Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you can’t have possibly failed to notice that your money doesn’t go quite as far as it used to. Food costs are up, fuel costs are up and energy bills are also up. It’s mostly a result of the economy reopening in many countries and supply not yet keeping up with demand.
Naturally enough, people in the music industry aren’t exempt from the rising costs – and the only exception to this rule appears to be Universal Music Group boss Lucian Grainge, who’s getting at least £150million this year. For everyone else – namely the ones showcasing they’ve got hundreds of thousands of Spotify streams and no money – there’s the PRS for Music Winter Heating Scheme.
If your paltry, stingy income from music means your best hope for the next few months is to find a warm bed and hibernate in it, you can apply for money from this fund – subject to meeting the criteria, of course. And whilst this blog unsurprisingly doesn’t like the idea of musicians freezing to death, I’m also more than a little uneasy about the fact this fund exists at all.
The major labels make $1million every single hour of the day from streaming. That makes around $8.76billion in a year – and in some of those hours, they could make substantially more. They’re worth billions of pounds – and so is the man who runs Spotify. They could easily afford to resolve this problem.
But they won’t. A few years ago, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told musicians who weren’t making money off his site to release more music – akin to a plantation owner telling his slaves to work harder. And if the other majors cared, they’d have done something about this problem a long time ago.
Musicians have been dying poor for decades – Colonel Abrams, to give an example from recent years. Some of them had massive hits many years ago which sold millions and still make plenty of money for the labels who still own the master recordings. Yet the artist gets virtually nothing out of it – despite the fact none of this would have happened without the artist’s involvement.
This is just the latest manifestation of this problem. Dare I suggest to the majors and streaming sites that things like this deter people from joining the business – who would willingly want to be treated like this? It might be in their interest to actually do something about it…