The math gets really weird when you have a band with, say, 2000 downloads, and their royalty is a nickel. How much would it cost spotify to process that transaction? And the song with only a few hundred downloads… how do they pay out that 14% of a penny?
We’re sort of a point in the music indistry where artists have to give their music away for free, then hope they can make money by playing concerts, merchandise (t-shirts, vinyl, Funko Pops, whatever), and selling their songs for movies, tv, video games, and commercials.
It’s weird to think of a vinyl LP as merchandise, but when they cost $30 and exist as a specialized product, they more or less fall i to the same category as bobbleheads.