You’re not Against Music Artists Payroll, You’re Against Your Life

Rui Nunes
Rui Nunes
Dec 29, 2014 · 5 min read

Google it.

No, don’t search for People Selfish Remarks since you may be overwhelmed by it. But you may end up on news like this about Pharrel Williams earning less than $3.000 dollars for more than 43 Million Streams of his hit song “Happy” through Pandora.

If you check the comments on that article, an overwhelming chunk of those are from people claiming that these artists are rich whiners that just want to buy a bigger jet for every song they make.

Actually, they should! It’s their work. They’ve created something that aired 40 million times on just one platform and it’s a worldwide hit and makes someone “happy” by listening to it. This should be rewarded.
People are mixing a Dinosaur Era Music Management which should be changed and improved to blend to the new music consumption habits with artists that shouldn’t be rich when they are not.

The 1% economy again?

Let’s face it. 99% of the World’s Artists live with very modest, unstable and always migrating lives. It’s a nightmare until you hit the jackpot. That awesome 1% pot of Gold that compensate for every struggle until you reach it. Oh no, it’s that fight the 1% all over again. Sorry! That’s another war and shouldn’t be added here.

Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographercc

But that’s what people are confused about all this discussion. Again, internet users were raged against Taylor Swift regarding her decision to leave Spotify platform. The comments are all about her gold digger obsession and old school music distribution that is not keeping up with the new trends. Honestly? Aired about 40 millions time (Pharrel’s example) and getting just under $3.000 bucks? And what if she just gets 1000 streams? Not even cents? That’s no way to make a living on today’s economy. Even if she sold a record breaking chart in the first week launched, she’s not obliged to “give” her work for free to the fans. Again, if you’re doing great work, you should be compensate every time someone is enjoying it.

Yes, they’ve got other forms of getting a revenue. Live shows for instance, or selling albums, wait, nobody’s buying music anymore — why should they? — when you have a streaming platform that’s is playing that song on a loop several times a day. Ok, the music industry should be revolutionized and change the old school megalomaniac heavy production giants that are becoming obsolete when there’s a new way to reach your audience without that propaganda machine. However, this means that musicians are now bounded to be a success on the road or else they’re live on a trailer for the rest of their life?

Photo credit: Scott Beale with cc

There’s some confusion about comparing Streaming Platforms and Radio Stations. Let’s face it: streaming platforms are really not that good to discover new artists, musics and the such. Radio has a better model to do such thing with curated program authors and a more organized way to share music to target audiences. And certainly top pop artists don’t need to be discovered. As soon as they launch a new album everybody knows and are going to check it out. Major Radio stations also have something better. They have a fan audience listening to their curated content. It’s like your everyday influencer telling you that this new song from U2 is a delight. Even better, when a newcomer is aired on a Radio Station is like having a certification seal from a reputed curator.

Not at all. For once, I consider that Streaming Platforms should revise their business model. This subscription fee for listening to top charts and top artists is way to low to produce something that will equally give some valid retribution to the artists in question. It needs to be reinvented all way around. Maybe have special premium channels like the newest hits. Have the not so hot albums in a freemium system that will provide some value to those who listen and at the same time don’t cannibalize their main source of revenue. As it is now, it’s not adequate.

But Why I’m Against My Life?

When I see the mentioned comments about everyone raging against these artists that are trying to defend their work, a question comes to mind every time: What if it were you?

If you were in their shoes and the same happened to you. Your song was streamed more than 40 million times and you receive a check of less than $3.000 dollars. Forget about your ego for being listened 40 million times. Forget about being recognized at the street and having paparazzo’s getting a fresh new picture of your panties leaving the car? Forget about the glamour and the bling and the such. You’re being cheated by the world.

If you’re a designer you’ve designed something that it’s on all outdoors and webpages in the world. It generated millions for the brands and the middle men agencies but you’ve just get a few cents. If you’re a model, you’ve just shoot some great pictures and you’re at the cover of the major magazines in the world, but you just get something to eat a sandwich. If you’re a writer your novel was distributed for pennies not compensating you for the 6 months it cost you writing it.

So, You’re Against other People’s Rich Life Style

When you’re argument that they don’t need more money to buy a jet or a new car, you’re actually agains’t their lifestyle and their success. What they do with their money is their business. Not yours. Yes, they’re under scrutiny and obviously it’s on their best interest to be a great person as well.

Bottom line is that one should be rewarded by their work. The Free culture that was propagated for several years at the Internet was never really free. Someone was paying for it.

When you’re not paying for something, you’re becoming the product.

In this case, you’re paying a few bucks a month that is diluted by thousands of artists and everyone is getting peanuts. Except the platform itself that is.

Rui Nunes

Passionate about #emailmarketing & #conversionfocus . Founder of several companies and board member of many more. Thrives in getting better results every time.

    Rui Nunes

    Written by

    Rui Nunes

    After more than 19 years working with Permission Marketing, here’s what I’m doing now: @kwankogroup Head of Digital and @emailbidding Manager Portugal

    Rui Nunes

    Rui Nunes

    Passionate about #emailmarketing & #conversionfocus . Founder of several companies and board member of many more. Thrives in getting better results every time.

    Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
    Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
    Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade