Change happens. It isn’t easy but the earliest you understand it and accept it, the quicker you’ll be able to move on and make a living in the post-change world.
There is still too much focus from artists on things they cant control, instead of focusing on things they can control, like creating art, connecting with people, using data from streaming listens to organise tours and merchandise deals in those areas that have super fans.
Super fans according to Spotify are people who have streamed the music of the artist for 45 days in a row. Spotify then targets these fans with updates and pre-sales and turns this data over to the artist for free.
If you have noticed, when you go to your favourite artists account and you see the number of listeners on their account, well, a percentage of those listeners fall into the super fan bucket.
But it takes work to do all these extra things, and there are people feeding your ear with how unfair it is that Spotify is taking the Copyright Royalty Board to court because the Board increased the royalty base fee that these services need to pay.
In my view, the board should not have this power at all, because it is not the fault of the streaming service for the low payouts to the artists.
The record label and the artist did sign an agreement once upon a time which explains in great detail how these payments will be divided, once the monies the label spent on the artists have been recouped.
In the process, the songwriters also signed deals with labels and publishers once upon a time, and in most cases, they also pocketed millions in advance payments in lieu of future earnings, and now suddenly, the fault lays with the streaming services.
Has anyone seen Spotify’s financials to check how much of an expense Royalties are to their business?
They are not avoiding paying.
Music like any other form of economic business needs to operate in the economic world. That means the price and value of art will fluctuate based on market demand. If it has a government institution setting a royalty fee, then the whole business model is in trouble, because the government is over inflating the real value of the art, by setting prices which are out of touch with market demand.
But the oldsters in charge of the RIAA and the labels and their politician friends are all colluding, so the Government props up and shields a business that refuses to operate in the real economic world.
Let me tell you a story about Leo Feist and Harry Von Tilzer. If you don’t know who they are, it’s okay, and if you do, great. Remember how once upon a time there was a booming sheet music business. Well these two guys were influential in this business.
And they gainfully employed musicians to demonstrate playing the sheet music songs to people, as a way to sell amateur musicians on the idea to purchase the sheets of music. Music stores then started to employ these kind of musicians as well, and suddenly you had a new industry of musicians earning a weekly wage, playing other peoples songs to people.
But like all great things, change is around the corner. They had a feeling that these new technologies called the phonograph and radio would change the game and they also knew that songs would go from local cities to state wide to country wide faster than ever before and to more people than ever before.
In due time, the musicians employed by the sheet music corporations didn’t have a job and the music business model these two men built and profited from began to fall apart.
But benefits also came about from the new technologies as more artists and bands suddenly becoming popular.
And the way you used to make money is not the same anymore. It’s the same for every business. Apple makes its money very differently in 2019 to how it did in 1985.
You might not have the global dominance of artists from the MTV era, but more and more smaller artists are building a career, with a small cult audience which sustains them.
As artists, be open minded, embrace change and look for creative ways to monetize instead of being angry. And in the end, enjoy the highs and lows the process brings with it.