Music's Worth Depends on Who is Asked
The following is a complete work of guessing costs involved. I'm only trying to place this in perspective; not be the voice of authority in matters I've not been exposed to.
Please contact to correct me.
Here is some quick math for the artist side, as in "how much is playing a song for one person worth"?
If you're an established act playing a 15,000 seat arena, substract all the ancillary costs involved (rental, roadies, equipment, insurance, security, etc). Let's say in a two hour show you play 20 songs.
I'm going to take some guesses here, but I'm only trying to give an idea on worth - not try to establish the exact cost. If an average concert ticket is $50, you've made $750,000 from those 15,000 fans. Total expenses, which should include advertising, may be in the vicinity of $600,000. Pay taxes at a rate of 15% on the $750,000 and you've shoveled $112,500 out the door; ending up with $37,500.
If you've got a good deal with the label it will only take half of that. $18,750 remains. Quickly, at 20 songs, you've made $937.50 per song divided by 15,000 people (or spins) which brings you $0.0625 cents per person per song. Now split that between band members and take into consideration that you've had to travel, stay in hotels, that the "concert" with sound checks and pre-pro is actually a full day's gig, and many more of the associated negative items.
Next look at the average band, the one playing a 125 seat nightclub for three hours - one where pay-to-play is part of the package. Suddenly there's a lot less expense at a cost of much less revenue. Do you believe that each song played there is going to result in band members splitting a $0.0625 cents? Me either.