The harsh reality about the music business, and a pantomime led by clueless self-regarders. – Music Business Worldwide

All these supposed market middle-men– be gone! Now all we need to do is discover a super-fair way of dispersing the billions in yearly Spotify revenue that we just earmarked, direct to the artists.

While were in extreme mode, Spotify can do one too. (Well have that $100 million back n all, Mr Rogan sir.).

Here it is. Amongst all the industry-wide debate over equitable streaming payouts, this has actually cracked it. Lastly, a genuinely innovative idea that makes sure an actual fair share of the billions of dollars Spotify makes goes to every artist.

For starters, lets stop arguing about what royalty share record companies should draw from their specific agreements with artists. Lets simply cut those suckers out altogether. You read right: lets eliminate the majors! Nighty night you million-dollars-an-hour makers!

Indie labels too. And suppliers. No-one gets their grubby mitts on artist cash in the new MBW utopia.

Absolutely no tolerance for wastage! No act left! All artists have worth!

Accepting the harsh fact of the 1% guideline would lead us to value that there is a really particular subsect of artists out there– a not particularly-numerous subsect– whose lives could be truly transformed by strong modifications to the current streaming model. (Songwriters, chill; I will get to you, I promise.).

Its a tough one to swallow, granted: fans, not evil market machinations, wont make it possible for 99% of todays artists to make money from their tape-recorded music. However a prevalent acceptance of this truism would lastly support grown-up conversations about the realities of the modern music business, and how it can be enhanced.

In 2021, we can be very positive that there are 3 million artists (really possibly as much as 4 million) whose music is offered on Spotify today.

Well, weve eliminated Spotify, weve eliminated the significant record companies, weve eliminated the indie record companies, and weve eliminated the suppliers. Theyre all dead, so its no excellent pointing fingers in any of those directions.

Terrible bastards. Do not they know #allartistshavevalue?

Hmm. Time to buy BitCoin?


Lets attempt something various. According to Spotify itself, 90% of all streams on its service are currently shared between simply 43,000 artists.

Since, remember, #allartistshavevalue.

So, easy math, lets give 90% of our annual Spotify billions– which weve netted with no labels on the take, no distributors on the take, and with no Spotify on the take– direct to those 43,000 artists, divided uniformly.

The Other Day, Lee Parsons– CEO and co-founder of Ditto Music– revealed his enjoyment about this truth in an open letter on MBW.

No! keep the faith associates! There has to be a super-fair method to divide this $5.91 bn that suggests artists can afford lease.

Today (January 19), I enjoyed in shock as a group of politicians grilled the 3 heads of the UKs significant record companies on electronic camera as part of a DCMS Select Committee.

The other 2.957 million artists would get … $199.86 each. For the year.

Those developed discussions are especially vital right now, as the pandemic solitarily ruins important aspects of artist income.

The number of artists are we talking about? And how numerous streams does it require to join their ranks? Humor me.

Parsons, whose pugnacious style on Twitter doesnt precisely detract from conflict, was swamped with criticism on the social platform for daring to recommend that the steady extending of the 1% club– the welcoming of more artists, particularly more independent artists into this unique crucible– was a good thing.

Now, lets run these numbers right into the promised land.

Spotifys total yearly earnings in 2019 was EUR5.259 bn, which exchanges in USD to roughly $5.91 bn.

So … what provides? Were living under MBWs brand-new dream utopia for artists, yet barely 1% of all musicians on earth are getting a comfy– if barely superstar– six-figure annual salary from their taped music on Spotify.

Songwriters. (Told you I d get to you, you Secret Genuises you.) Under the current streaming model, as negotiated by– and accepted by– the 3 significant music companies, Spotify et al are paying publishers and songwriters less than a quarter of the cash they are paying artists and record companies. This does not appear reasonable. The reality that the 3 biggest record business are owned by the same moms and dads as the 3 greatest music publishing business– which its relatively in the rewarding interest of those moms and dads for the % of the pie handed to publishers, instead of labels, to stay low– seems a bit … dodgy? Explain.
You all spend a big amount of money on the finalizing and advancement of artists (A&R). The cash fuelling that system comes mainly from shown back brochure, with artists who signed life-of-copyright deals at a time when the odds were stacked versus them, and royalty rates were much lower than they were today. What have you done to bring these historic offers closer to contemporary record plans, where rights reversions are usually much shorter, and royalty rates are significantly higher for the artist?

A number of those who dont want to acknowledge the root truth to this tale– that its eventually fans, not distributors, not tape-record labels, not even Spotify, who crown the 1% as streaming winners, and leave the 99% in the cold– were livid with him.

And lets provide the rest, the remaining 10%, to the other 2.957 million artists, divided equally.

Parsons explained: “A thousand artists earned at least $84,000 (21 million X $0.004), again simply from streaming platforms, and just from the UK, in one year, in 2020.”.

With this in mind, this group of MPs need to have smashed three extremely particular, and especially tough, posers for David Joseph (CEO, Universal Music UK), Jason Iley (CEO, Sony Music UK) and Tony Harlow (CEO, Warner Music UK).

These are questions ensured to make major music business heads squirm. Theyre also rooted in the principle that a government-aided push in the ideal instructions might in fact lead to market enhancement.

Heres how that exercises. The 43,000 artists would get $123,697 each. Development!

Considering thats about half the average monthly rent in New York City, this experiment has not just resulted in the death of the contemporary record industry (bye labels!, its also resulted in the death of recorded music as a commercially worthwhile medium.

So … $5.91 billion divided equally between 3 million artists, would net each artist … erm, $1,970.

Its a fact of life based on the only people who matter: the fans, and what they pick to listen to.

” Just from the UK”– very essential that bit. Since when global streaming earnings are added up (from over 180 other countries), were really discussing much more– likely several thousands– of UK artists making that kind of cash each year from streaming.

According to Spotifys prospectus ahead of its 2018 flotation on the New York Stock Exchange, there were “more than 3 million developers and artists” on its platform.

To Parsons, its evidence positive that, slowly but undoubtedly, the elite riches of the record market are beginning to be democratized, and spread amongst a slowly more various group of artists.


Today, this misguided fury became enhanced yet even more in the UKs passages of power.

Thats disgraceful, clearly. Who can those 2.957 million artists blame for this unjust plight?

The most radical, neo-Marxist service here, obviously, would be to give each of these 3 million artists an equal share of our just-Robin Hood-ed Spotify billions.

Those questions are:.

The present streaming system sees payments based on the one bit pot system, whereby subscriber cash from all over the world is divided based on total market share of plays for each artist and label. This clearly screws the “bottom of the 1%- ers”. It likewise suggests that my $9.99 monthly Spotify money goes to artists I do not even play, which is madness. Are you in favor of a user-centric system, where if I wish to play a single artist all month, the totality of my money (minus costs) goes to that artist?

This is not a scenario created by Spotify. Its not even a scenario produced by the major record companies.

This was a once-in-a-generation chance for elected officials to zone in on the injustices of streaming, and work towards a progressive conclusion that benefitted those getting screwed most rawly by the current system.

In contrast, regardless of our fantasy specifications, over 99% of artists are barely making enough cash to manage the internet connection required to reveal their unyielding rage about it.

Weve also totally left out songwriters and publishers from this calculation. (Luckily, songwriters are rather accustomed to being ignored in streaming royalty conversations, so we must get away with it. If they become uppity, simply pat them on the head and call them Secret Geniuses and theyll soon pipeline down.).

Specifically, Im discussing those artists who are within the 1%, but at the lower end of the 1%.

In specific, this suggests those at the bottom-end of the 1%– where 90%- plus of streams live, remember– whose fallback of live exploring earnings has been cruelly stolen from them by Covid. Or to keep it short: artists in fact popular adequate to have a possible opportunity of earning a living from streaming.

Previously this month, the BPI– the UKs taped music trade body– put out stats that showed that the thousandth most popular artist in the United Kingdom in 2020 racked up over 21 million streams on audio platforms. The 999 artists above that act in appeal terms drew in more than 21 million.

A tiny minority of artists, the 1% ers (nudging towards the 2% ers), will make enough to survive on.

These are artists who might be, and perhaps should have to be, earning a liveable amount of money from streaming. Yet perhaps due to individual legal scenarios, or perhaps due to structural industry barriers, theyre in the club with the haves … however regretfully at the wrong end of the strata of popularity.

Within the 43,000 artists in Spotifys 1% club, we can approximately anticipate– based upon SPOTs existing global income breakdown (see listed below)– that around 37% of these acts live in the United States (i.e. around 16,000) and around 10% (4,300) live in the United Kingdom.

Welcome to the incredibly extreme truth: The huge, vast bulk of artists making music today, around 99% of them, are never going to make sufficient money from streaming to survive on.

You understand the number of these concerns got asked?

I mean, like, any variation on these questions? Absolutely no. Zero. Fucking absolutely no!

Literally: even Spotify seems to care more about songwriters than these MPs.


In an hour and 45 minutes of questioning, ill-informed MPs, drunk on the self-regard of insulting the “Mr Bigs” of the UK industry, ballsed it up royally.

No-one else among the NINE political leaders jabbering away for almost 2 hours asked ONCE about the streaming divides between documented music and songwriters … and no-one went near the concept of the majors owning both the biggest labels and the largest publishing business in the land.

Across those 105 minutes, according to MBWs ears, the word “songwriter” and “songwriters” collectively got discussed just three times– twice by Alex Davies-Jones MP in concerns about charities, and once by David Joseph.

What of user-centric licensing? Perhaps the most important and important possible modification the streaming market could make in favour of the lower-end-of-the-1%?

Artist (and artist advocate) Sandie Shaw was priced estimate, making the interesting point that “theres no such thing as the UK record industry” these days, due to the truth that multi-national companies now own its largest record and publishing companies.

Its a fact worth celebrating, but its likewise a location that beams out an extreme light, illuminating an even harsher fact:.

Jeepers macreepers.

We had to wait 55 minutes (55 minutes !!) for it to be brought up. And it wasnt brought up by a political leader. It was volunteered by among the supposed boogeymen of this milieu– Universals David Joseph (imagined inset).

Far away from the Parliamentary bickering and the brickbats, the domain of the 1% continues to grow in size, gradually, year after year.

You particularly.

Under the present streaming design, as worked out by– and accepted by– the three significant music companies, Spotify et al are paying songwriters and publishers less than a quarter of the money they are paying artists and record companies. (In reply to this, Jason Iley, UK employer of Sony, revealed that of the $768m in Spotify stock Sony banked in 2018, it then paid out $250m “into artists pockets”. Those rich artists reside deep in the 1%; the harsh, unfeeling, unapologetically prejudiced 1%.

At one point, Joseph attempted suggest that Universals present lineup of artists were delighted with the royalties and advances theyre being paid by the business.

However, Joseph recommended user-centric might assist, and that political leaders may want to talk about with streaming platforms how “all of the streams are pertaining to [ labels] and artists based on appeal, and there are other methods we could take a look at that”.

Are you in favor of a user-centric system, whereby if I desire to play a single artist all month, the whole of my cash (minus costs) goes to that artist?

Bang on, sir. For all quarters.

Well, yes. Those rich artists live deep in the 1%; the cruel, unfeeling, unapologetically discriminatory 1%. A place powered by fans, far beyond the reach of self-regarding, crusading political leaders, who dont even do the fundamental research needed to ask taxing, consequential questions of major music company heads.

In defence of his team at Universal Music UK, David Joseph said that significant record business sometimes suffer from a “representation of Slitherine” rather than his experience of “a company of Gryffindors”.

But, in the primary, the occasion was gobbled up and thwarted by political leaders who knew they were on video camera, and enjoying the pantomime. They were clearly straining to be seen to bruise their phantom Mr Bigs– and evoke cheers from digital hecklers– instead of gathering evidence to make meaningful change.

I suggest, were not professionals in this field … our job is to sit and listen to individuals in the industry. Youre an extremely unhappy industry; artists are not delighted. Im sure the extremely abundant artists are delighted!”.

Joseph noted that certain artists with smaller, passionate fanbases are more heavily dependent on live music than taped music, and that theyve been particularly screwed by Covid-19s removal of concerts. Joseph likewise noted that “sadly, its not possible and its not logical that [lost visiting earnings] will be quickly changed by the money that they make from their recordings”.

#allartistshavevalue #butnotallmusic #isworththesameMusic Business Worldwide.

” I” m sure the really rich artists are pleased!”.

It continued like this.

Julian Knight MP, rattled back: “I think the efficiency has actually been more Hufflepuff today, to be truthful with you, Mr Joseph.”.

There was, amongst the dross and the droning, a smattering of good exchanges about digital breakage payments, the variation in record label offer types, and whether the majors stakes in Spotify were anti-competitive. (In reply to this, Jason Iley, UK manager of Sony, exposed that of the $768m in Spotify stock Sony banked in 2018, it then paid out $250m “into artists pockets”. Sony previously validated it did so while ignoring unrecouped balances, which describes why that number is rather so high.).

Well Mr. Nicolson, my mates sisters cousins pet dog says you simply missed an OPEN GOAL to help change the fortunes of thousands of artists, through an useful modification to a rigged streaming payment system thats gone on method too long.

A really revolutionary idea that guarantees an actual reasonable share of the billions of dollars Spotify makes goes to every artist.

Yes: a leading representative for the biggest music rightsholder on earth just made favorable sounds about the possibility of totally changing the licensing structure of streaming services to benefit smaller sized artists.

John Nicolson MP responded to Josephs user-centric point by stating this: “Musicians have informed us, independently and off the record, that theyre frightened of you. Bosses– record business employers like you– and theyre too afraid to speak in public.

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