In the ongoing discussions about artists’ rights in the realm of streaming services, Nic Collins, son of legendary musician Phil Collins, recently opened up about the financial challenges musicians face in a conversation with Tom Cridland.
As a drummer who recently concluded a Spring tour with Mike + The Mechanics, Nic expressed how the landscape of the music industry has shifted, noting that artists now release albums to promote their tours rather than the other way around.
He highlighted the stark reality of making a living as an artist in today’s music climate:
“Back then, you could make money from the record sales. Now, you’re putting out a record so that people have new music to listen to so that they want to come to your show, and the shows are what you need to make money on. Even still, it’s become way harder now to make money as an artist, which is pretty sad.”
Despite the increase in exposure facilitated by music platforms, Nic acknowledged the challenges artists face in terms of income.
He pointed out that while bands gain more fans due to easy access to their music, this surge in popularity doesn’t necessarily translate to substantial earnings:
“So, when you’re able to kind of have access to things, it is nice. It’s nice as a band that more people can listen to your music. It’s just a shame that that doesn’t really translate to anything really. You have 10,000 streams, 10 million streams; you can’t just live off that. That doesn’t really mean much.”
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Nic drew attention to the stark contrast between the high number of streams and the meager income artists receive from streaming services.
Typically, platforms like Spotify retain around 70% of revenue, leaving artists with a fraction of a cent per stream:
“That’s the other thing. It’s kind of skewed the numbers. At least for us, it’s like, I realized, when we first started putting up, the numbers that you really need are pretty massive.”
He explained that while a certain number of CD sales used to generate significant revenue for artists, the streaming model has drastically changed the financial landscape:
“We’ve had numbers where it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s pretty good.’ And it’s like not really in terms of Spotify. If you were selling 30,000 CDs for 10 bucks a piece, you’re making good money by the end of it. But that doesn’t mean anything anymore.”
Nic’s comments echo the sentiments of other artists, including hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg, who has openly criticized the payment structures of streaming services:
“It’s an exciting time, but streaming got to get their st together ’cause I don’t understand how you get paid off of that st. Can someone explain to me how you can get a billion streams and not get a million dollars? That s**t don’t make sense to me.”
As the conversation around fair compensation for artists in the digital age continues, Nic Collins’ perspective sheds light on the ongoing challenges musicians face in the evolving landscape of the music industry.