes:

There are tons of articles about music streaming sites like Pandora, Spotify, etc in relation to recording artists making money or not.  Here’s a screen capture of my quarterly royalty statement.  14,227 performances of music (almost every track 100% owned by me) generated $4.20.  Notice one performance of “Ceremonies” or “Distant Lands” streaming radio show like Hearts of Space that brings in 26 cents for the full writer’s share compared to 2,088 performances of “Gypsy Rain” on Spotify that brought in a total of 60 cents.

Someone’s making money, and in true fashion with the music industry, it’s not the artists.  Business practices like this are one of the reasons I jumped ship and only write for television now.

Read it all here.

  • Sagerose

    This breaks my heart. Everyone who can must do something to reverse this reality and trend before we lose the wonderful talents of our most gifted people.

    • As a internet radio owner I can say that the royalties situation is a mess. I track mine to the penny and pay everything due, but wonder sometimes where it really goes… Then there is the issue with FM stations not “having” to pay (loop hole in the current laws). That is one reason I give as much “free” advertising and promotion I can to the artists. It is my personal way to help out, the only way I know how….

      • Sagerose

        Does everyone know about the Future of Music Coalition website that advocates for musicians? Check it out.

  • I’m on the Executive Board of a new organization formed to do something about this problem on behalf of the people who create the content that the tech industry exploits without fair compensation. We are called the Content Creators Coalition. We are just about to go public in a big way, and have already been involved in efforts to lobby congress about specific legislation. Please join at: http://www.contentcreatorscoalition.org

  • Sagerose

    I signed up for the coming newsletter but I want to make the point that it is not only the creators who would be involved in this project but the consuming public, as well. Let us in on the discussions. Give us a way to contribute (not just $$) I want to honor the work of the creators as well as participate as a follower and purchaser of their creations by offering any support I can.

  • Being an independent artist, I know what it is to not generate any sort of income. I’ve been composing music in this genre from 8 years, and in all seriousness, my royalties are beyond pathetic. Even though my music has been featured through out worldwide internet radio stations, but mostly all have a no royalty clause… It is sad when the artist can not even make any a descent amount for his talents, but that’s the music business for you.

    • Sagerose

      It pains me every time I purchase a new album to know that the monetary rewards are being drained away from the artist by “the business.” I am not happy to settle for what the “business” has become. When people cannot survive or tolerate certain situations, they create change around them with their craft . We are seeing change now throughout the world in many different disciplines. I want to support change that gives a benefit to the artist whatever kind he/she is. Just give me the means to do it!