Artist compensation and lack thereof from digital streaming services continues to be a source of contention for musicians, streaming services and music fans. Mastadon Guitarist Bill Kelliher recently spoke about his efforts to change that.
Earlier this year, Digital Music News reported that while streaming services had greatly increased revenue for the major record labels, the same cannot be said for the artists themselves. As of January, of this year DMN reported that Apple currently pays out $0.00783 per stream and Spotify pays $0.00397 per stream. Google streaming services, YouTube and Google Play Music, pay at a rate of $0.00074 and $0.00611, respectively.
According to Loudwire, Kelliher said, “If this continues, the artist is going to disappear. There are so many people behind those songs you hear on the radio. I can only speak for my genre and the people who know how we do it. I could live a thousand years and if Spotify played all day long, I’d maybe make a thousand dollars.”
Kelliher went on to say, “The only way to make any money is to get out here on the road and to tour, tour, tour constantly.” But the high costs involved in touring from paying venues and renting tour buses in addition to paying managers and other expenses, mean profits made from touring aren’t great.
“Everyone has a hand in your pocket,” Kelliher said.
Last month Kelliher and bandmate, Brann Dailor along with other musicians and industry executives, traveled to Washington D.C. in support of a bill that would change royalty payments and disbursements. The Music Modernization Act (MMA) will allow for better tracking of content use and who created it, better compensations for the artist and producer and would reduce the incidences of copyright infringement. The MMA also address the question of how artists are compensated for their work prior to 1972. The bill passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week and now must past the Senate.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, heavy metal rockers Mastadon have released seven studio albums. After receiving several Grammy nominations, the band won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2018 for “Sultan’s Curse.” Their latest album, titled Emperor Of Sand came out in 2017 and the band is currently on tour with Primus.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schultz