BIGSOUND 2016 – Why Aren’t Artists Seeing More Money From Streaming?

“The fact that no-one is getting paid because everyone is streaming, frankly, is bollocks,” replied Simon Wheeler of Beggars Group.


Reported for Street Press Australia [READ HERE]

A strategically-worded conversation with Sarah Hamilton from Ditto Music, Matt Bird (White Sky Royalty Accounting), Charles Caldas (Merlin BV), Arlo Enemark (Xelon Entertainment) and Simon Wheeler (Beggars Group) asked more than it answered on the harsh terrain of digital media and its effect on the ecosystem of the music industry.

A panel of experts making a fascinating explanation of data, distribution and money which in layman’s terms amounts to the burning question; Why aren’t the artists seeing more money from streaming?

“We are still trying to figure how to sell water”.

Charles Caldas shifted blame to the business model, suggesting that money gets distributed down from distributors to artists or from labels to artists through a myriad of different payment strategies. Further calculating that, “Spotify’s streaming services net $26,000 a month to recording labels across Australia per month which amounts to $2.4 million per annum”.

After Big Sound’s moderator threw to the panel for their opinions on Adele’s and Radiohead’s beef with the service, somewhat shrugging his shoulders, Simon Wheeler replied, “at the end of the day they make the decision,” and furthered in general to acts differing to Spotify’s interests, “they were probably dealt a bad hand anyway”.

“People will consume music the way they consume music,” added Arlo Enemark. “I think it’s sad [for artists] to say ‘I don’t want fans from this section’,” referring to those favouring the streaming model of consumption.


But perhaps the elephant left standing in the room was the unanswered question of what if the business of streaming services fail to endure as a future model of consumption, which amounts to losing your virtual music library. Matt Bird agreed with the threat of this notion admitting streaming to be very intangible and “who knows what the answer is if the digital apocalypse happens”.

The panel agreed that over the next few years tracking the business model would be imperative to predicting how the future will look.

Ario concluded with, “we are still trying to figure how to sell water”.


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