sebwes Images/Sebastian Wesemann
An international online movement supported by numerous creator collectives and unions is demanding change on the state current streaming business and a bigger share of the profits for music makers. The campaign has been fueled by widely publicized and debated comments from Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek demanding more productivity from musicians made earlier this month. The comments caused uproar in an economic climate where a lot musicians have been left reeling after losing the income from live events halted by the global pandemic as well as wider public shutdowns affecting collective licensing revenue.
While the criticisms are nothing new, the debate remains complex and nuanced due to the revenue model based on share of consumption and the plethora of different deals between artists, their labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies. Whilst the conversation is likely to continue with no quick fixes in sight, it highlights the need for artists to investigate more diversified revenue streams.
According to Music BusinessWorldwide sources the Grammy Award winning group signed a deal on their back catalogue, including hits such as Thunder, Believer and the RIAA Diamond certified global hit Radioactive. The deal is with Concord Publishing, which according to Billboard’s sources close to the deal acquired the writers share of the catalogue as well the band’s co-publishing share in perpetuity. The unique deal represents a new opportunity for artists and song writers to consider – whether it’s worth getting an early pay day for their songs in one swift deal or waiting for the income to trickle down over time.
The two titans of the music industry, Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams released a collaboration on Friday Aug 21st. The song, Entrepreneur, highlights the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, and especially black males, in the US today and is released as part of Time’s special project, the New American Revolution, curated by Williams.
Whilst about the systematic injustice faced by black people in America, the song still ends on a high note: “The song is trying to communicate that when we stick together, treat each other better and welcome each other, there’s more money and more opportunity for everyone,” Williams says. The project in its entirety is another powerful example of the likes of Blackout Tuesday showcasing the impact artists and the music industry can have in the fight for social change.