If the bands were making and selling "hard" products like tins of baked beans, machine parts or clothing, the distributors (in this case that's Spotify, etc) would either buy the product and sell for a margin or distribute for a fee. Either way, the manufacturer (in this case, the band, etc) would receive income in direct relation to units sold. "Soft" products are no less valuable but because they are generally intangible, easily copied and distributed, they seem to be treated differently. A short while a go, a friend of mine (a well known and respected photographer near where I live) was approached a number of times to take wedding photos and create albums - for free - on the basis that the couples would pass to their family and friends and put the photos on websites - all of which would provide the photographer with shed-loads of additional business. He declined their "generous" offers. In the case of the photographer or, maybe even the bands, the offer of genuinely massive widespread "free" publicity might be a calculated gamble worth accepting, on the basis that it could be an important stepping-stone to greater things for those just getting into the business. However, irrespective of who the streaming site operator might be, why would world-renowned, established and highly sought after bands and singer / songwriters agree to get nothing (or a pittance) from a company that makes revenue from advertising renters and subscribers to their streaming service. I have a "free" account with a streaming service and some of the bands / artists I've listened to have tens and even hundreds of millions of "listens". Even if the streaming service paid the band / artist $0.005 per listen, a 200k listen track would generate $1,000 It seems like someone is making a lot of money here and, in my naïve world, I would have thought that creating a system that rewards the ban / artist, record label and distributor equitably would be a good thing.