Telephone On-Hold audio blog
Nowadays, we are listening to more music than ever before. Last year music consumption went up 20% with 80% on streaming services. However, musicians and songwriters are not seeing any financial improvements. An artist would currently receive roughly £0.80 per every 1,000 streams, receiving around 20% of the streaming value (in contrast to traditional 80/20 record deal).
The music industry business model used to rely on live concerts and touring as a promotional tool. However, nowadays the main promotional tool is streaming leaving musicians to rely highly on money made on the road.
What is the problem then? During the last 12 months live performances have been non-existent due to COVID-19 restrictions. Thus, how are musicians meant to earn a living now? Most of them are barely making a minimum wage out of streaming revenues.
Why is this happening? Even though musicians are usually the ones creating and composing the music pieces they are not the ones to record them. Record labels are the ones conducting that function and thus, they are technically the rightful copyright holders under UK intellectual property law.
The #BrokenRecord campaign is not a boycott towards streaming platforms such as Amazon Music, Spotify or Apple Music (even if they are an important part of the conversation) but rather a “political lobbying” initiative calling upon UK government regulation and a deep change on the music industry.
This campaign initiated by Tom Gray, of the band Gomez, is pushing in two directions. On the one hand, it is putting pressure on the music industry to change itself. On the other hand, it is pushing to change British law in terms of copyright laws and music industry regulation.
What alternative model is proposed? A user-centric model where user’s subscription payments are distributed among the bands they regularly listen to. This solution would redistribute some of the wealth from top to lower-tier artist.
Last Sunday 24th of May the Broken Record Festival took place. Tim’s Twitter Listening Party Festival is allied to the #BrokenRecord campaign to draw more attention to it and calls for changes to the music streaming ecosystem in order to help artists and songwriters.
The cultural cannibalisation by streaming services is creating a dangerous unhealthy economics in the industry. That is why Gray started this campaign as a pressure group rather than a protest movement.