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Spotify chief: Musicians can’t “record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough”

By July 31, 2020 No Comments

It’s fair to say that Spotify chief Daniel Ek has upset a fair few artists with his latest comments about the work ethic of the modern musician – including those calling for reform of streaming royalties. 

In an interview with MusicAlly’s Stuart Dredge, Ek said: “What tends to be reported are the people that are unhappy but we very rarely see anyone who’s talking about… I’m happy with all the money I’m getting from streaming.”

Continuing, he went on to say that those following traditional music release cycles aren’t going to “do well”.

“Some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape,” continued Ek “where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.”

Ek cited the extreme example of Taylor Swift as best practice – Swift broke the record for most streams (98 million according to Spotify’s earnings call) in a 24 hour period last week after the release of her surprise album Folklore, recorded in lockdown and released less than a year since her last album.

Ek’s statement has provoked ire from some musicians who make the point that the revenue from streaming is poor, a problem exacerbated by the lack of opportunities to earn from live shows in the present climate. 

Director of the Performing Rights Society, Tom Gray, has been a particularly strong voice in the debate, assembling support on Twitter under the #BrokenRecord hashtag and saying to fellow musicians, that Ek “thinks your lack of liveable income or when you do have 50 million plays and you don’t earn enough to make rent in London, is ‘a narrative fallacy’”.

Singer-songwriter KT Tunstall has also been a vocal supporter of the campaign, saying “streaming is working a *hell* of a lot better for [Ek] and major labels than it is for those who create what he profits from.” A recent report suggested major labels are now making over $1 million an hour from streaming. 

Mike Mills, from REM, had some other choice words for Ek. 

Source / Pocket-lint

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