Musicians Say Streaming Doesn't Pay; Here's What Else They Should Consider:
How much is a click worth?
Not necessarily that much, as many musicians are finding out. Although music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and others are popular among music lovers, that popularity doesn’t translate into a higher balance in musicians’ bank accounts.
At least, not for every musician. The most popular artists do fine––or at least better––but the lesser-known names end up with little to show for it when people listen to their music through a streaming service.
The battle between royalty-seeking musicians and the streaming services has earned plenty of media attention lately, with the Union of Musicians & Allied Workers demanding higher payouts from Spotify. But in some ways this confrontation is just a more modern take on a situation that has vexed artists for about as long as recorded sound has been around.
Throughout the years, people in the music industry often have had to take proactive steps to ensure they are adequately paid––or paid at all––for the hard work they put into their craft.
Although musicians, songwriters and others in the business got into this line of work because they love what they do, they still need to fiercely protect what they produce and make sure they can collect their rightful royalties.
That’s the attitude that is driving the dispute with the streaming services, but it’s also a philosophy that needs to come into play long before the finished product ever works its way into a Spotify or Apple Music playlist.
So, while musicians complain about the pay from streaming services, here’s something else they should consider: Many musicians lose out completely because their credits were never properly documented to begin with. That’s why everyone who creates music should have a streamlined way to ensure that their credits are accurate and their files are safe at every stage of the creative process. They should make sure careful documentation is kept of what they write and record, and that the documentation is safely stored.
Unfortunately, people are often haphazard in the way they store recording files and credit notes. Some musicians and songwriters learn too late that their hard work went unrecognized and uncredited, and without accurate credits they may not get paid for their participation in a project.
One mistake people often make in the collecting and storing process is waiting until after the fact to compile the credits, which increases the risk that someone’s contribution will be left out.
The best way to manage the nightmare of file and credit management is to collect the information at the time you are creating, whether you are writing a song or making a recording. My company, VEVA Sound, recognized this when we established our VEVA Collect platform to help music creators do just that.
If there is a process in place to easily collect files and credits from the beginning of a project, the chances of inaccurate credits or missing files decreases drastically.
After all, it’s even tougher to earn royalties from a streaming service if you never were credited with your work to begin with.
DEBORAH FAIRCHILD, president of VEVA Sound (vevasound.com), started her career with the company as an archival engineer in 2004. In the past 16 years she has risen to lead the company in all facets of the business. She has grown VEVA into a global entity servicing major labels in North America and Europe, establishing offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London in addition to the company’s headquarters in Nashville. Fairchild has kept VEVA at the forefront of technology and continues to evolve and adapt VEVA’s services and technology to assist the needs of their extensive client base. She advises many label executives, producers, engineers and artists seeking archival and asset management solutions.