Artists, Bands, and Musicians Fear a Backlash If They Speak Out Against Streaming Royalties, Lawmakers Say…

It's time to take the streaming platforms to the task and provide an “income” for indie artists so they can pay their rent!

Photo by Puria Berenji on Unsplash

As we move forward into the year 2021, has anything really changed in the music industry artists are still hungry for success, but does success ever happen for them, or more to the point do the BIG companies allow them to have success, or will they always keep you in the shadows never to be seen again!

Only just recently British lawmakers have stated that artists are hesitant to participate in the ongoing investigation into streaming royalties for artists, musicians, bands.

“Because they ALL fear action may be taken against them” if they do so.

The House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS Committee) has just announced recently the high-profile probe into streaming royalties only just last month.

This comprehensive analysis aims to identify streaming’s impact for all relevant stakeholders, which will include labels, artists & bands as well as its long-term effects concerning “the sustainability of the wider music industry.” for years to come!

So really what we are saying here on another “Government report” that just sits in the office gathering dust for another 10 years while the BIG streaming platforms carry on with their stranglehold over the industry for decades to come, while indie acts receiving “pence” for their efforts as usual (just enough money to buy a can of Coke!).

This has been highlighted very recently with, singer-songwriter Nadine Shah, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey spoke before the DCMS Committee to address the contemporary music landscape of today.

Of a particular note was Shah’s statement that she doesn’t “make enough money from streaming” to cover her rent, despite having north of 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

In response to the abundance of information that the investigation has turned up so far, the DCMS Committee also announced only last week that it had extended the window for artists, bands, and others to submit written testimonials regarding royalties.

From the original deadline of Monday, November 16th, members of the music industry now have until Friday, December 11th, to express their opinions and suggestions to the committee.

The probe’s upcoming testimony, for its part, is slated to take place (Today) Tuesday, December 8th, with Maria Forte Music Services’ namesake owner, Ferocious Talent owner Kwame Kwaten, and José Luis Sevillano, director general at Spain’s AIE, set to participate via live stream for the UK Government to share their views and thoughts.

Ahead of the formal sitdown, DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight has relayed that many would-be witnesses are opting not to come forward due to their fear of the potential professional consequences associated with speaking out against streaming royalties platforms.

Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

The industry has to take some blame for their side, too many people sat in their ivory towers thinking the CD would live on in-store, and guess what it hasn't!

With the demise of the retail store “Woolworths” and many other retail stores that have had to “close” over the past years that sold music, and even more so today with the pandemic hitting the World, the landscape will certainly change the entertainment industry forever.

Only just recently singer-songwriter Nadine Shah stated to the DCMS committee that she is struggling to pay her rent despite having more than 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone!

Shah — who recently joined Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey in speaking before the bipartisan House of Commons select committee — broached the subject of streaming royalties when asked whether she believes that the relationship and agreements between labels, streaming services, and others are transparent.

“I don’t think there is enough transparency, no,” concluded the “Trad” artist. “But the bottom line for me is that what is transparent is that I’m not being paid.”

Record labels to a degree and have been slow and only NOW starting to realize the issue with “streaming” and starting to ask questions, in a way its a bit like the BitCoin world no one wanted to know for a few years, and now with the BIG institutional investors coming to play everything seems to be fine and rosy in the garden.

The difference with record labels, they are still slow and will NOW fight the corner not for the artists but for their own existence, knowing they are losing substantial revenue because in truth it affects them now!

To another point do the labels want to rock the boat with the streaming platforms — being the distributor, label, and artist platform now, do we need the labels anymore, and will they co-exist with the streaming platforms…

I know I'm cynical, but it has to be said, most people just bury their heads and think it will all go away!

You can also argue, “indie” acts have the world at their feet, to the point this is true, but when you have launched your website, merchandise shop, email campaign, social media, etc.

You then launch your first, second single, and then your album onto one of the streaming platform’s while your building your social media, which takes time to build it also takes time to know your not making that much headway, WHY because the social media and streaming platforms have the “algorithm” in their favor, or should I say the major acts favor until you come to pay your rent and food, then YOU understand there is NO money in your pocket.

I believe everyone is now just fed up with the control that is put on society from every area but smiles at you if everything is OK until you find one day it's not and maybe it’s then too late.

So to all “indie” acts, bands, and musicians you do need to take a stand and create your own destiny — the time is NOW for your voice to be heard!

By Peter Moore

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