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Nile Rodgers: “It’s not streaming services we have a problem with – it’s the labels that are perpetrating this”

Nile Rodgers
(Image credit: Debbie Hickey/Getty Images)

Nile Rodgers has said he wants major labels to be more fair and upfront with artists in regards to streaming revenue.

Speaking at a UK parliamentary inquiry on December 8, the guitarist told MPs that major labels weren't doing enough to offer artists and songwriters a fair share of streaming revenue.

“I want to know what the hell a stream is worth…” he said. ”So I could sit down with my accountant and we can go over real numbers because right now, even though I love the way Spotify gives me the stats, I don’t know what’s on the other side of that wall. I don’t have a clue.”

Streaming revenue has long been a subject of contention within the music industry, with artists often acknowledging the disparity between track plays and payouts.

Earlier this year, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek caused outrage among musicians, stating, “you can’t record every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.”

Rodgers suggested, though, that the disparity has more to do with the non-disclosure agreements between labels and streaming platforms. He said [via BBC] that some labels keep up to 82 percent of royalties received from services like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

“It’s not the streaming services that we have the problem with,” he said. “It’s the labels that are perpetrating this.”

Fiona Bevan – an English musician who co-wrote a track on Disco, a Number 1 album by Kylie Minogue – also spoke at the inquiry. She revealed she had received only £100 in streaming royalties.

“One of the stats that the [Ivors Academy] have just published, is that eight out of 10 songwriters earn less than £200 a year from streaming,” she said. “So we have a big problem here and people don’t know why they’re getting so little.”

The national inquiry on music streaming will continue into 2021.