Music Streaming Services Must Pay Artists Fair Wages

Targets: United States Congress, President Barack Obama, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Pandora Internet Radio CEO Brian McAndrews, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman

Goal: Pay musicians fair wages when their music is streamed through music streaming apps.

The evolution of the consumer aspect of the music industry has done considerable damage to the men and women who create the music all of us love. Streaming services, while providing remarkable benefit to the consumer, has severely diminished the earning potential of musicians worldwide.

Before streaming services became the go-to method for catching new hits and classic cuts, musicians could put sweat and tears into their work and still earn a modest living utilizing a steady schedule of exhaustive touring and using download sites, like iTunes. With the advent of streaming services, like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music, financial compensation for musicians has fallen dramatically.

Unfortunately, there are many who think that music creation should be seen as a hobby, not as a vocation. The men and women of the music industry beg to differ. Being a musician is grueling work and it’s difficult for those who haven’t been a part of the industry to appreciate how grueling the work is. The view that music creation should just be a hobby is akin to a view that architecture should just be a hobby.

Musicians, like workers in any other field, should be compensated fairly for their music. Even a fee as low as 10 cents per stream would amount to $150 if a 15-track album was streamed, in full, just ten times. Furthermore, putting that kind of price point on streaming would make buying the album a more enticing prospect for the consumer, which better helps the men and women who created the music earn enough money to create more music.

Streaming services have diminished the value of music and hurt the artists who make it. They devalue an entire industry and create loopholes for tech-savvy billionaires to avoid copyright laws. In many ways, this is a form of legalized piracy.

We cannot let musicians continue to see the money produced by their work go into the pockets of tech-savvy billionaires while they continue to see less and less for their efforts.


Dear Members of the United States Congress, President Barack Obama, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Pandora Internet Radio CEO Brian McAndrews, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman,

While it’s understandable that technology and the music consumer have together evolved to create the success of music streaming services, that cultural evolution has alienated the artists who create the music millions love. A failure for the artist to make enough money to continue creating their art severely limits the artist’s ability to create more art, which ultimately removes the artist from the industry, destroying their dream and stopping any future output dead in its tracks, which deprives the artist’s fans.

Streaming services also devalue the music industry and create loopholes for tech-savvy entrepreneurs to make millions while avoiding copyright laws. This is piracy — the very reason why Napster was brought to court. It is hypocritical to have worked so hard to destroy startups like Napster, Kazaa, and Morpheus, only to let Spotify, Pandora, and Apple pick up where they left off.

We urge you all to examine the way in which music is streamed and do more to compensate the men and women who work tirelessly to create the content from which streaming services profit.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jon Åslund

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