Written by Ollie Francis
The world seems to be burning in an outrage against racism, police brutality, and the injustices from the government. Grammy-Award winner Raphael Saadiq took it up a notch to voice his opinion on the injustices of the music industry. In a barrage of posts via Instagram, the musician stated that different streaming services and record labels are taking advantage of the artists, producers, and songwriters music to provide streaming services while they [the artists] are receiving a meager amount whereas the bigger corporations are profiting.
“Record labels are looting. Streaming companies looting.
Streaming is the same as looting. If the deals weren’t made, deals directly with the artist, it’s looting. FACTS!!!!”
The 54-year-old Oakland native continued his sentiments, urging that his followers do their research on digital streaming providers; and how most major corporations and record labels are profiting more than the artists.
Back in 2019, DJ Jazzy Jeff sat down on an interview with Vibe Magazine, stating while DSP (digital service providers) are keeping artists relevant in an era where nobody is buying albums. However, Jeff indicated how labels, not the artists, has an increase in revenue with digital sales and streaming.
“Someone pointed out to me that I signed a record deal in the 90’s and my record deal was for albums, CDs, and cassettes. My record deal wasn’t for streaming, so who negotiated my terms for streams? Who negotiated my money for streams? Someone is making a lot, a lot, a lot of money off of streams and it’s not me.”DJ Jazzy Jeff: Vibe Magazine Interview=
Jeff also mentioned in his Vibe interview how the record labels have no qualms of the streaming culture. Stating that the labels finessed a way to profit in a silent manner. “Everybody got some form of streaming something so we are getting paid off of everybody with a phone.”
At the end of Rapheal’s venting session, he states:
“I want people to enjoy music however they receive it, but if it’s free, it should be from ME! The subscription for all streaming platform doesn’t benefit or advance any artist, producer, or songwriter. We are NO different from writers for film and television, where in today’s climate, they had to restructure and fire their agents to create better deals going forward.”Raphael Saadiq Instagram: @Raphael_Saadiq
Music colleagues such as LA Reid and Andra Day agreed with Saadiq’s sentiments, applauding his vocal ability on the injustices of the music industry.
Undoubtedly, streaming services has been a major platform for both old and new artists and a saving grace for the music industry in general. It is more accessible and convenient for many people at a fraction of the cost compared to purchasing one album. It is profitable for those artists who are currently signed to a major record label like Sony or Atlantic, but what happens to the former roster who either switched labels or became an independent artist instead? Why isn’t there a negotiation of the artists from their previous catalogs that are still streaming at profound rates?
What are your thoughts of Rapheal’s comments?