Jimmy Page Demands That Streaming Music Services Pay Artists Fairly

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Jimmy Page. Photo Credit: Simon Fernandez

Led Zeppelin founder and guitarist Jimmy Page has called on streaming services to “make fair payments to all musicians.”

The 76-year-old Heston native voiced his opinion on streaming royalties in an Instagram post. Jimmy Page says he felt compelled to pen the note after viewing the comments that singer-songwriter Nadine Shah, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey offered when speaking before the Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on November 24th.

During the nearly three-hour-long session, which is part of the DCMS Committee’s much-publicized investigation into streaming royalties, Nadine Shah signaled that she struggles to pay her rent despite having more than 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify (and a similarly strong following on other platforms). Subsequently, DCMS Committee Chair and Solihull MP Julian Knight said he’d learned that some would-be witnesses were “reluctant” to address lawmakers “because they fear action may be taken against them if they speak in public.”

“I fully appreciate the dilemma surrounding streaming royalties that should be rightfully paid to all musicians and writers who made the music,” Page wrote.

“The sooner the streaming companies can make fair payments to all musicians whose music is played on or viewed via the internet, and to pay fair royalties to those who give us great pleasure from those who are exploiting it, the better.”

A recent survey from The Ivors Academy and The Musicians’ Union, both of which are based out of the UK, determined that 82% of artists took home less than £200 (about $266.69) per year in 2019. These stats – as well as the fact that 92 percent of respondents said that just five percent of their 2019 income was attributable to streaming – are worth considering in the broader context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compounding these existing fiscal realities, a different study yet estimated earlier this month that the novel coronavirus and its associated lockdown measures have brought about a 47 percent decline in the number of young musicians touring Europe. Given this unprecedented disruption to the live event sphere (as well as the surprising per-stream royalties paid by Spotify and other streaming services), approximately 33 percent of British musicians are considering quitting the music industry, according to a separate analysis.

Here’s Jimmy Page’s full statement on streaming royalties:

“Having recently viewed the Select Committee for Music Streaming on 24 November 2020 I feel compelled to write this letter.

I fully appreciate the dilemma surrounding streaming royalties that should be rightfully paid to all musicians and writers who made the music.

The sooner the streaming companies can make fair payments to all musicians whose music is played on or viewed via the internet, and to pay fair royalties to those who give us great pleasure from those who are exploiting it, the better.

Jimmy Page OBE”

17 Responses

    • Ruell Bankasingh

      that’s why the pay need to increase, because artist use to make a lot from a few sales, vs what they get from a lot of streams, and streams have completely wiped out the sales possibility for most artist, and lets face it, even the big artist are not seeing the pay they should be receiving and the fact is, not everyone is able to book touring gigs. the examples are of relatively successful artist that are still not making anything much. you can’t come into an industry and wipe out all other avenues by funneling every listener mainly to you and then pay less than you should. and these companies that are looking to get the pay increase, like the PRO’S, they analyze the circumstance and they know more should be paid, and they know more can be paid. they are even giving tons of money to one person, saying it will bring in more people, but more people still only benefit the one percent being pushed in listeners faces, the rest have not seen any benefits. also the musician is a famous rock music guitarist. well known in the world

  1. Johnny

    What do you do when all the music fans start stealing your product and think this is fair and reasonable? How do you compete with STOLEN?? And what is left after stolen dominates and takes over our business? Oh yes, advertising revenues! Twenty years since Napster and the value of music being forced down to ZERO through THEFT OF MUSIC, how do you continue to run a business now? Oh yes, streaming! Legalized theft of music and not paying for music but letting the BIG CORPS pay us miserable and pitiful advertising revenues which barely pay our electricity bills! And now how do we get the music fans to start paying again for music when they have had TWENTY YEARS of free (stolen) music?! Good luck building a new business Platform when you are competing with YouTube and Spotify. Be thankful that this new business model wasn’t around when the Beatles were receiving Millions to make their classic albums or the band Queen were receiving $500,000 to record the unique song “Bohemian Rhapsody”

    • Ruell Bankasingh

      the Pro’s can build one that pays fairly and will also market the support of the artist. tons of people would use it soley on the strength of it really supporting the artist and they just did a study that proves it would, most people said they would even pay more monthly, if they knew it would benefit the artist. if they want to intercept by way of being a middleman, all the artist had to make more than they would have, they have to get more benefits than when the middle man was allow to get into the industry by the governments, who we all k ow area corrupt. it’s simple, let the PRO’S that are not corrupt, analyze the numbers and charge what it is fair, like they do with radio. they should be the ones that are saying what should be paid, not the other way around, and if they can’t find it in them to do what’s right, then we create our own by way of the Pro’s and cut them out of the industry. We can’t suffer while they benefit off our own creation. we should be paid fairly, it’s not like we want all the profits, we are asking for fair pay.

  2. PJ Wassermann

    It’s not fair that a 40 seconds song gets the same (miserable) payment as a 10 minutes song. Listening time must be taken into consideration.

    • Billy

      Never has, never will be a factor. A listen over 30 second is a listen regardless of the length of time.

  3. Shina

    How much were record companies paying artists on CD sales? Basically the same as streaming services.

    It’s all about advances and recoupment.

    • Ruell Bankasingh

      a independent would be making a lot more than what streaming is proving, but also, the artist would either be paid out right to the work, or also get a percentage, that percentage is extremely higher than what streaming is paying by far, that’s why most rapper from that era made millions even if they weren’t a part of the 1 percent. independent artist would be able to make 50,000 off selling 5,000 cds a year. that’s a low amount of cds being sold to make that kind of money, vs making $277 in an entire year, because people are all streaming now instead of buying. it’s not just about label artist, because they get up front money, if they make an album, the label pays them for it, and then the percentage kicks in, the independent don’t have money upfront, they have to try to survive of sales of the cds for the year. and if they don’t make a lot of sales, they still end up with more than streaming is paying and they probably didn’t sell much, because streaming had interrupted the sales of the content. either ways streaming affected the profits artist could have gotten and now they refuse to pay fairly. it’s. not right. they should do the right thing

  4. Paul Resnikoff

    In its defense (or spin), Spotify has historically pointed to the broader earning ecosystem that an artist can take advantage of. Streaming fuels awareness, which fuels touring and other revenue generators (and it’s true, streaming and other platforms like Facebook have historically fueled live concert receipts).

    But what happens when a major block in that system is removed? When touring becomes impossible? Then you have guys like David Crosby (and perhaps Dylan too) forced to sell of their crown jewels to survive.

  5. mjn

    >Streaming fuels awareness<

    Oh please. That sounds like the old excuse of "play this gig for free because it's great exposure." Exposure still doesn't buy pay for groceries.

  6. Bunsen

    Then Jimmy should get Zep to withhold their catalog from any service until they agree to meet a certain threshold.
    Artists also need to educate consumers to switch from Spotify to better paying services.

  7. Tully

    Mr Ek knows that people are lazy and won’t change habits. It’s that easy with a society so complacent. People love to shout from the rooftops about issues, but rarely will act on them

  8. Roger Scott Craig

    I jammed with Led Zep back in the 70s and have some good stories from then. The PROS who want to make a living from music need to figure a way out to rebuild the business model with FAIR PAYMENT for their creative work. Costs to make quality music changes from one artist to another. Some guy working in his bedroom making a techno song can do this for almost nothing if he plays all the instruments himself. This differs from a PRO musician who might pay other Pro musicians to play on his album and also add an orchestra to the arrangement. Costs could be another $20,000 for this! And so maybe the artists should show their costs for providing their music so the fans can see how much of an investment of funds has been made with each song/album. Total transparency. I used many musicians from the Alan Parsons Project on my last album and they didn’t come cheap. And then this album was up on many Illegal sites the WEEK BEFORE the album was released for the fans to get for free! Not a good situation! And so some of the fans want the musicians all to work for free AND pay all the other musicians and costs as well?! The main problem is the musicians need to PAY TO BUILD a new Platform and so far I don’t see Mr. Page or Mr. McCartney or even Mr. Beiber offering to provide funds to do this! And where is our Union in this new era of streaming? Nowhere in sight ……..

  9. BAC

    Jimmy Page, who ripped off Willie Dixon’s riff on Whole Lotta Love and eventually had to give him credit in 1985. What did Robert Plant say about that? “You only get caught when you’re successful.”

    Nadine Shah only gets an average of 7000 streams a day on Spotify this past year. How much should she be earning? I know how much she is probably earning before her record company takes a share. Why doesn’t she write a hit single some day? Just because you’re a Socialist and a critic’s darling doesn’t mean you’re entitled to a London lifestyle.

    Ruell Bankasingh – tell me how much Spotify should be paying out? Where is this pay increase for artists going to come from? You haven’t thought this beyond the end of your nose. Why don’t you shut the fuck up and refrain from making retarded comments in the future? You know nothing of economics, much less how the music biz works.

  10. Blobbo

    It’s a fraught topic, because labels in the past screwed artists out of physical royalties to a similar extent as today labels suck out much of the streaming revenue.
    It is fair that the biggest money made in music is touring and licensing. However, in a fair country, which the USA is not, there would be a national audit of how much money was actually being made in the industry, and that audit would filter down through labels, streamers to musicians and writers.

    One of the huge problems is that Spotify doesn’t even pay indies per stream. It does a community slice out of the pie remaining after the big labels suck out their money. It’s a completely bs system. The major label streaming should be separate from an indie streamer which be set up entirely separately by a new company, and audiences pay another X$ per month to listen to ‘unsigned’ music.

    Selling EVERYTHING A LA CARTE to audiences was such a stupid move. People paying $20 month for all the music they want PLUS youtube having everything free is just unworkable for the creators. 40 years ago, people spent $100 on up the scale to $300 month on music if they were wealthy. $20 a month is a laughable monthly expense for 2020, but now these clowns have made it the norm, so changing it will turn people to piracy.

    Fact is, music has so little value in a world of serialized tv and video games, but music is still powerful and people need it. Musicians, writers, and lawyers MUST get together, and have more seminars about how to make this work. Any artists that want to stay on board with the old system can do so, but the others have to completely leave Spotify and Apple in the past if they won’t update. I’m still ticked that Apple went to streaming also. Spotify really shouldn’t be in business. The international court should rule they engage in unfair and monopolistic business practices. Problem is, the major labels own part of them. Musicians and bands MUST boycott them, because they really aren’t super profitable as they are.

    THe promotion argument is long abused and stale.

  11. BAC

    Blobbo – It’s not the label’s fault. Artists signed those shitty contracts in the past. They knew what they were getting into and didn’t give a fuck. Just give me my advance so I can make an album and buy some drugs and fuck some bitches.

    The USA isn’t a “fair” country? Which country is “fair”? I’d like to know why you haven’t moved there.

    You can make a lot of money as an indie on Spotify because you’re not giving up 85% or 70% or 50% or whatever to the label. Did you know that? You don’t have to sign away your percentages, your copyrights, your masters, your publishing, and a chunk of the touring and merchandising in those 360 deals.

    A la carte was a stupid move? And putting the radio playlisted song on a $18.98 list CD without making it available for purchase as a single was, I guess, “not stupid”? Wait, what caused people to run to Napster and Limewire nearly 20 years ago?

    Music does have very little value. Anybody can be a musician these days. Is there something wrong with that? The arts have become very democratized. Should we go back to the days of gatekeepers? Would you like to form a government panel that says nobody can call themselves a “musician” unless they can get a Ph.D in whatever instrument?

    The international court? What the fuck is that? Just another unaccountable body that can be easily lobbied. I guess you’re in favor of Fascism.