Money and musicians: Rdio's new artist-payment model

The platform pays artists to share both music and recommendations on social-networking sites including Facebook and Twitter -- promoting the company as well as themselves.

One of the creators of Skype has announced a new addition to his digital music service Rdio.

Janus Friis says the Rdio Artist Program is designed to give musicians a better alternative to iTunes Match or Spotify, where some complain that commission rates based on the number of times a song is streamed leaves an artist with almost nothing.

With Rdio, uploaders earn $10 for every new subscriber they lure to the service. The platform pays artists to share both music and recommendations on social-networking sites including Facebook and Twitter -- promoting the company as well as themselves.

San Francisco-based Rdio says this is to reward them for "fan engagement." It's not exactly a secret that artists are generally discontent with the amount of revenue digital music generates -- all the popular streaming services available today, including iTunes Match, Rhapsody, and Spotify, pay less than a penny per song-play -- so although Rdio removes the idea of payment per song, it may be more financially worthwhile for artists.

Once artists sign up for the service, which is currently available in 14 countries, they're given a Web-based account that includes a free page, link creation, embeddable players, and social-networking sharing services. Artists can also check real-time stats to see how popular their songs are.

"There is no art without artists," said Friis. "As part of this industry, we know a business that doesn't reward its most important contributors is a business that has to change. The innovation of the Internet should not be a barrier to the success of music artists; it should allow them to be even more successful."

The Rdio platform hosts more than 18 million songs, which can be listened to and shared across the Web, social networks, and mobile devices.

 

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