NIKKI SIXX: Artists Should Force Change In 'One-Sided Business Model'

November 25, 2014

MÖTLEY CRÜE and SIXX: A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx has clarified his position in the ongoing debate surrounding Taylor Swift decision to pull her music from Spotify, saying that a more important issue artist lawyers need to address is a "legal loophole" called "breakage," where record labels "get advances, which they don't recoup and hence don't pay the artist."

Earlier in the month, Swift declined to release her new album, "1989", to Spotify, which has both free and paid tiers, insisting that she wanted access to her music to be restricted to Spotify's paid version, which provides higher royalty rates. Her record label, Big Machine, opted to release the album only as MP3 download and compact disc and is limiting access to her catalog to premium streaming subscribers.

Writing on his Facebook page, Sixx added his thoughts on the controversy, saying: "I wanna break this down into simple terms for everybody since I've been getting calls from press and artists. This can be confusing and I believe clarity is important. So here it goes.

"A record label signs an artist to a recording contract to sell their music at different destinations. An example of that would be a one stop-shopping destination like iTunes where you can download music. They also license the music to streaming companies like Spotify, etc. When they do that, they get around 70% of the money. Now on downloads (just like on hard goods, i.e. CDs, etc),they pay a royalty to the artist but on streaming they don't. They use a legal loophole called 'breakage' and they get advances, which they don't recoup and hence don't pay the artist.

"This is something artist lawyers need to address. They need to be strong and protect the artist and not the labels.

"We should all get paid for our music and force an honest payment plan that will ensure new artists have a future as well as established artists who should also get paid for there whole catalog.

"Some might say the bigger artists have made enough money, but that being said, we still wrote the music, performed the music and promoted the music. But what about the new bands, singers, and songwriters? If we continue allowing this one-sided business model to continue, they really don't have a hope in hell, do they?

"I'd like ALL artists to do what their managers and lawyers for the most part haven't done and stand up and force a change…

"I still don't understand why a majority of reporters haven't investigated and report this in a robust way."

The most popular subscription service, Spotify reportedly has around 40 million users, a fourth of whom pay for monthly plans while the rest get advertising along with their music.

Spotify pays artists and labels based on the number of streams they generate. The per-stream payout for a song streamed on the service is reportedly between 0.006 cents and 0.0084 cents.

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