Regular readers of this blog will almost certainly know the identity of the man on the left of this picture. He is, of course, Daniel Ek – the billionaire in charge of Spotify and the man at the top of the streaming tree. But the names of the other three men might elude you.
That’s understandable. As I frequently say, many of those in the upper echelons of the music world like to operate in the shadows – they respond to sunlight and transparency in the way a vampire responds to garlic. So who are they?
From left to right, they are Rob Stringer, Stephen Forbes Cooper and Lucian Grainge. And they are the men in charge of Sony Music, Warner Music Group and Universal Music respectively. Between them, the three men are worth a conservative estimate of £300million.
These three men operate in an industry which doesn’t follow the normal rules everyone else has to. If they did, the wealth in the music industry would be spread much more widely. And the absolute scandal of abysmal streaming rates that mean you have successful artists who don’t even earn enough to pay their mortgages would never have been allowed to occur.
Which is why when I first discovered this afternoon that the British government is increasingly likely to refer the three major labels to the Competition and Markets Authority for a probe – something which this blog predicted back on July 15th – I wasn’t surprised. With any luck, it’ll mean three men who’ve got rich off the back of streaming will sleep a little less comfortably tonight.
Something has to change in the music world or the only people who’ll be able to enter it are trust fund kids with no life experience. And many of the best songs ever written are about things which have happened to them. Things are bad enough already…