Bijgewerkt: 30 jun 2020
The music industry suffers from an imbalance between value and financial support. It is time to admit the importance of art in our day to day life.
Photograph: Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
COVID-19 has its effect on all of us as it has enforced the entire world, and therefore also social interaction, to move to online platforms. Especially in the music industry, it is hard to adjust to the quarantined version of life. As artists and musicians are currently unable to perform live, they have lost their main source of income. Some artists, U2, for instance make more than 90% of their total earnings from touring according to Billboard’s annual Money Makers report in 2017.
People are currently streaming more music and watching more videos than before. However, this only covers an insignificant amount of artists’ usual revenue. The current music industry allows streaming platforms to solely pay artists what they are required to, which is simply too little. As music journalist John Harris mentions in The Guardian, the current average rate per-stream is 0.13p for YouTube and 0.26p for Spotify. BPI, the company that represents UK record labels, reminds us that:
“The central issue remains the gulf between the value of music exploited by the large user-upload video platforms and the value they return to music creators … The platforms can do better; they just need to be held accountable.”
Ironically, since lockdown we all turn to the arts. It helps us cope with isolation and provides a safe place. In quarantine, music is increasing in quantity and free accessibility. Artists are doing what they are best at: creating and exploring new possibilities. There have never been more live streams on Instagram and Facebook from famous artists and musicians than today. But how do we repay them? How do we ensure the creative sector survives isolation?
Usually, approximately 25 million people visit live concerts per annum and pay tickets for events accordingly. Funding, Governmental support and waiting for streaming services to adjust their ways is not enough to let the music industry thrive and help us through these dark times. It is important to collectively help musicians where we can. If you are financially stable, buy tickets for live streams, donate when there is a ‘pay as you please’ option or donate some money through the tip-jar buttons on Spotify. If you cannot support the independent musicians or artists you love financially, you can still help them. You can share their music on social media, create a Spotify playlist with your favourite independent artists and comment on their posts to let them know you support what they are doing. Things need to change and now is the time to initiate it. As Winston Churchill famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.