To Repeat: Don’t Blame Streaming Music Services for Low Artist Payouts

On Wednesday, I delivered a guest lecture to RTA students at Ryerson University about the situation involving streaming music services and the fees they pay out to artists. This article from CNET covers a lot of what I talked about.

Pop stars complaining about the money they get from Spotify “should go back and talk to their record labels,” according to dance music veteran Steve Angello of Size Records and Swedish House Mafia.

Angello was speaking here today at Ireland’s annual Internet conference Web Summit. A DJ and producer who has worked with the likes of Will.i.am, Nicole Scherzinger and Usher, Angello is best known for being part of dance supergroup Swedish House Mafia that tore up dancefloors in the early noughties. He’s now the boss of Sweden-based Size Records, founded in 2003.

His comments addressed the growing controversy over the amount of money that reaches artists when their music is played on streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music. Stars such as David Byrne, Aimee Mann and Prince are among those complaining that streaming does not pay artists enough to make a living. The most high-profile critic is Taylor Swift, who pulled her music from Spotify and launched a stinging attack on Apple Music that prompted a U-turn on royalties by Apple.

But Angello is clear that it’s not the new streaming companies that are the problem when artists aren’t making a living. “Every streaming service does pay,” he said. The problem is seeing where that money goes. Labels and streaming services have non-disclosure agreements in place that prevent them from revealing their financial dealings, even to the artists themselves. That’s why many artists, such as James Blunt, have looked at their bank statements and immediately questioned the value of streaming, because it’s not clear who’s actually pocketing the cash.

Read the whole thing here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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