Alright, the following may be either depressing or inspiring for our fellow recording artists. We, as in Boutique Empire, just received our royalties for the 4th quarter of radio play on the last.fm site. There were something like 2700 radio plays accumulated over the past few months and the royalties came in at $1.70. So while this represents a payout of approximately $0.0005 per play, you can see how it might add up if the acts were to attain widespread popularity.
Consider that last.fm is a free site: free to the user, and free to artists to upload their songs onto. Now consider it's revenue is mainly gained through advertising and you never Hear an add, you only have to avert your eyes from the one's displayed on the page. There are no announcers pressing their false sense of enthusiasm on you, there are no insipid commercials to drain your consciousness, and thankfully there isn't any music you have to endure if you don't like it. (that skip ahead button is quite handy!) While we may consider $1.70 quite paltry compared to commercial radio play, it still represents a minuscule revenue for the indie artists and labels out there. Nobody's paying their rent, but these are the early days, and perhaps we're starting to see models appear on the Internet that offer solutions for the modern musician. I know iLike.com is offering something similar on their site as well.
Saying all this, please check out last.fm. Feel free to start at the Boutique Empire page and wander from there. It is a wonderful resource for finding new and old music. Just imagine it as a radio station rather than a site like myspace. Enter a group or artist that you enjoy into the player and then allow the software to start choosing other "like" music for you to enjoy. At first it may seem a bit obvious or weird, but the software learns your tastes and starts making more informed decisions of what to send you as you listen longer. Try it out, you may really enjoy it.