I would love to see a “direct payment to artists” streaming service as you suggested. Similar to what Medium does with their Partner Program.
New artists and independent artists who own their own music rights could participate in such a service right now. But that would leave out the superstars and most popular music already recorded. Which would make it harder to get such a service noticed.
But I personally think it could be popular with artists, and they could direct their fans to the service. It has to be better than hoping for scraps that fall off the table at Spotify.