Summary: The Root Of Suffering Musicians

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The Root of Suffering Musicians Music has an undeniable, mystic power that is felt everywhere. It brings people together, creates unique environments and experiences, and creates indescribable feelings. Music is everywhere. It is in advertisements, on tv shows, on social media, at sports events, in elevators, in church and so much more. Yet left and right musicians are cheated out of money. Making money as a musician has become extremely difficult due to ad-supported online streaming, corrupt record companies, and the expectancy of free music from recent generations.
The increased popularity of ad-supported music streaming and online radio, and decreased popularity of iTunes, has robbed artists of potential revenue. Spotify, one of the
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Yet, the artists listened to by this 56% accounts for a very small fraction of artists. There lies a solution: paid subscriptions to these streaming sites would naturally result in musicians making fair wages. Pandora has about 81.5 million active users, of which about only a measly 3 million of those users pay a monthly $5 fee to listen ad-free (Waniata). In addition, statistics show that if a Spotify user does not purchase the membership within the first three months of listening, they most likely never will (Lindvall). If ad-supported music continues to affect the sales of music download and record sales, musicians will continue to suffer.
Ad-supported streaming sites are not the only ones cheating musicians out of revenue. Another culprit hides in plain sight - record companies. Record companies sign contracts with bands, agreeing that if the musicians write music, the record company will provide space and funding to record that music. The company then has the connections to get that music out to the world and earn revenue from it. The deal seems fair, but is usually far from that. Bob Lefsetz, a music industry writer and analyst, said “I’ve never heard of a record label that doesn’t screw artists. That’s the business model”
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This type of contract states that the record company not only gets a large percentage of all CD’s and downloads sold, but also receives a large percentage of any other type of money the artist makes. The record company takes substantial chunks of income from live performances, merchandise, movie and television appearances, and any types of publishing, even if the label had nothing to do with it. Many smaller, independent labels will put little or no money into the recording of album nor into promoting the band, and then demand money from all sources of the musicians’ income. These deals were not always standard. The first 360 degree deal was made in 2002 with Virgin Records. Now most all record deals are 360 degree deals (Gordon). Of course, that bears the question, why have these deals become the norm?
With music streams up and iTunes album sales down (Thomson), labels can no longer depend on just album sales to make money- and neither can musicians. Therefore, the 360 degree deal was born. U2, an Irish rock band, has made $219 million dollars in their career from album sales and $522 million from from concert sales (Brisbourne). For an average, well-sold show, the band receives 70% of money made that night from merchandise sales and ticket sales. Bands and labels turned to making merchandise and touring to make money after record sales

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