Make Some Noise!
Music artists are becoming ever more vocal about the use of their music, whether this is streaming, downloading, advertising choice, brand associations, or the extent of their royalties. But what is the extent of their control on the sale of concert tickets?
Challenging The Status Quo: Artists should receive their share of royalties and new musicians should be supported.
Matthew Butlin | Co-Founder
The music industry is ever changing. Some of us are old enough to remember the scratch of old vinyl records (before they became a hipster's choice) or pulling out loops of cassette tape when we got bored or if it was an mix-tape for an old sweetheart! More recently, how people purchase and listen to music has moved so fast that even the music industry is struggling to keep up. The movement from MP3s to the enormous streaming catalogues available on Spotify, Deezer, (and so on) ensures that users have the options to listen to almost any song, anywhere, any time. Yes, almost any song: some artists have opted out. Why?
Taylor Swift, anyone?! Although we at AT are not big fans ourselves, (let us know your favourite tune if you are, and we'll check it out!) you have to hand it to her: she's a savvy business woman who looks after her back catalogue like a cute kitten before it gets stuck up the tree... you know, and then it's too late to stop it. The artist has opted out of many streaming sites, but, more impressively, has taken on the music monsters at Apple, challenging their proposed payment (i.e. non-payment!) scheme. In doing this, she has also secured a future for many new up-and-coming musicians who, metaphorically, have much smaller voices than her own.
When Apple developed a new music streaming service, offering a three month FREE trial for new customers, Taylor went all 'Never, Never' on them. Free, you say?! Great for us, but here’s the catch: they intended not to pay the artists when fans listened to their music during this period. ‘Swifty’ sent an open letter to Apple, complaining about the proposition. Apple swiftly (see what we did there?!) backed down and stated they would ‘take the hit’ and pay the artists what they were due. Job done!
Taylor Swift is not alone in defending artists' rights. will-i-am (no capitals, folks!) has questioned whether VEVO and YouTube unfairly force artists to accept certain branding associations, while carefully removing the artist from the profit stream. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who often bucks the trend when offering his music, (the band famously released an album where fans paid what they think it was worth) publicly blasted Spotify for ripping off artists, whilst shareholders were laughing all the way to the bank.
Artists' stance against changes and abuses of technology is nothing new. Metallica famously took on Napster in 2000, leading to the illegal downloads website into its Unforgiven downfall. Ohhh, that was a bad one! However, sadly, illegal download sites are still rife today. As it so happens, Napster managed to legalise itself and start playing by the rules. How many more will? Fair's fair, folks!
I’ll leave the penultimate words on this subject with the American musician Beck: “Streaming is inevitable, it’s something that is coming, like it or not. But I question how I can hang on or stay afloat with this model, because what Spotify pays me isn’t enough for me to pay the musicians I work with, or the people producing or mastering my music. The model doesn’t work, so we have to come up with ways in which people can help us to make music for free, or at least for much less. But the current way isn’t working, something’s gotta give.”
Returning back to the question in the opening paragraph, AnotherTicket believes that musicians will also need to push ahead on protecting the interests of their fans when it comes to touting. Yes, they ought to protect their own music and royalties, but in turn, fans are still being ripped off in all manners of ways. As we like to say here in the AT offices: #kickoutthetout
22 Jul 2015