Plenty of high-profile artists–Thom Yorke and David Byrne among them–have come out swinging against streaming music services and how little they’re earning from them. I’ve been thinking a lot about what they’ve had to say and I’ve come to the conclusion that their ire is misplaced. They’re confusing the royalties from physical music sales (CDs and such) with what they get from listens. (See my reasoning here.)
Bette Midler is the latest artist to lose her shit over the rise of streaming. She’s wrong, too, as RAIN points out:
r is the latest high-profile musician to launch a complaint about revenue from music streaming, a meme that we refer to as the Spotify Debate
bear the lash of musicians’ anger more than most other services — and suffer the resulting confusion, too.Music lovers have no responsibility to understand the intricacies of music licensing and statutory royalties that are applied to Internet listening. Many musicians have trouble with the subject, too. When they receive a royalty check and lash out publicly, music stars have the reputation clout to sway public opinion against streaming businesses in a wave of viral confusion, incomplete perspective, and outright misinformation.