Jon Siebels, guitarist for California-based rock group Eve 6, has revealed that he and his bandmates have yet to receive royalty payments for their “Inside Out” effort – even though the 1998 track has generated north of 103 million streams on Spotify.
Jon Siebels, who was one-third of the 26-year-old Eve 6’s original lineup, shed light upon the earnings specifics associated with “Inside Out” when speaking with The New York Times, as part of a piece concerning the economics of today’s streaming-driven music landscape.
This article – entitled “Musicians Say Streaming Doesn’t Pay. Can the Industry Change?” – focuses largely on recent pushback against and inquiries into the per-stream royalty rate paid by Spotify and other leading music-streaming services. In this scenario, Eve 6 isn’t suffering so much from paltry Spotify per-stream royalties alone — instead, the group remains un-recouped on their age-old major label recording contract, with streaming micro-pennies unable to push the water level into the black.
But that deadly combination is a well-worn combination: Spotify has repeatedly blamed poor artist payouts on the labels, who often keep a commanding share of artist royalties. But Spotify’s payouts are also depressingly low, resulting in a small percentage of a tiny payout for label-signed artists.
Others are also continuing to draw attention to a system that isn’t serving artists very well. To be sure, singer-songwriter Nadine Shah appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in November of 2020, the month after the bipartisan House of Commons’ select committee revealed that it would launch a comprehensive inquiry into streaming royalties.
During the remote discussion, Shah indicated that despite boasting 100,000 monthly Spotify streams, she was struggling to pay her rent. Then, lawmakers in December of last year stated that additional artists were hesitant to participate in the investigation due to the possible career repercussions involved with doing so.
Nevertheless, Led Zeppelin founder and guitarist Jimmy Page in December called on streaming services to “make fair payments to all musicians” after viewing the comments of Shah (who was joined at the hearing by Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey).
Far from slowing down, the criticism picked up steam in 2021, including when The Charlatans lead singer Tim Burgess took aim at the streaming landscape in a February guest column for The Guardian and Paul McCartney stated in March that streaming platforms pay artists “such a small percentage.”
Plus, a number of musicians protested outside Spotify offices for better royalty rates and more sustainable income; the Stockholm-based company, for its part, responded with a “Loud and Clear” report.
Also worth noting is that SoundCloud in early March revealed that it would debut “fan-powered royalties,” or direct-to-artist compensation based upon actual user engagement. More than a few streaming-royalty critics have demanded a pivot away from the pro-rata model (i.e. pooling plays and distributing payments as a portion of total streams).
Additionally, some 150 artists – including Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin, The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks – signed an open letter late last month requesting that the UK government implement far-reaching reforms in the music-streaming space.
And in terms of the initially mentioned absence of “Inside Out” streaming compensation for Eve 6, the New York Times article relayed that major-label artists’ royalty rates are increasing – though this improvement “may be cold comfort for older acts that are stuck with lower rates.
“Eve 6, the alternative-rock band whose 1998 hit ‘Inside Out’ has over 100 million streams on Spotify, is not recouped on its original contract, and so earns nothing from streams of that song, said Jon Siebels, the band’s guitarist,” the text continues.
Given the growing chorus of complaints pertaining to streaming royalties – and the approaching release of the DCMS Committee’s report – it’ll be interesting to see which developments the coming months bring. On this front, it bears mentioning in conclusion that a late-March study detailed the advantages that today’s top digital service providers offer to creators signed to major labels.