The people who run music streaming services have been more transparent about what they pay out to artists. (Full disclosure: I work for Songza, so I have some knowledge of the monthly payouts–and they are substantial. However, this survey does not include data from Songza.)
The Trichordist has published this chart that shows how many streams need to be accessed to equal one paid download.
But let’s be careful with these statistics. Comparing the payouts of streams to downloads is very apples-and-oranges for a couple of reasons.
1. While it does take more streams on, say, Rdio to equal the same payout by Nokia, Rdio is a much more popular service. That means it’s possible to an artist to make more money at a lower rate simply because more people have access to the artist’s material song.
2. And while an artist will make more from a paid download from iTunes, it’s also possible that the reach of a song will be exponentially larger via multiple streaming music services. That, in theory, could result in greater revenue.
Still, these figures will be used to support both sides of the streaming vs. download argument. Nothing has been settled yet.