(A) new report from the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship says these (streaming royalty) squabbles miss the point. In fact, there are a bunch of other players, complex accounting and backroom deals that stand between the royalties services pay out and the artists' paychecks.
Here's the rub: those royalties are passed down a line of rights groups, publishers or third-party distributors before they make it to the label and then the artist. These players are supposed to divvy up the royalties companies like Spotify are paying out, which is complicated; the composition and recording are usually two separate copyrights, or there might be several co-writers or publishers. All the agreements dictating those payments are secret, and researchers found that royalty statements were difficult to parse.
As the music landscape converts to streaming, the advantages of the self-released artist become even more apparent. May you live in interesting times, indeed.