Don’t blame streaming services for weak payouts, says Nile Rodgers: “It’s the labels that are perpetrating this”

Rodgers spoke at a UK parliamentary inquiry into the future of music streaming yesterday.

Nile Rodgers

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

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Nile Rodgers wants major labels to be fair and upfront with artists in regards to streaming revenue.

Yesterday (8 December), the veteran musician spoke at a UK parliamentary inquiry into the future of music streaming. He told MPs that major labels – such as Sony, Universal and Warner – weren’t doing enough to offer artists and songwriters with a fair share of streaming revenue.

“I want to know what the hell a stream is worth […] so I could sit down with my accountant and we can go over real numbers because right now,” Rodgers said, “even though I love the way Spotify gives me the stats, I don’t know what’s on the other side of that wall. I don’t have a clue.”

Streaming revenue has been a touchy subject within the industry; artists have often cited an unfair disparity between track plays and pay.

Rodgers suggested, however, that the disparity has to do with the NDAs between labels and streaming services. According to him [per BBC], some labels keep up to 82 per cent of royalties received from services like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

“It’s not the streaming services that we have the problem with,” Rodgers said. “It’s the labels that are perpetrating this.”

Another artist who spoke on Tuesday was songwriter Fiona Bevan, who composed and sang on Disco, a No. 1 album by Kylie Minogue. She told MPs she received only £100 in streaming royalties.

“One of the stats that the [Ivors Academy] have just published, is that eight out of 10 songwriters earn less than £200 a year from streaming,” she said. “So we have a big problem here and people don’t know why they’re getting so little.”

The national inquiry on music streaming is set to continue into 2021.

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