Let me be clear, I am not anti-technology, or anti-progress.
Streaming is clearly the next evolution in delivery mechanisms.
Cylinder to vinyl to 8 track to cassette to CD to MP3 to cloud/streaming.
Piracy is nothing new as well, be it bootleggers or the big threat of at home cassette recording/copying.
Except public morality was different then, and only the minority copied.
I am also not against capitalism and entrepreneurial goals.
The issue is, and will remain, at what cost?
Can an ecosystem truly be built to provide for both the corporate and creative communities?
In the evolution of delivery, only the last two created attrition.
All those prior created a surge in revenue.
A huge issue in this is transparency.
First and foremost, YouTube has been, and still is, the primary streaming site for the world.
I have been saying that for years.
It’s also clearly apparent that the labels have allowed it’s growth, not because they see it as the MTV replacement, but because they saw it as replacement income.
Adrev balanced the books against the loss of recorded music income.
There are also murky questions, and even murkier answers, around what is the real streaming royalty number, and how does that cascade down.
That seems to have developed its own dark art math formula.
I also comprehend the labels, in a fear frenzy, worrying first how to protect their own bottom line.
And in the bigger picture, just because something is legal, it does not make it moral.
The easiest way to find answers, and solutions, to all of this is simple:
Everyone needs to come clean.
We should have a very simple round table discussion between the delivery mechanisms, the content suppliers, and the content creators.
Shed the NDAs, lose the contract language.
Representatives from each major label, a few select independent representatives, publishing representatives, and representative from the creative community, encompassing artists, songwriters, and producers.
The pie chart needs to be seen in daylight, not hidden behind NDAs and legal secrecy.
This is what we pay a stream.
This is what we pay in adrev.
This is how much we pay to equity partners.
This is how it is now divided.
This is how it should be divided, moving forward.
That is the only way to potentially create an ecosystem that supports both the corporate and creative side.
If there is no solid means of income, moving forward, for the creative community, there will be no means of moving forward, period.
The corporate side needs to come to the realization that their gravy train has derailed, and they need to stop functioning under archaic math divisions.
If this is not the paramount goal, the industry will ultimately be a shadow of its former self, and from the ashes of that destruction, the indies will rise again, though with constricted ceiling limits. That’s not a bad thing, but it truly damages both sides.
I would love to mediate this event, but I am more than certain it will never happen.