This blog is occasionally accused of being curmudgeonly about the success of major music labels. And like most accusations, it’s one that isn’t based in fact. If record labels are releasing high quality music and that’s being rewarded with lots of streams, downloads and sales, I am incredibly comfortable with them making lots of money.
But you already know there’s a “but” coming here, don’t you? So, here goes. Sony announced late last week they’d earned $1billion out of streaming between July 1st and September 30th this year. Which isn’t a bad comeback for a record label which, like all the other majors, was in serious trouble many years ago.
So how much of that money will be going to the artists who made Sony’s success possible? How much will the songwriters, the session musicians, the mastering engineers and anyone else involved be getting out of that $1billion? Let’s not forget – as the major labels constantly seem to – that these labels, not to mention the streaming platforms, would be nothing without their artists.
No one seems to be able to tell me. Obviously, I don’t expect a totally precise number, but a rough ballpark figure would be a good start. But no one has one. And despite having emailed Sony Music a few days ago, they haven’t bothered to try having a go at answering the question either.
Isn’t it strange that the only people not making money in the music world these days are those who actually produce it?