Billy Bragg Enters Spotify Debate

Blame labels, he argues...

Billy Bragg has entered the Spotify debate, arguing that labels are to blame for the small fees paid to artists.

More than a decade into the 21st century and the music industry is still attempting to grasp the digital marketplace. Many believe that streaming holds the key, but services such as Spotify have come under attack of late.

Thom Yorke pulled his entire solo discography from the service, arguing that it pays poorly and fails to serve young artists. Since then, the debate of Spotify's impact has raged with numerous artists voicing their opinion.

Billy Bragg is the latest to enter the arena, posting a missive on his Facebook page. "I've long felt that artists railing against Spotify is about as helpful to their cause as campaigning against the Sony Walkman would have been in the early 80s" he argued. "Music fans are increasingly streaming their music and, as artists, we have to adapt ourselves to their behaviour, rather than try to hold the line on a particular mode of listening to music."

"The problem with the business model for streaming is that most artists still have contracts from the analog age, when record companies did all the heavy lifting of physical production and distribution, so only paid artists 8%-15% royalties on average."

"Those rates, carried over to the digital age, explain why artists are getting such paltry sums from Spotify. If the rates were really so bad, the rights holders – the major record companies – would be complaining. The fact that they're continuing to sign up means they must be making good money."

Billy Bragg could have an argument, but as Music Week point out some labels are already offering improved terms to artists. The Beggars Group (4AD, XL and more), for example, awards artists 50% of all monies accrued through streaming services.

Check out Billy Bragg's full post HERE.

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