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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says working musicians can no longer release music only “once every three to four years.” Spotify's stock value hit all-time highs of $50 billion this summer.


ignatius
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The annual Pori Jazz festival is the third biggest music festival in Finland and far far bigger than any electronic music festival so I don't feel like jazz is dying anytime soon around here..

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Everyone making Spotify out to be the villain should really look at their contracts with the labels. The reason they still lose money and pay artists so little is that the major labels take all of Spotify's revenue and don't share it with artists. It was the only way the labels would agree to give them the back catalog. If they could have relationships with artists directly and pay artists more in the process, they would. It would be much more profitable for them. But since most recorded music is owned by a major label, most of music consumers would want to listen to wouldn't be available on Spotify anymore.

So what you have is a great consumer experience, a "valuable" company from a stock market perspective, but no profits, and an entrenchment of the music label industry which has treated artists terribly for decades. Spotify is actually trying to push into podcasts, an industry that doesn't have this entrenched power structure. I think they'd like to sign artists directly, but fear it would cause the major labels to pull out.

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1 minute ago, onecaseman said:

Everyone making Spotify out to be the villain should really look at their contracts with the labels. The reason they still lose money and pay artists so little is that the major labels take all of Spotify's revenue and don't share it with artists. It was the only way the labels would agree to give them the back catalog. If they could have relationships with artists directly and pay artists more in the process, they would. It would be much more profitable for them. But since most recorded music is owned by a major label, most of music consumers would want to listen to wouldn't be available on Spotify anymore.

So what you have is a great consumer experience, a "valuable" company from a stock market perspective, but no profits, and an entrenchment of the music label industry which has treated artists terribly for decades. Spotify is actually trying to push into podcasts, an industry that doesn't have this entrenched power structure. I think they'd like to sign artists directly, but fear it would cause the major labels to pull out.

if you check out the article linked above.. the one on TapeOp.. you'll see the only reason the majors agreed to give spotify access is because spotify game them stock and kept that from artists. it's structured in this way. 

also, i'd say major labels never anticipated streaming and downloads. for a long time that wasn't part of contracts. there's some interviews with radiohead where they talk about it... mentioning that at the time.. the album they gave away for "pay what you want" and made available directly to fans via their website made more $$$$ for them than all previous digital content combined. 

so, yeah, there was a period of transition to fix those things and make them part of contracts but that time has passed.  the remaining majors gave access to spotify because of what is basically a payoff for the executives/owners or the labels. 

the fact remains that spotify doesn't pay shit for streaming it uses a complex structure of royalties that is different in every market. pays so low that it's basically irrelevant to artists. 

if spotify starts an actual label then possibly amazon and apple will be next. i doubt spotify would pay artists any more than they pay now though. 

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11 hours ago, dingformung said:

This is such an ignorant view. Everybody needs money to survive. And in genres like jazz being a musician might be a full-time job that requires many hours of training every day, not a hobby you do on the side while working 40 hours a week.

Then you go get a job that pays enough to support you...

 

If this really leads to a drop in jazz musicians and live jazz is something that the public wants to hear then they'll start being paid more, supply and demand

 

What IS ignorant is thinking that musicians should be subsidized because they should be able to live a musician lifestyle despite the fact that the demand for their work isn't enough for them to live on.

Edited by vkxwz
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49 minutes ago, vkxwz said:

Then you go get a job that pays enough to support you...

 

If this really leads to a drop in jazz musicians and live jazz is something that the public wants to hear then they'll start being paid more, supply and demand

 

What IS ignorant is thinking that musicians should be subsidized because they should be able to live a musician lifestyle despite the fact that the demand for their work isn't enough for them to live on.

that's not what people are saying though.  people are saying tech bro who became very wealthy w/his start up that streams music isn't paying the people who created the music well enough to use the right to their music and that the streaming industry is fucked up and needs some fixing so it'll pay out a fair royalty for fair use.. like the radio does.. which also has its problems but is still way more equitable than streaming. 

no one is looking for a subsidy.. just reasonable fair pay and not to be exploited by a publicly traded company that is worth billions who gave stock to major labels as a pay off to have access to low royalty rates for their catalogs. 

there are plenty of working musicians out there not living any kind of rockstar life who just want a fair shake.  not sure why that's asking for so much.. 

edit: and regarding "go get a job".. yeah.. that's fine i guess. and is why people pay their dues and suffer through shit jobs while trying to make music. but i think what dingformung is saying is that if you reduce the value of music so much then no one will be able to get good at it and do it well. but if we pay for music and pay for art in a way that shows its true value that then those people who are professionals can dedicate their lives to it. 

there will be no good art if people don't have TIME to make it. it takes a lot of time to make good things that we all enjoy. 

Edited by ignatius
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And that leads to a theory I have. I was wondering why the UK puts out so much great music. English speaking country helps. But I realized it was the dole. Ive heard it many times in interviews. It let people buy their first kit. Let them take their time in the rough years. Just a theory

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7 hours ago, ignatius said:

there will be no good art if people don't have TIME to make it. it takes a lot of time to make good things that we all enjoy. 

Art takes time to learn, study, and practice. Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000 hour rule - to become and expert at something, you must deliberately practise it for at least 10,000 hours - but even with that not all will reach expert status because they lack talent (Gladwell's popularization is widely critcized because it's a generalization based on a very small subset of subjects - but it's a useful parable). The better you become at something, the more the technical-mechanical aspects of what you're doing - how you make what you make - become automatic and you can concentrate on the what and why (this automatization is also the base requirement for getting "in the zone" and achieving the Csíkszentmihályian flow state). A very poignant example I can think of is improvisation - you must have exceptional talent and a master of your chosen instrument to improvise with skill, e.g. free jazz, which to a lot of people sounds like random noise, but which requires the musicians to react, adapt, and improvise around each other, know their phrase canons, rudiments - to really appreciate what the musicians are doing, the listener must also have an understanding of these things.

Then there is the problem of creativity, a lot of people see artists as dithering, vacillating, and procrastinating slackers who should get a real job - but what they usually don't understand is that you can't force creativity. It, too, requires time to grow into at least partially formed ideas on what the artists wants to do, how they want to do it, which techniques they want to use (they might need to invent new ways of making because nothing appropriate might not exist)  - but there's also the why, and for most artists, the primary reason is not money, nor fame. A lot of artists have an innate need to create, they want to see, hear, taste, or experience something that's uniquely theirs and it's first and foremost a subjective expression of their creativity, talent and hard work. Some could not care less if people like what they do.

Art shouldn't be something bought in bulk and consumed as a commodity - it should make you think, it should entertain, it should bring up emotions, it should amaze and make you wonder. But I understand that YMMV, you might just want something, anything to listen to to avoid hearing the world around you - or your own thoughts.

 

Edited by dcom
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3 hours ago, marf said:

And that leads to a theory I have. I was wondering why the UK puts out so much great music. English speaking country helps. But I realized it was the dole. Ive heard it many times in interviews. It let people buy their first kit. Let them take their time in the rough years. Just a theory

How many of the truly great artists from the UK spent time on the dole? A lot of them just worked hard. Beatles, Led Zeppelin / Black Sabbath / Deep Purple, the WATMM Featured Artists (tm): they all played music people paid money to hear.

In fact I can't think of any dole takers off the top of my head.

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https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/horace-trubridge/class-and-the-arts_b_8647352.html

29 minutes ago, rhmilo said:

How many of the truly great artists from the UK spent time on the dole? A lot of them just worked hard. Beatles, Led Zeppelin / Black Sabbath / Deep Purple, the WATMM Featured Artists (tm): they all played music people paid money to hear.

In fact I can't think of any dole takers off the top of my head.

 

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24 minutes ago, psn said:

Thanks.

We get:

Quote

Darts

Never heard of them.

Quote

The Zutons, James Morrison and Jem amongst many others

And let’s also allow 

Quote

Madness, Happy Mondays, Oasis or Pulp 

although the article doesn’t make it clear whether these bands came up through the dole.

But it doesn’t matter. This list of artists from the article proves my point. The true greats came up through hard work, not through government subsidies.

 

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6 hours ago, vkxwz said:

Then you go get a job that pays enough to support you...

 

If this really leads to a drop in jazz musicians and live jazz is something that the public wants to hear then they'll start being paid more, supply and demand

 

What IS ignorant is thinking that musicians should be subsidized because they should be able to live a musician lifestyle despite the fact that the demand for their work isn't enough for them to live on.

Fine, enjoy your world of Elon Musk and Paris Hilton tunes.

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Second, creators are already exploited: Spotify is very much like the universal searchable information database for music, it just operates for profit rather than for artists, and rights-holders get a fraction of a cent per Spotify play, an amount that must itself split between the label, the producer, the artist, and the songwriter. The CEO of Spotify has said that if artists want more money, they should make more music. (He is worth $4 billion.)

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free (Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs)

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A lot of the time, the ability to eek out a living off music at first is what led many artists to rise above the rest and have more staying power. Then they get money and make a better/as good album. 

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2 hours ago, rhmilo said:

The true greats came up through hard work, not through government subsidies.

 

I think most of your golden boys came up in art schools, ie subsided by their parents. The Who, Stones, Roxy Music, etc. 

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The Beatles played entertained drunk partygoers. Jimmy Page played night clubs. RDJ played illegal raves.

No subsidies involved anywhere.

You could argue Mozart was subsidized by the court and Bach by the Church, but that still means they made music people wanted to pay for.

I’m all for subsidies for things, but not for art. Since we have started subsidizing artists the quality of their output has plummeted. The Dutch government has entire warehouses full of subsidized art that no one will ever want to see ever again.

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2 minutes ago, psn said:

I think most of your golden boys came up in art schools, ie subsided by their parents. The Who, Stones, Roxy Music, etc. 

Considering these three golden boys as opposed to Chuck Berry, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin is really, really stretching it.

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Christ, Id have to spend a month proving my argument. The 60's and 70's were great for British music. Id say that's is where they really out shined everyone. I don't know who was on the dole. Ive read an lot of music mags over the years. Im not thinking about Aphex.  He had it right out of the gate. His best stuff was done on crappy gear and cassette.  Im sick of thinking about Aphex. Lol

 

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Then again, Ed Sheeran supposedly played 300 shows one year before he became a star, so... maybe there are no rules and no magic formula and reality makes no sense. 

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Back to Daniel Ek... I don't know if this has already been said, but there's something very oppressive about a guy who owns the biggest music streaming service telling musicians what to do. Had it been said by anyone else it wouldn't have been a problem.

Oh, and another thing... if Soundcloud paid what Spotify pays then I would have been able to afford 25ml milk last week. lol

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2 hours ago, marf said:

Christ, Id have to spend a month proving my argument. The 60's and 70's were great for British music. Id say that's is where they really out shined everyone. I don't know who was on the dole. Ive read an lot of music mags over the years. Im not thinking about Aphex.  He had it right out of the gate. His best stuff was done on crappy gear and cassette.  Im sick of thinking about Aphex. Lol

 

Just picked an example most people over here would be able to relate to 🙂

But yeah, you would have to spend months sorting that sort of stuff out and even then there would be more than enough counter examples. That said, I'll admit throwing about a value judgement on The Who, Roxy Music and The Stones was unfair. You are right that the dole (or art school) was good to a lot of British bands. A lot of others managed to do without, however, annd let's not get started on the contributions of the US.

1 hour ago, Squee said:

Back to Daniel Ek... I don't know if this has already been said, but there's something very oppressive about a guy who owns the biggest music streaming service telling musicians what to do. Had it been said by anyone else it wouldn't have been a problem.

Dunno. This has been said for years by all sorts of people. Remember Napster? Maybe the fact that the CEO of a large streaming corporation feels it's now safe to say this in public without cushioning the message in all sorts of anodyne pr language is proof that musicians not ever again going to make money off their recordings has become the default position.

Can we move on now?

I, for one, really like Bandcamp.

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3 hours ago, rhmilo said:

Considering these three golden boys as opposed to Chuck Berry, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin is really, really stretching it.

They were just examples. Most of the Beatles guys and some of the Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones boys went to art colleges, too. Pretty sure Chuck Berry didnt, haha. 

Your examples ("Rock'n'roll divinity") are often associated with the the lone genius artist myth, which is a boring as hell analysis.

In the 60s you could actually earn your living as a working musician while perfecting your craft and style - like Page, Hendrix, etc did as hired guns. Then the dole (or rather all the free time that goes along with it) was an important factor in several music scenes during the 80s and 90s, when unemployment was at its highest in the post war era.

Hard work is the main common factor in any successful artist's career - how do you find the time and motivation for it? I think social parameters are interesting starting points in answering those questions when it comes to 20th century pop culture. Working class (Detroit techno) vs middle class (UK prog rock), social democracies (Swedish death metal) vs developing countries (Jamaican reggae), and on and on. 

 

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Hard work is a factor but not a common one

Accessibility and gatekeeping is a factor that everyone seems to forget about when they are talking about artists like the beatles, big music biz, etc

Right Place Right time is the rule I would argue.

And speaking of the ultimate gatekeeper:

that is what Spotify is posed to become. And the ultimate one, too because -- you have to subscribe

Talent??

You want to know how many potential Mozarts,  Paul McCartneys, Richard D Jameses, etc tolied to death in a coal mine, or lived as a slave somewhere, or was a peasant that died from diahrrea at age 16?

More than you can count.

The system is the problem, the system keeps everyone from being free.

Some people, yes. Others, not so lucky.

 

 

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14 hours ago, vkxwz said:

What IS ignorant is thinking that musicians should be subsidized because they should be able to live a musician lifestyle despite the fact that the demand for their work isn't enough for them to live on.

If you underpay them it indeed isn't enough for them to live on.

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