Boiler Room don’t exactly get an easy time on this blog, do they? And they’d better get used to it, because that won’t change anytime soon. Recently, I queried some of the more amusing claims in their application for a bailout last year – including the baffling assertion they kickstarted Honey Dijon’s career.
I also decided to take a look at who was involved in the business – it wasn’t exactly pretty reading. But I have a different question in mind today. Namely, are any of those DJs who appear on Boiler Room’s platform being paid for their time and work?
It’s a subject they don’t like to talk about very much. Typically, they do their utmost to ignore it. The only person who I’ve seen in the past year able to get any kind of reply was The Secret DJ – and here was their response when he started criticising them.
Boiler Room has always paid artists for branded or ticketed events, and as of June 2020 pays artists for all non commercial shows too. No artists have played Boiler Room for free since then, and all artists will continue to be paid going forward.— BOILER ROOM (@boilerroomtv) October 19, 2020
I can only assume the person who does Boiler Room’s PR was off that day. The tweet basically admits that between March 2010 – when they were founded – and June 2020, they never paid a single artist who appeared. Further to that, they admit they weren’t paying artists during a pandemic – when many of their other income streams were unavailable.
But the first bit of the tweet is even more interesting. They claim to have always paid during branded events – in other words, sponsored gigs. And by they, they presumably mean the sponsor paid. I’ve queried this particular oddity with Boiler Room, but have yet to receive a reply.
Over the weekend, this article at Billboard about Apple Music piqued my interest. Not particularly because of the subject matter – but more because of a quote in it from Terry Weerasinghe, the chief operator officer at Boiler Room. He claimed that “Paying people fairly and appropriately is at the heart of what we stand for especially after years of DJs playing for free on Boiler Room”.
Yeah, I’m scratching my head trying to make sense of this claim as well. And how any of what Mr Weerasinghe said relates to DJs getting paid – when the deal with Apple is to do with paying royalties – is also beyond me…