It’s truly a beautiful scam.
The ultimate scheme, whereas nothing is illegal.
Once the labels found the bounty known as adrev, and the fact that it could replace lost recorded music income, they began plying their artists with it’s purported usefulness.
That’s certainly a raised eyebrow of conflict or collusion. But still not genuine illegality.
Then they remembered the stupidity of Doug Morris, his embrace and complete underestimation of the Steve Jobs “sell” and iTunes.
Light bulb time, “This time we demand equity.” And they got it. Still nothing illegal.
Then business affairs got a giant erection when they realized that not one artist contract addressed the ancillary revenue that labels received.
Not one sentence addressing adrev, equity participation, IPO profit, data mining and selling, big data, and all the rest.
Yes indeed, the new gold mine did not have to be shared with the content creators, at all.
It was the sole and exclusive ownership of the content providers.
Still nothing illegal.
The only things addressed were royalties, and the content creators got them and continue to get them, in a math formula that will be impossible to debate in court, and win.
You can’t win a lawsuit based on “It’s not fair.”
The streaming royalties are essentially based on comparative radio audience cumulative, and by doing so, and validating it, they win.
Noting illegal here either.
Then the word was put out internally, and suddenly all Internet marketing departments, publicity departments, sales departments, marketing departments, promo departments, and virtually every other relevant department, was suddenly selling the virtues, and demanding that their artists engage in Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, Rdio, everything and anything Internet based, and in particular, streaming.
Go through your label emails, you’ll find it all there.
“Make a Spotify playlist for us”, “Do a cover on YouTube”, on and on and on.
You’ll also find propaganda extolling the virtues. and the great results, of using these services.
It was mass fed, and force fed.
Though not illegal either, it certainly screams agenda.
This is the one area where culpability, even coercion, can be found, more than likely argued, and more than likely won in court.
If you can connect enough dots, maybe even collusion.
That is exactly what happen, continues to happen, and will continue to happen until this next point is challenged and reversed:
How does streaming benefit the content creators as much as it does the content providers?
It doesn’t, not by a long shot.
From a fiscal perspective, it’s a joke.
From a career trajectory perspective, same joke.
A beautiful scam indeed.
But some of us are so onto it, that it’s like seeing the sunrise and knowing it brings light.
Educate your friends. Now.