Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers tells MPs that streaming services should pay musicians more because profits are about to enjoy ‘explosive growth’
- Chic’s Nile Rodgers told MPs artists should be paid more by streaming platforms
- He said the absence of a touring income during Covid-19 had left him ‘shocked’
- Rodgers explained that non-disclosure agreements made auditing impossible
Chic frontman Nile Rodgers has told MPs that streaming platforms should be paying musicians more money for their work and should be audited.
He told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee today that the lack of revenue provided by streaming had become apparent to him recently due to the lack of touring income during covid-19.
Rodgers urged MPs to work to fix the inequality and ‘market failure’ of the music industry now, ahead of an ‘explosive growth’ in streaming profitability which he predicts is on the way.
He added that labels, streaming platforms and musicians should negotiate a fairer deal for artists.
Rodgers told MPs: ‘Let’s pay these people what they should have been making all along and we are going to be one big happy family.’
Chic frontman Nile Rodgers giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee today on the subject of economics of music streaming
He said the finances of streaming are shrouded in secrecy, adding: ‘We don’t even know what a stream is worth and there’s no way you could even found out what a stream is worth, and that’s not a good relationship.’
He said there needs to be greater transparency about how the system works, as non-disclosure agreements between streaming platforms and artists prevent a standard pay-per-stream from being reached.
Explaining the current situation to MPs, Rodgers said that like many artists he has taken a look at his finances during covid, in the absence of a touring income.
He told MPs: ‘Covid has given me a real opportunity to drill down on my numbers, and I am completely shocked.
‘I never thought about it that much because my touring revenue has been so substantial I can support my entire organisation.
Nile Rodgers & CHIC perform at the Prince’s Trust Invest in Futures Gala in London Feb 13 2020
‘When we were on tour with Cher and we were going into lockdown I gave all my band members and all my crew a big advance, I had no idea what was going to happen.
‘And only a few weeks ago I did the same thing. But now that streaming has become the default way to distribute the product, it is the perfect time to fix this stuff. ‘
Hit songwriter Fiona Bevan, who wrote One Direction’s international hit Little Things alongside Ed Sheeran, also acted as a witness during the committee.
She told MPs: ‘I would have to agree that a lack of transparency is a really really big problem.’
Addressing the ‘archaic’ profit sharing system Bevan said: ‘[In the past] the labels had huge physical overheads to produce vinyl and CDs to store them and and ship them.’
‘There’s not really an excuse for these huge behemoths companies to have 55 per cent when they don’t have these overheads anymore. That to me is at the very basis of the problem’
The well established songwriter told MPs that ‘eight out of ten songwriters earn less than £200 a year from streaming’ and said that she had only received £100 for streams of a bestselling song she had recently written.