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Give artists due credit

Give+artists+due+credit

Music consumption has evolved in the last 10 years and transitioned to mainly streaming. Cassette tapes and CDs are virtually obsolete. With this change in music comes a change in pay for musicians. The internet has made it possible to access more music at little to no cost at all. While this is great news for the consumers, it isn’t necessarily the best of news for the musicians who aren’t compensated fairly.

In order to get people to join a streaming service, they’ll usually offer a free trial period. During those free trial periods, the artists don’t get paid any of the royalties for their music. This might not seem like a big loss for the big-name artists, but it’s a huge hit for the smaller, less mainstream artists.

A lot of people don’t consider the production that goes into creating even just one song. There are multiple writers, producers, sound engineers, publishers and talent involved. So it’s not just the singers that don’t get paid; all of those involved do not get compensated for their work during those month-long trials.

Back in 2015, when Apple came out with their music streaming service, Apple Music, they offered all users a three-month free trial. This caused a lot of backlash from independent labels and some big-name artists such as Taylor Swift.

When artists’ contracts for Apple Music were given, Taylor Swift pulled all of her music off every music streaming service. She even wrote a letter to Apple expressing her discontent with the service for not paying artists for their streams during such a long period. She didn’t just advocate for the singers and big talents, but for all of the other people involved in production, who would have to go such a long period of time without pay.

Her letter of course was read by many and even convinced Apple Music to compensate the artists during the free trial period and give artists 70 percent of the revenue for music streamed after the free trial period.  After doing so, Taylor streamed her music exclusively on Apple Music.

A few weeks ago, Taylor finally returned to all other streaming services. This was due to her success in selling 10 million copies of “1989” and over 100 million songs.

When she left Spotify, Swift said, “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music.” Her music is back on Spotify despite the low amount of revenue that artists receive.

As consumers, we never stop to think about why we pay for music. Instead of simply downloading free music, why don’t we at least set aside money to buy CDs or vinyls to preserve the art? Big-name artists probably don’t need the money, but one should consider the lesser known artists, who have barely made it onto Spotify and are struggling to make ends meet as they record in their tiny apartments. Just because music is not longer consumed through physical albums doesn’t mean that artists should miss out on the pay.

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About the Contributor
Leslie Sarinana
Leslie Sarinana, Copy Editor
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Give artists due credit