As the music streams, artists see but a trickle in profits

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He may not be a household name, but Will Dailey makes a living as a singer-songwriter. He’d be in much better shape, however, if Spotify would bump up the microscopic royalties it pays for the millions of times his songs are streamed on the global music platform.

Songs from Dailey’s album “National Throat” have been streamed 12 million times on Stockholm-based Spotify since 2014. The online exposure won the Newton singer an international audience.

“I got to go all around the country and Europe with that record,” Dailey said. “It did quite well.”

Except for the royalty checks. Dailey estimates Spotify has paid him just $20,000 or so for those 12 million streams, which works out to less than two-tenths of a penny per play.

“Now there’s a pay structure that’s not really viable to the working artist,” Dailey said.

That’s why he and other Boston-area musicians are demanding higher royalty payments from Spotify and other music-streaming services. In March, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers held protests at 31 Spotify offices worldwide, including the company’s Boston location. Their chief goal is a sort of minimum wage for Spotify artists: 1 cent per stream. At that rate, Dailey’s album would have earned him $120,000.

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