Recording Academy president Neil Portnow and Common used the Academy’s yearly time slot on the Grammys stage to hold the royalties paid out by streaming services over the coals.
“When you stream a song, all the people that created that music receive a fraction of a penny,” said Portnow after a performance from 12-year-old pianist Joey Alexander. “Isn’t a song worth more than a penny?”
The speech was more-than-similar to the speech Portnow delivered at last year’s awards. “What if we’re all watching the Grammys a few years from now and there’s no Best New Artist award because there aren’t enough talented artists and songwriters who are actually able to make a living from their craft?” he asked a year ago.
….Portnow was clearly addressing the Spotifys and SoundClouds of the world. Spotify pays major labels large upfront payments in addition to royalty agreements if their music usage exceeds what they paid for up front. SoundCloud offers labels inclusion on its ad-supported play, On SoundCloud, which gives rights holders the ability to place advertisements on music posted to the site.
Concluding their joint speech, Common conspicuously mentioned “subscribing to a music service” as a way for fans to support creators.
….Both Pandora and SoundCloud are debuting their own paid services this year, and a dust-up over windowing Coldplay’s new album in December showed a chink in Spotify’s freemium armor. (Billboard)
Ugh how are we still dealing with this shit? Why aren’t they leading, prioritizing tech innovations, encouraging more users, embracing the future, rather than this?
I agree that artists/creator should be paid more, and I agree that music is worth more than a penny. But much like the penny, Neil Portnow is also part of an obsolete system that is barley hanging on. Meaning streaming is here and will soon scale to pay creators b/c of scale. Radio doesn’t even pay anyone and has no data to provide. How is that a better system? And the Penny costs more money to produce than it’s worth!
Evolve or Die.