MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by shufflebeat »

zenguitar wrote:Lamb is a relatively expensive meat to buy, but that's not reflected in the price a farmer receives at market for a lamb.

...or the price paid by the lamb.

[/militant veggie propaganda].

But also works as a metaphor in this discussion.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by The Elf »

You're assuming this is a choice I can make on my own. Not so. And most people, myself included, have neither the resources or motivation to fight it. I'm just glad that others do.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by blinddrew »

The Elf wrote:You're assuming this is a choice I can make on my own. Not so.

I'm not being facetious here, genuine question, but why can't you make the choice?

For what it's worth, I think if there's anyone who should be campaigning about this it's the musician's union (and their US and European equivalents) and any minor labels out there who are still genuinely representing the interests of their artists. Unfortunately their clout is negligible compared to the majors who are plainly happy with the status quo.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by The Elf »

blinddrew wrote:
The Elf wrote:You're assuming this is a choice I can make on my own. Not so.

I'm not being facetious here, genuine question, but why can't you make the choice?

Most music I make is with other artists (I'm not the 'name') and these decisions are taken by them and their labels.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by James Perrett »

The Elf wrote: You asked what would be 'fair' - I said 50/50.

Be careful what you wish for - 50/50 is actually worse than the 65/35 that Spotify currently pays according to

https://musically.com/2020/05/05/spotif ... about-how/
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by muzines »

I don't think Spotify will ever make the amount of revenue they'd need to pay artists better.

I'm not sure what the ratio of subscribers to free users is, but it's heavily in favour of the free users of course. And I can't see that Spotify generates a huge amount in advertising either - whenever I use it, there's still an awful lot of "Hey, Spotify is awesome, come sign up" or "Check out this cool playlist"-type ads, which I'm sure they'd rather replace with larger, more hi-profile paid ad campaigns than just fill up spots with their in-house stuff. That's not a good sign for how in-demand their ad spots are, or how well they're selling...

It's difficult to hope more people will sign up to paid subscriptions when kids are all just watching their artists on YouTube and are perfectly happy with it...
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by blinddrew »

The Elf wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
The Elf wrote:You're assuming this is a choice I can make on my own. Not so.

I'm not being facetious here, genuine question, but why can't you make the choice?

Most music I make is with other artists (I'm not the 'name') and these decisions are taken by them and their labels.

Ah yes, of course. :headbang:
Sorry, you're always a musician first to me Paul! :D
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by blinddrew »

James Perrett wrote:Be careful what you wish for - 50/50 is actually worse than the 65/35 that Spotify currently pays according to

https://musically.com/2020/05/05/spotif ... about-how/

I was just about to go and see if I could find this out. When I signed my brief recording deal I was on a 50/50 cut but I'm conscious that was very unusual.

desmond wrote:I don't think Spotify will ever make the amount of revenue they'd need to pay artists better.

I'm not sure what the ratio of subscribers to free users is, but it's heavily in favour of the free users of course. And I can't see that Spotify generates a huge amount in advertising either - whenever I use it, there's still an awful lot of "Hey, Spotify is awesome, come sign up" or "Check out this cool playlist"-type ads, which I'm sure they'd rather replace with larger, more hi-profile paid ad campaigns than just fill up spots with their in-house stuff. That's not a good sign for how in-demand their ad spots are, or how well they're selling...

It's difficult to hope more people will sign up to paid subscriptions when kids are all just watching their artists on YouTube and are perfectly happy with it...

Add that to how young people listen to music now (30 secs, skip, 30 secs, skip etc) and you do wonder how you can monetise that.
None of which is going to be solved by some posing MPs in London. Washington maybe, California or Sweden even, perhaps, but London? It's just trying to get some column inches to be seen to be 'doing something' for the arts.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Martin Walker »

The Elf wrote:You asked what would be 'fair' - I said 50/50. If that amounts to peanuts then so be it, but at least it would be fair peanuts. At the moment I'm having my pockets picked and everyone around is smiling and seemingly justifying it!

Well said Paul!

I refuse to join/use Spotify or any other paid streaming service on moral grounds., because basically I consider them rip-off merchants. Even though I'm on Amazon Prime, I have never streamed a single one of the millions of mainstream tracks they offer me free of charge as part of my membership.

That probably sound silly and pointless to some people, but I firmly believe that rampant streaming is slowly but surely killing off music, which is why I spend so much on Bandcamp purchases to directly support musicians whose output I enjoy.

I applaud Drew for putting together such cogent arguments, but for me streaming remains a gut feeling of distrust against a corrupt system.

I must have got out of the wrong side of the bed today ;)

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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by blinddrew »

It's a difficult one, especially given the link that James posted above (which is one of the best I've seen actually - good find!)
Do we want a fairer music business? I suspect we'd all answer yes.
But how many businesses are effective on the basis of 'fairness'?
Actually there are a few you can pick out, but they're generally outlier examples - not because they have to be, but because investors and stock markets are nervous, panicky things that don't trust what they don't understand.
We've spent so long working up a system that works on the meanest of principles that it struggles with the idea that a lot of people would actually support something better.
It's especially difficult for any kind of new entrant to a market to work like this as they need the funding which comes from the existing structures and mechanisms.
But we've seen what happens when we try not making the product available to the customer in a format and price that they're comfortable with.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by muzines »

Martin Walker wrote:for me streaming remains a gut feeling of distrust against a corrupt system.

I know these are not simplistic arguments, but who do you guys see as the responsible parties for this current state of affairs:-

- The tech companies for seizing an opportunity to build and develop streaming platforms for a clear market
- The tech companies being too greedy (either not paying back enough, or not charging enough to the end user to build market share etc)
- The labels for licensing their artists' music for cheap to such platforms knowing that returns are poor compared to the old model
- The labels for licensing their artists' music to such platforms but not passing enough of those revenues on to the artists
- The labels for generally not being "fair" to their artists and exploiting them anyway they can
- The market for not wanting to buy (and re-buy) CD's at £10-20 a pop any more
- The market not valuing music as being something that needs to be paid for, or owned
- The high availability of "free" music (in the old days of course, we still had "free" music, because of radio - the difference being, although the end user didn't see the costs, the radio stations *were* paying to play that music.)

(Of course, all of these things, and others, are factors to varying degrees).

I mean, no matter whether we're talking old-model or today's state of affairs, the details of what "fair" would be, in relation to labels and artists, would seem to differ significantly depending on which side of that relationship you're talking to. It just seems to me that when there was coke+lamborghini money floating around, there was enough for everyone (at least "successful" artists) and those people didn't question too hard (until their managers abscond with all the money!). Others were willing to slum for nothing it in the hope of reaching those heights one day.

Now the coke and lambo money of the 80s & 90s is long gone, everyone's having to scramble much harder to survive. As was always the case, the people at the top do well, people who *should* do well manage to scrape by, and everyone else struggles - much as it has always been. At least there are other avenues where artists can reach their audiences, and generate revenue (let's leave the current state of the live situation due to CO19 out of this for now...)

How do we get to a music model that works for everyone - because we've never had that before, either...

Should the vast majority of artists skip the labels entirely (or at least while it makes sense) and go to their audience directly? Do they even need marketing muscle when the power of crowdsourcing and sharing can build and fuel your reach? Is making a good living from art something that should be available to everybody, or has it always been hard to do?
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by CS70 »

zenguitar wrote:Lamb is a relatively expensive meat to buy, but that's not reflected in the price a farmer receives at market for a lamb.

That's true, but when port the analogy back to recorded music, the issue is that buyers don't particularly want it. It's like farming camel meat - your main problem as a farmer is not gonna be your percentage on the final sale price, but that too few people want to buy camel meat.

For artists who are in demand it's definitely worth looking at. But, as Drew, I suspect these aren't the ones which clamor for "fairer" conditions.

In any case, it seems to me that what's worth focusing on is very different for the "in demand" vs. the "not in much demand" categories.

If you are an artist in demand, a very interesting point is whether or not there is a difference between the money you get as an independent (i.e owning your own copyrights and basically being your own label to some degree), and the money that a a "big" label gets (what is it, Universal, Sony, Warner?). They should more or less be the same, but I suspect they aren't?
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