Sixx: A.M. Issue Statement Urging Fair Artist Compensation From YouTube
In the modern age of the music industry, streaming services have become one of the primary ways listeners consume music. The result has seen artists bemoan the lack of album sales and a drastic change in the industry model has forced legacy acts to adapt while new artists persevere through rigorous touring demands and a shift in monetary compensation. The members of Sixx: A.M. have penned a lengthy statement regarding artist compensation they deem unfair through Google-owned YouTube.
In the letter, the band acknowledges their career-achievements and insist they are not in this fight for themselves, but are using their platform to initiate a better compensatory model for lesser artists. The move, as they admit, is similar to Taylor Swift calling out the lack of royalty payments when Apple Music began its launch. Sixx: A.M. also confront Google's business mottos, urging a change in the streaming landscape for YouTube to closer match its competitors when it comes to paying artists. The full statement reads:
DON’T BE EVIL, YOUTUBE
We recently completed our fourth album called Prayers For The Damned, in our singer/producer James Michael’s recording studio. We are a lucky band, grateful to have all had success prior to the creation of Sixx:A.M. Nikki came from Mötley Crüe, DJ played guitar in Guns N’ Roses for the past six years and James has had a successful career as a writer and producer. Releasing an album and being part of a tour going on sale, allows us to use the promoters marketing money to create a larger platform to get our message out, and having a record company that generates publicity gives us an opportunity to speak up about issues we think are important—specifically the crisis with the music business and YouTube.
Sixx:A.M. has always been vocal about artists’ rights. We stood with Taylor Swift when she spoke up about the absence of royalty payments to artists by Apple Music (http://bit.ly/1NKedrx). The band has also long been an advocate of new artists, and Nikki has featured them heavily on his radio show, Sixx Sense, and via his social media. We chose today to speak up about how YouTube unfairly pays artists and labels an estimated 1/6 of what it’s competitors, Spotify and Apple pay and why this must be addressed, along with a revision of the antiquated Safe Harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
YouTube’s parent corporation, Google, has the second highest market capitalization in the world and its two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth a combined $75 billion, and total 2015 revenue of Google was $75 billion. The total annual revenue of the global music business, in comparison, is less than $15 billion. We have deep respect for Google’s spirit of innovation and YouTube’s contribution to the field of technology and entertainment, in fact the data we are citing comes from Google itself, but the facts don’t lie: Our large community of hardworking artists is being exploited to make a very small percentage of people extremely rich.
This is an important issue to us. We are the lucky ones, like so many veteran artists, who came up in an era where there was much more income from record sales. Today, streaming is a fraction of income from that time. This is not about us. We are speaking up for the current and future generation of musicians who must be compensated fairly for their hard work. We would not have had Prince, Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, Ice Cube, Taylor Swift, or many other artists without a system to support and nurture them.
We support technology and its ability to bring music to more people around the globe. All we ask, is for ALL artists to receive fair pay. When Google first started, its corporate motto was 'Don’t Be Evil.' That motto has since changed to 'Do The Right Thing.' It’s time to live up to your corporate mottos, Google and YouTube, and invest in the future of music.
One way the industry has adapted to the streaming climate is by incorporating streaming numbers into certifications from the RIAA as well as Billboard 200 chart placement. Now, 1,500 plays on an accredited streaming service yields the equivalent of one album sold. The change has led to albums from Ozzy Osbourne, Halestorm, A Day to Remember, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Hawthorne Heights and Lamb of God all receiving Gold or Platinum certifications recently.
Sixx: A.M. are set to drop a double album with the first volume of Prayers for the Damned arriving on Friday, April 29. The band will hit the road the following day and a full list of tour stops can be found here.
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