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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

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:35 pm
by The Elf
blinddrew wrote:But that's a very different question, morally, legally and practically.
Are we saying no-one should get paid until a company makes a profit?
All I want is a fair share of what those taking the money out of the company are getting. I don't think that's too much to ask.

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

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:08 pm
by blinddrew
But how do we define a fair share.

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

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:49 pm
by CS70
blinddrew wrote:But how do we define a fair share.

An interesting question.

Not sure fairness has much to do with the music market (or any market). A market is about supply and demand, and the revenues are always determined by the product of price and efficiency (of production/distribution). It's neither fair nor unfair, it's just how it is. It's also about enforcing rules, for which it's not possible to steal neither the product nor the cash made from selling it.

But I also think that there's two very different perspective at play, which often get conflated: artists for which there is a strong demand, and artist for which there isn't.

For the former - which are a small percentage - the unfairness lie mostly in the fact that market rules aren't enforced very strongly. They don't get to determine the amount of supply even if they are the source of the product, so they reap far less than the amount that a working market would grant them. Spotify and it's payment policy is not a cause of this imho - but a result.

For the latter - the majority - I suspect that simply the demand is non that much higher than the supply - if it's higher at all. For them, Spotify's payment policy is quite irrelevant. 100% of near zero is still a very small number. This is certainly unpleasant, but not sure if it's unfair.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:54 am
by zenguitar
Markets are interesting things, Adam Smith would be horrified by many of the things that are done in his name. Yes, I'm pointing the finger at you, The Adam Smith Institute, among others.

Most industries have a long chain between creators and consumers; and whilst there may be many creators and many consumers, when you look at the steps in-between there are far fewer intermediaries. And it is further confused because many of those intermediaries are active in many creator/consumer chains.

In many cases the real market competition occurs between the intermediate players rather than between the creators and consumers who are reduced to price takers. Lamb is a relatively expensive meat to buy, but that's not reflected in the price a farmer receives at market for a lamb.

Andy :beamup:

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:40 am
by blinddrew
Supply and demand was going to be my next point, along with what pricing a market will bear, but you've covered that now. :)
So for me, the final piece of the discussion is about risk and reward.
Daniel Ek took a number of risks, personal and professional, in setting up Spotify. In doing so he's now able to define his own rewards.
The labels take risks in funding and developing new artists* and they too get to define their own rewards.
The artists also take their share of risks**, but unfortunately 99.99% are never in a position to define their own rewards. There being far more artists than there are label places to fund them they have the shoddy end of the stick.
And it was ever thus.


* Theoretically, different discussion! ;)
** Artist risk is a very variable thing. My full-time musician friends range from owning their homes and doing very nicely (1 of them) to scraping by and wondering how they're going to pay the rent each month. Most of them are at the lower end of somewhere in between. But obviously only one of them is really in a controlling position when it comes to their level of risk.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:48 am
by The Elf
blinddrew wrote:But how do we define a fair share.
I'll go 50/50 with whatever Spotify earn from my music.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:59 am
by blinddrew
But they make a negligible amount from your music, most of their income is still from advertising. If you're driving enough people to their platform that it's showing on their advertising revenue (Hello Taylor Swift) then you're probably already getting a sizeable monthly cheque.
And for your 50% cut, will you go 50/50 with their debts and investment costs?
Fundamentally it doesn't matter what we want, we're not in a position to bargain. We can use their service on their terms or, if we don't like them, we can go elsewhere. Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play and Deezer all pay higher rates for example.

And to get right back to the opening point, no committee of grandstanding MPs is going to make a blind bit of difference to this. Especially not in the UK, where none of these companies are based.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:07 am
by The Elf
Somebody is making money. No-one is making a loss, yet I get peanuts. I doubt any of the Spotify owners are destitute. So why should I be happy sharing a loss that isn't happening?

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!

Go listen to some of what Rick Beato is doing to address this (and this guy is attending court to try to get something done). He understands it much better than me, but he pretty much speaks for how I feel.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:26 am
by blinddrew
So pull your tracks. 5 or 6 years ago that probably wasn't an option as the alternative to Spotify was a return to illegal file sharing. But there are alternatives, some of them paying 2 to 3 times as much. If we all did that Spotify would either have to renegotiate their licensing deal with the majors (which is still where most of the money is going) or go bust.
But we don't do we?
Because we want the distribution reach that we get from Spotify.
So if your music is on Spotify you are recognising that the service they offer is worth the price.
Otherwise why are we using them at all.

Fundamentally this is a market problem not a legislative one, so it requires a market solution. But the simple fact is that, beyond a few big names, most consumers don't really care about music. It's largely interchangeable and there's far more potential supply than there is demand.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:36 am
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.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:37 am
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.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:49 am
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.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:18 pm
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.

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:26 pm
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/

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:59 pm
by desmond
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...