Is Lorde making a living?
"74 million US radio spins as of last week - that's considerable revenue for record company and rights holders right there, without factoring in digital streams - and of course any actual sales."Featured comment
Kiwi singing sensation Lorde reached number three in the US Billboard charts this week, behind mega stars Katy Perry and Robin Thicke.
Ella Yelich O’Connor has already made the cover of Billboard magazine and is a finalist for New Zealand’s premier song writing award – all at the age of 16.
But is the popstar – who posted on social media when her eftpos card declined at Subway – actually making any money?
While fans attended for nothing, Lorde was paid an undisclosed amount by The Radio Network for her first major New Zealand concert last week.
Ironically the concert was to launch iHeartRadio, an online streaming service.
It is the introduction of online stations, as well as mass piracy, which has changed the way musicians make money.
Music manager Janette Searle says few New Zealand artists make money off streaming services.
“As an artist you can’t ignore Spotify or those platforms but you have to use them as a marketing tool rather than a valid income stream.
However she says Lorde may be different since she has the backing of a major label, Universal.
“Lorde will be making money - I think she is up there in the millions in terms of listens and streams.”
“She’s part of a machine which is awesome for her as she has the support of a top booking agent and has been co-writing with Joel Little (formerly of Goodnight nurse).”
Ms Searle says maybe Lorde just hasn’t had her payday yet.
“Artist’s income is a good balance between concerts and royalties and the due to the account cycle any royalties she earns she won’t realize for a good 6-12 months.”
Recorded Music NZ chief executive Damian Vaughan says having a billboard top ten album is going to be fantastic for Lorde and will lead to revenue through multiple album sales eventually.
But he cedes the industry is in “a state of transition”, as ten years ago it was worth double what it is worth now.
He says last year the New Zealand music industry had an increase in revenue of 0.6% in New Zealand, which was a slightly bigger increase than the global figure of 0.3%.
This is also reflected in the most recent International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) survey, which says the industry is recovering from struggles long said to be due to digital downloads.
The study showed digital revenues for record companies are up 9% on the year prior, to total at US$5.6 billion.