“Gettin’ ripped off, underpaid” ….. from “It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll”
Bon Scott knew his stuff. For a person who had been trying to make it for a long time, he was well seasoned and experienced enough to come up with some great lyrics. He was a perfect fit to the youthism of the Young brothers. If you take the time to dig deep into his lyrics, you will notice a certain theme of being ripped off by promoters and record label execs, which is polar opposite to what artists are saying today. With so much backlash against streaming services and royalty payments, more and more artists are going on record to state that the “fan doesn’t support and respect music”.
So how can the music industry explain how bands that have performed live have not been paid the monies owed to them by the promoters?
The fans that supposedly “don’t support and respect music” purchased their $180 plus concert ticket. Surely this is a show of support to the acts on the bill that people value and respect music.
“So if you’ve got the money, we’ve got the sound,
You put it up and we’ll put it down,
If you got the dollar, we got the song,
Just wanna boogie woogie all night long” ….. from “Aint No Fun (Waiting Around To Be A Millionaire)”
For those that don’t know, the 2016 Soundwave Festival in Australia has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales. However, the roots of the problems go back. From the 2015 edition of Soundwave, a lot of bands are still owed money from their festival appearance.
For the full list, click on this link.
Here is a selection of a few;
The main artists;
- Soundgarden — $2,132,075.00
- Slipknot — $1,645,299.29
- The Smashing Pumpkins — $1,267,446.43
- Faith No More — $751,076.20
- Marilyn Manson — $588,000.56
- Incubus — $571,428.58
- Slash — $484,628.00
- Fall Out Boy — $394,107.14
- Judas Priest — $349,560.55
- Ministry — $203,952.01
- Godsmack — $200,000.00
- Lamb of God — $161,323.33
The medium-sized and self-financed artists;
- Papa Roach — $93,050.93
- Steel Panther — $92,517.57
- Fear Factory — $78,263.96
- Apocalyptica — $65,601.90
- Falling In Reverse — $54,064.98
- Atreyu — $52,044.64
- New Found Glory — $43,279.88
- Nothing More — $35,000.00
- Of Mice and Men — $29,040.00
- Killer Be Killed — $24,513.00
- Escape the Fate — $21,985.68
- Dragonforce — $21,000.00
- Monuments — $19,153.00
- Animals as Leaders — $16,607.14
- Nonpoint — $8,137.54
- Ne Obliviscaris — $5,720.60
Commissions to an agency for organising acts;
- Live Nation Worldwide, Inc — $1,180,325.56
That’s some serious dollars taken from the hard-working hands of the fans and not paid to the artists. You see, a fan believes that the act would be getting their cut. It’s an unwritten law that it will happen. The fan also knows that the promoter, venue and so forth would also get their cut. Which in a lot of cases is more than the acts cut.
“Living on a shoe string,
A fifty cent millionaire,
Open to charity,
Rock ‘n’ roller welfare” ….. from “Down Payment Blues”
Life is tough and when you don’t get paid, it’s even tougher, because we all have other commitments that we need to make. So are the fans to blame again for not supporting music.
Are the fans to blame when managers, promoters and record labels rip off the artists?
“It’s a song (“I Believe In You) I wrote a long time ago. Well a long time before it got put on a record, which is kind of a drag in a way because our original managers ripped us off for our publishing (on) the first two Yesterday and Today records. We haven’t received a penny publishing to this day from those two records. I wrote “I Believe in You” about the time they were managing us so when I put it on the “Earthshaker” record well after they were gone they still took my publishing and never gave me a cent for “I Believe In You”. Anyway it was written a long time ago about a break up that I had with a long-time relationship I had with a girl so the song inspired itself more or less.”
There is a lot of money to be made in music and the fans are spending. The fans respect music and value music. It’s a shame that the corporate entities that benefit largely from the music that artists create don’t value and respect music in the same way.
Unless Artists make a stand and take back their copyrights or organise better rates for themselves when they sell/license their rights to the corporations, then that copyright royalty pay rise will just end up with the corporate entity the artists sold their copyrights too.
SoundExchange, the organization that collects royalties is considering an appeal at the Copyright Tribunals decision to increase the royalty rate that Pandora and other stations needs to pay.
Now why would SoundExchange want to do that?
It’s because they have collected over $3 billion dollars in royalties since 2003 and once you take their standard 30% administration costs, it adds up to a lot of money for SoundExchange for doing absolutely nothing. But they want more of that pie.
Artists as usual get short-changed by all of the corporations taking their cut. And even when they perform live, it looks like they are still being shafted by the promoters.
In Australia, the recording industry revenues are growing and have been since 2012. And what was the defining moment in 2012 that caused this shift in revenue.
Of course, it was the arrival of Spotify in May 2012.
And that is what fans of music do. We double dip. I like to stream and on occasions I love owning something physical from the artists that I support.
Since 2008, those physical purchases include only the special deluxe pieces of art that bands produce. To pay $30 for a DVD/CD special edition album release is just not worth it. I would rather pay the $12 a month Spotify subscription and access that digitally. Recently, I was one of 40,000 people who purchased Coheed and Cambria’s “The Color Before The Sun” Super Deluxe Edition for $70US and I am one of many who have pre-ordered Dream Theater’s new album “The Astonishing” for $170.
Music doesn’t exist without its best customer; the fan. So as a fan, here is a big middle finger salute to all of those comments about fans of music not respecting music.