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Portishead made just $2,500 off 34 million streams

on April 14, 2015, 8:12pm

The fact that streaming services like Spotify, iTunes, and even YouTube do next to nothing for an artist’s income is not a new revelation. But just last month, a new report found that streaming music outperformed CD sales for the first time ever in 2014, bringing in a staggering $1.87 billion dollars (compared to the lowly $1.85 earned by CDs). So maybe it’s not all so bad, right?

Eh, wrong. Last year, Spotify claimed to have delivered a healthy $500 million to rights holders last year. In case you need a reminder that rights holders aren’t necessarily the artist, Geoff Barrow of Portishead recently shared this Tweet:

We’ll save you the currency exchange — That’s about $2,511.79 in USD. After some heated back-and-forth with a few followers, Barrow clarified a few things:

Even at a rough estimate, this comes out to about 0.007 cents per-stream going into Barrow’s pocket. And note who Barrow calls out in the end of his initial Tweet? That’s Universal Music Group, the massive music corporation that owns the equally massive Universal Music Publishing Group. They’ve yet to respond with how much money they racked in off of Portishead’s 34 million streams (Update: check the math in the comments for an estimate), but to be fair, they seem to be on a roughly one-tweet-a-month schedule.

Barrow wasn’t just concerned about his own earnings, either. In further tweets, he responded to one follower who came down on a “poor rock star [who] isn’t making as much money as he used to:”

Unlike Mumford and Sons and Ben Gibbard, Barrow has yet to comment on Jay Z’s proposed solution to this revenue problem, TIDAL. Based on how he responded here, however, he’s likely as skeptical as many others.