In the world of heavy music (and ancient mythology), what’s the one thing you don’t wanna do? Piss Off A Viking!! But Amon Amarth frontman Johan Hegg got fired up and has taken aim at Music Streaming Sites for their inability to pay musicians a better rate for their music to be played on their sites/apps.
During an interview conducted by our very own ranga viking in training, Gareth Williams, Hegg stated:
“I think one of the issues with streaming today is that the companies who operate to people, unfortunately are not paying the bands [and] the artists nearly enough. Frankly, that’s the way it is. But the problem [for us] is there’s literally no real alternative because if you don’t have streaming, people will download it illegally, so then that’s going to hurt even more.”
In a report conducted last year, for example, it said “Spotify pays artists roughly $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream to the holder of music rights. And the “holder” can be split among the record label, producers, artists, and songwriters...” So the more streams you get, the more money you can earn, which is great for big-time artists like Taylor Swift for example who “earned between $280,000 and $390,000 for her song ‘Shake It Off’ which garnered 46.3 million streams…” but for smaller, upcoming bands, even scoring a million streams will only pocket you about $7,000 on Spotify and allegedly even less on other sites like Pandora which worked out to generate about $1,650 for bands who hit the million milestone.
Johan also spoke about the problems for smaller/upcoming acts who can’t afford to make a full time living from being in a band (yet) and how getting paid a higher amount from streaming sites could, in fact, help aid their careers and financial struggles:
“I think one of the dangers though if these services don’t start paying the artists a fair amount of money is that it’s going to be difficult for new artists to have the opportunity to do this full time. If you can’t make enough money from doing it, how are you going to be able to do it?”
“People sometimes forget, yes it is a passion, it’s art, but it’s also a job and artists need to pay their bills as well. So, it’s a difficult situation, but hopefully, this will change and this will happen, but it’s hard to tell…”
“If you can’t make enough money from doing it, how are you going to pay those bills?” – Johan Hegg on the struggles of creating a living out of music
It makes perfect sense though, if a label/artist allows their music to be played on these sites, surely the sites should be able to work out some deal to make it financially viable for both them and the bands/musicians they play. If that means increasing the price for the consumer a little more, surely that’s not going to be an issue? At the moment I pay $18 per month for an account split between two people. I’d be more than happy to pay upwards of $20 per month if I knew the bands I listened to were going to receive more compensation for their music to be on there.
Music Streaming sites have assisted with the decrease in illegal downloads (to an extent) but in a way, it’s still ripping off the bands and artists for money they could potentially be making to actually make a decent living out of being a musician.
Until a resolution is made, buy band merch, buy vinyl, attend shows, buy your fav bands a beer (or cider, we don’t discriminate) and let them know their hard work is going to pay off with your support.
Words by Browny @brownypaul
Amon Amarth – Berserker tracklisting
1. Fafner’s Gold
2. Crack the Sky
3. Mjölner, Hammer of Thor
4. Shield Wall
6. Raven’s Flight
8. The Berserker at Stamford Bridge
9. When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails
10. Skoll and Hati
11. Wings of Eagles
12. Into the Dark