Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon Says Streaming is Killing an Entire Generation of Artists

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Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi (CC by 2.0)

Duran Duran frontman Simon LeBon says music streaming is killing a whole generation of artists.

In a new interview with NME, LeBon spoke frankly about how the streaming payment model will discourage musicians from pursuing their passion as a full-time profession. The UK Government conducted an inquiry of the streaming industry and found that a “total reset of the system is needed.”

“Artists need to get paid properly for music that is streamed – that’s where the money should be coming from,” LeBon says in the interview with NME. “What do artists get? It’s like two-tenths of a penny per stream, and that’s not just for artists. A percentage of that will go to the record company as well, who then don’t give it to the artists. They’ll give it to the people they consider to be the most successful artists.”

“It’s so unfair, and it’s so wrong – the idea that people can spend nine quid a month and listen to unlimited music worries me for a start because it devalues recorded music,” LeBon continues. “The real practical knock-on effect is that new bands can’t make money unless they play live, and during a pandemic, no one has been able to do that. There’s going to be a hole in the generation.”

Duran Duran frontman Simon LeBon isn’t the only artist echoing this sentiment that streaming is killing artists.

Elbow frontman Guy Garvey told the BBC last year that music streaming is “threatening the future of music,” echoing LeBon’s sentiment. “That sounds very dramatic, but if musicians can’t afford to pay the rent, we haven’t got tomorrow’s music in place.”

Nadine Shah also testified at the DCMS Committee, speaking on behalf of her fellow musicians. She told regulators that she was speaking out for them “because we do not want to lose favor with the streaming platforms and the major labels.”

That’s because all of the money is paid out to rights-holders, who then divvy up the pot according to percentages. The BBC reports that recording artists only receive about 13% of the revenue they generate, with labels and publishers keeping the rest. 13% of $0.003 per stream does not pay artists enough to keep making music.

Some of this waste can be attributed to archaic contracts, according to Tom Gray of the band Gomez. Major label deals still carry clauses in them to cover the physical breakage of vinyls and CDs. That means up to 10% of an artists’ royalties may be deducted – despite most music streaming these days.

15 Responses

  1. Jake

    He’s right. Streaming is so easy, without any/many barriers that the value of music is zero with many people. They take it for granted that music exists and will continue to exist, with new music coming out regularly, and have no understanding or regard for the big picture. Asshole generation

  2. Taylor Taylor-Taylor

    When was Duran Duran’s last hit? Nearly 30 years ago. Nobody gives a shit about your band anymore.

    How much did your band earn selling 45 rpm singles in the 80s? Not much. And what you did earn went up your nose.

    Streaming has been great for me. Simon Le Bon is an old fart boomer who needs to retire. Guy Garvey is fat. Nobody listens to Nadine Shah.

    • Idiot Detector

      You’re a very ill-informed, dismissive sad sack. DD has had a hit in 2015 with Paper Gods (Top 10 in the US and charted in over top 20 in over 20 countries) – hardly 30 years ago. People obviously still give a shit about this band as they sell out concerts globally still. Having sold over 100 millions albums, you’ve got zero credibility with your hate speak against a proven success in music like LeBon and DD.

      • Duran Duran Duran Very Pleasure

        The album Paper Gods debuted at #10 on the US Billboard chart in 2015, but in the 2nd week it went to #76, and in the 3rd week it fell to #194 and then disappeared. The single “Pressure Off” failed to chart.

        Duran Duran averages about 750,000 streams a day on Spotify. The band is likely grossing over $2.5 million a year in sound recording, mechanical, and publishing royalties from all streaming services worldwide. This doesn’t include syncs and other usages and deals. I don’t know what kind of contracts they’re still bound by with labels.

        The problem isn’t streaming. The problem is record label contracts.

        • Susanna

          When did you last have a top 10 album? I didn’t think so.

          One of the problems has always been record labels. They have always been a necessary evil. Streaming is also a problem…especially for unknown artists trying to break.

          • Underachievers Please Try Harder

            Susanna, I make a comfortable living solely from my music, largely from streaming but also syncs. Never had a hit album or hit single. Can you do that?

    • SF

      It doesn’t sound like streaming has been great for you. It sounds like you have no idea how much value your products are worth.

    • Mac

      You got some nerve saying that you must be jealous or have some kind of other problem

    • Non Hater

      You’re the one who doesn’t know anything here. The band has over 15 albums and other successful artists want to collaborate with them like Justin Timberlake, Graham Coxon, and Mark Ronson. I could go on but you seem clueless on music. Next time you want to bash something, at least have some of your background correct or don’t say anything and no one will figure out how dumb you are!

    • Sandy

      Your a complete knob who needs to shut up. I bet your the guy who thinks he’s too man in his group of knob end mates but everyone else thinks your a prick

  3. WRONG

    Cleaning to the old is killing new artists

    The monopolys inability to die quickly is also a problem

    • Todd

      The problem with new artists is they are incredibly thin, for the most part, relying on attitude and social media over actual talent and substance…hence, the lack of building artists for a long career (there are very few).

  4. Anonymous

    Simon,I’m a big Duran Duran fan but even if I wasn’t I agree with you.i hope things get better.You got 5 people to support and a family is expensive.

  5. Anonymous

    Duran Duran rocks old school is the best. We don’t need streaming and social media BS constantly!!!

  6. Berry Maneelow

    I wish I had been him—I would have slept with thousands of women.