Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon is fed up with the way audio streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and others compensate artists, saying during an interview with music magazine NME that he’s worried the royalty structures in streaming will make it harder for new bands to find success.
The British pop music icons might have over 6.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, but they’re making less than a penny per stream of their hit songs, the same as many other chart-topping artists.
“Artists need to get paid properly for music that is streamed, that’s where the money should be coming from,” Le Bon told NME while talking about the band’s upcoming album “Future Past,” out Oct. 22.
“What do artists get? It’s like 0.2 of a penny per stream and that’s not just for artists, a percentage of that will go to the record company as well who then don’t give it to the artists, they’ll give it to the people they consider to be the most successful artists,” Le Bon added.
Though the band has sold over 100 million records worldwide, it’s becoming harder for artists like Duran Duran to make money even though they’ve been international superstars — simply because people are opting to pay the $10 monthly fee for unlimited access to an audio streaming service instead of buying albums.
“It’s so unfair and it’s so wrong – the idea that people can spend nine quid a month and listen to unlimited music worries me for a start because it devalues recorded music,” Le Bon continued. “The real practical knock-on effect is that new bands can’t make money unless they play live and during a pandemic no one has been able to do that. There’s going to be a hole in the generation.”
Le Bon is far from the only artist to lament the fee structure on music streaming services right now. In March, people protested outside Spotify offices worldwide as part of a demonstration organized by the United Musicians and Allied Workers Union, which is arguing for higher rates for artists.
NME noted that in Britain, the government is examining the possibility of a “complete reset” of payment models.
Country pop star Taylor Swift has been outspoken about this since 2014, when she published a Wall Street Journal opinion piece attempting to persuade people that “music should not be free” and pulled her album “1989” from Spotify. A former Spotify executive retaliated by arguing that Swift was, well, rich enough and “doesn’t need .00001 more a stream.”