Funding music: a new path away from incoherence and lack of transparency

Musicians but international rock-stars make very little income. If we admit the fact that they actually should be financially rewarded for their music, then what’s not working in the current system? An overview of the ‘backstage’ of the music industry reveals that there is a big incoherence and a lack of transparency, that we would like to point out.


* source ADAMI – 2017

Nowadays artists pay to get distributed

Why is that so incoherent?

A step back is enough to realise that if artists pay to get distributed, and listeners pay to listen, then it’s the middle link that captures all the value.

What’s interesting here is that in fact  the so called middle link covers 2 actors: the distributor (Sony ou Universal), and the distribution company (Spotify or Deezer). And the system is so twisted that distribution companies also pay a lot to the distributors, making them losing lots of money too! But we’ll not start crying for them either; they’re all valued at billions euros anyways.

But as we can see it’s not a circle where everyone ‘gets’ something. It’s a ‘double one-way system’ toward distributors. And that does not work.

But more profoundly, does a chef pay to cook you food? Or a captain to pilot an aircraft? No! Of course not. So why should it be the case in music?

The chef or the pilot get a chunk of what’s earned by selling the product or service (a nice meal, a flight…). And it used to be like that in music too. It’s just changed in the late 90’s, and that change has been amplified with the digital revolution, and it gradually got commonly accepted by everyone.


Pitch black negotiations between distributing companies and distributors

As a listener, when paying a subscription to a music service, I’m assuming that the distributor and the label get a fraction of the money, but that most of it go to the musicians.

How naive was I.

Reality is quite different.

As explained earlier, my money goes from my hand to the distribution company, then to the distributor, then to the label and then eventually to the musician. But what’s being negotiated between the distribution company, the distributor and the label is pitch black. It quite easy to understand why. How quirky the system is, it makes both distributors and distribution companies wealthy. Job’s done. It is easy then for a distributor to say that it ‘gives back 100% of revenues’ to the labels or the independent artists. But has anybody ever asked….100% from ‘what revenues’?! Shame; the answer it quite interesting. Simply from the revenues negotiated between the distributor and the distribution company.


Being critical is easy.

We know.

And we wouldn’t start should we not have something else to offer.

It’s a system where artists don’t pay to get distributed, where the distribution company shunt aside the distributor to go directly to the artist or its label, and where in a full transparent circle everyone plays its role with the musician in the centre.

And that system’s called Bustle Music !


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