Last week, at SXSW, Spotify board member Sean Parker flatly admitted that many major label artists aren’t getting paid, based on legacy contracts and opaque accounting.
Which means that a potentially substantial chunk of Spotify’s payments to major labels are not being distributed to the artist. “There are a lot of artists whose contracts are written in such a manner that they aren’t getting paid for what’s happening on streaming services,” Parker said, while pointing to a near-certain standoff between rights owners and their labels. “So there’s blood in the water. There’s a war coming, and they’re going to have to deal with it. But Spotify has to remain neutral; the biggest contribution we can make is transparency.”
In response to these types of accusations, major labels typically remain quiet. Except in this case, EMI has chosen to respond. In an interview with digital media attorney Roman Reyhani, EMI Group executive vice president Barak Moffitt seemed to suggest that Parker simply had his facts wrong.
Question: “What do you think of Sean Parker’s recent statement at SXSW that there’s ‘blood in the water’ and that there’s a war coming between the labels, publishing companies, and the artists over subscription based revenue?”
Moffitt: “I don’t agree with that because at EMI our role is to connect our artists with successful outcomes. That’s why we exist.”
“So we start with what’s best for the artist. Our view is when you do the right thing – combined with rigor, passion, integrity and discipline – good results will follow. We don’t see ourselves as having an adversarial relationship to our artists at all. We’re here because of the music they make. And we’re here to help establish and deepen the connection between the artist and their fan. That’s our job, that’s our role and it’s central to why we’re here.”
The complete interview with Moffitt is here.