Earlier this week Youtube belaboredly patted themselves on the back for reportedly paying out over a billion dollars to the music industry. They were no longer nickel-and-diming artists, was the gist of the blog post written by YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl. But, experts within the music industry are disputing the easy of the video company’s claim.
In a statement, the IFPI, or the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, a global record industry trade group, called the figure into question. Here is their full account on what they call “unexplained numbers” from YouTube:
“Google has today issued more unexplained numbers on what it claims YouTube pays the music industry. The announcement gives little reason to celebrate, however. With 800 million music users worldwide, YouTube is generating revenues of just over US $1 per user for the entire year. This pales in comparison to the revenue generated by other services, ranging from Apple to Deezer to Spotify. For example, in 2015 Spotify alone paid record labels some US $2 billion, equivalent to an estimated US $18 per user. YouTube, the world’s largest on-demand music service, is not paying artists and producers anything like a fair rate for music. This highlights more than ever the need for legislative action to address the “value gap” that is denying music rights holders a fair return for their work.”
As the popularity of streaming continues to grow, the industry at large continues to grapple with how to get artists paid for the work they create. Fairly compensating artists matters immensely — the “broke artist” stereotype is not a joke — lack of resources is why scraped-together shows like the one held in the unsafe DIY Oakland space last week happen. Tragedies like that one could easily be avoided if consumers and companies invest back in the musical community.
Musicians regularly save us with their music, in my life, music has gotten me through my darkest times. It’s time for us to invest back in musicians, and hold these enormous conglomerates accountable for the way they make millions off music without giving a fair cut to creators.