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Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

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May 06, 2009

Last.fm Royalties for Q1 2009
by David Harrell

Last.fm banner

Last.fm royalty reports for the first quarter of 2009 are out. Here's what my band received for the various streaming and radio options for our songs on Last.fm:
Free on demand: 0.5 cents per stream

Premium on demand: no royalties received

Premium radio: 0.4 cents per play

Free radio: .04995 cents per play
The per-play payout rate for free on-demand streams was unchanged from the previous quarter. Our payout for free radio decreased slightly from Q4 2008, when we received .057 cents per play. And the premium rate increased significantly from Q3 2008, the last time we had premium radio plays. For that quarter, we received 1/10th of a cent for each play and we received four times that amount for Q1 2009. According the FAQ section for the Last.fm artist royalty program, the per-play payout rates for each type of play are variable, based on ad revenue. And for the two premium options, the payout is the greater of a set minimum or a percentage of ad revenue:
- If your track is played on our free radio service you will accrue a 10% of the Share of Last.fm's Net Revenue (see the definition of "Share" and "Net Revenue" in the terms and conditions) from the free radio service.

- If your track is played on our personalised premium radio service, you will accrue the greater of either 10% of the Share of Last.fm's Net Revenue from the personalised radio service, or US $0.0005 for each complete transmission on the personalised radio service.

- If your track is played on our free on-demand service, you will accrue 30% of the Share of Last.fm’s Net Revenue from the on-demand radio service.

- If your track is played on our premium on-demand service, you will accrue the greater of either 30% of the Share of Last.fm's Net Revenue from the premium on-demand service, or US $0.005 for each complete transmission on the prepaid or subscription on-demand service.
While the change in the premium radio is large enough to assume a substantial change in ad revenue, given the relatively small number of free radio plays we received, the change of .007 cents in the payout rate for those plays might just be the result of rounding.

One thing that surprises me is that the payout for free on demand rate has remained static for the past three quarters. It's supposedly variable, but I'm wondering if Last.fm has opted to pay a flat 0.5 cents per play until ad revenue increases or stabilizes. I don't know what the payout rates are for major label material, but assuming they are similar to those for the smaller labels and artists opting into the royalty program, Last.fm has a strong incentive to keep the on-demand rates high enough to ensure ongoing participation by the major labels.

related: Last.fm Royalties for Q4 2008, Last.fm Artist Royalty Details

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    THE LAYAWAYS

    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-next-year">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs


    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at Last.fm.



    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at Last.fm or Napster.



    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/weve-been-lost">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.



    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website