I think streaming income is one of the most misunderstood systems in the mainstream music industry. It is actually difficult to clearly and simply explain why you get $0.0032 per stream.
The hypothetical that always strikes me is this: If everyone continued to pay their subscription, which (after Spotify’s cut is taken) added up to $1 million, but only ONE of those subscribers played ONE song: Rebecca Black - Friday. The result would be that Rebecca Black - Friday would receive $1 million in streaming income for that single play in that month. That’s right - everyone who hates Rebecca Black and never dreams of playing her songs, their entire subscription money was sent to Rebecca Black, that is actually part of the deal of your subscription money in this case.
It is all proportional to the total pool of money received by Spotify divided evenly amongst plays that users in your region choose to play. This gets a little more convoluted with the sub-tier and ad-supported-tier, but you get the point haha.
I get that musicians feel bad about their plays being ‘valued’ so low. That hurts, but if you are to work in the music industry you have to understand a LOT of weird valuing going on, the financial systems are very different to that of a day job. You have to be careful about comparing your income in that way. If you are worried about the low income per play, remember increasing your fanbase and plays are key.
I get that music has value problems, and we should work on that! Find ways to remind people of the financial worth of music, absolutely - let’s not stop doing that.
Also we need to understand that asking for 1 cent per stream… maybe ask a little differently. Ask Spotify to take a smaller cut, Ask subscribers to value Spotify monthly sub at $20/month instead of $15/month. Those sorts of things are real requests that you can play with and see how it feels, learn something from it. They will increase money per stream if they pass, but you have to specifically ask someone to give more money and for them to say yes. So it is a big music value story there to play with, which is an age old problem which we can all work and struggle to keep it healthy best we can.
Most importantly also move on and keep making some damn music, get better at making music and marketing yourself!