A DJ phones his DJ friend up. “Fancy seeing a movie?” “Hmmmmm not sure, who’s the projectionist?”
This favourite joke of mine has an underlying message. We laugh at the guy who regards the projectionist as more important than the movie, being more focused on the movie’s delivery mechanism than on the acting, cinematography, photography or soundtrack – in other words, the ART contained within the piece. While this may sound absurd, this is actually the world we now live in! Believe it or not, people will often pay a lot of money to see someone putting on a recording on their favourite music rather than pay to see a live performance by the artist who originally wrote and performed it. Which is, of course, is the whole basis of the joke.
Online streaming is now a MASSIVE part of music distribution. The debate has been slowly gaining momentum amongst artists about companies like Spotify, Pandora, You Tube etc. This Finish artist has calculated his income per play as 0.002 cents from Spotify and a recent article by David Byrne (see below) made some very frightening calculations about the future of income for artists if this latest form of music delivery is to continue without a fairer way of paying artists for their content.
Here are some well informed and hard hitting articles on the subject:
Spotiwhy? – A look at sustainability for content creators in light of the streaming model.
Defining and demanding a musician’s fair shake in the internet age
My song got played on Pandora 1 million times and all I got was $16:89, less than what I make from a single t-shirt sale
The internet will suck all creative content out of the world – David Byrne’s excellent article in the Guardian
How much do artists earn online?
So how does anyone at Google/You Tube, Spotify, Apple Music et al think this is going to play out? Lack of a fair balance between effort expended and income gained can only have one conclusion – that the most talented artists will go elsewhere to earn their living costs and the world will be deprived of the inspiration and joy brought to us by those artists. The only people who participate willingly in this ‘give-away’ culture are amateurs and musicians who have not received public attention, probably because they are not ready. You have only to spend 10 minutes on You Tube to see how much low-grade content is clogging up the internet.
The only logical conclusion I can see is that content pedlars will collapse once there is no content of worth available. With lawmakers generally turning a deaf ear to content creators’ voices, the only way to fix this is through legislation, but of course, governments are only interested in the issues that are raised by the wealthiest lobbyists – in this case, Google, Spotify and many others. Many songwriters talk about the systematic rape of the world around us for short-term gain. Well I guess we finally hit a nerve, because now it’s us!
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