The Poor Musician Gets Poorer

Does Sony or Apple give their products for free?

It was a cold dark rainy night when a fleet of tractor trailers backed up to Sony’s and Apple’s warehouse and loaded up every computer. Then they put up a big ad everywhere that read – free computers – Sony and Apple were enraged. They demanded justice. Their warehouses had been robbed of it’s entire inventory.

Once upon a time, Sony and Apple and every other company on earth that offer digital streaming thought it would be a wonderful idea to break into every musician’s warehouse, load up all their music that had costs the musicians thousands of dollars to create, then put up a big sign and gave all the musicians inventory away.

Now ask yourself – what is the difference – giving away free computers or free music?  It is still an end product that has cost money to create that was stolen.

Does Sony or Apple give their products away free?

I have been in this business for over 3 decades and thought I have seen it all but I guess not. I have been in the music business most of my life. I was with a major label in the 80’s. I still am a writing and performing musician.

I got into digital distribution at its inception well over a decade ago. At first, no one paid any attention to digital music. Everyone wanted a cd. But after a few years into digital, it became a viable source of income for Indie artists.

For years I had a good digital income along with many other artists. I know many who made a good living off their digital sales. No one ever asked my permission to allow my music to be streamed and given away; or if I wanted to be paid $.000023 cents a listen. So what gave any of the services the right to stream my or anyone else’s music? I agreed to be digitally distributed and for my music to be sold – not to be streamed for free. Harvard Law calls streaming, “piracy”, and it is just that.

How would Apple or Sony like it if someone other than them decided to give away free computers? They would scream like Banshees. It cost them money to manufacture those computers. Well it costs musician’s money to record their music. Then they try to sell us this misconception,  “Look at the exposure for your music”. The same applies to them give a few thousand computers away and “Look at the product exposure”.

I had heard rumors that the majors said that they welcomed streaming because it leveled the playing field for them. That indie artists were becoming a threat. Who gets the minute airplay royalties? Not the artists. Who’s making money? Not the artists.

What’s going to happen is no one will pay to record their music because it is just stolen from them anyhow. Then there will be no more new music,  because of greed and control. Once again, the Indie artist is squashed making the poor musician poorer.


Contributed by Stephen Wrench.  Stephen has been in the music industry over 30 years as a singer/songwriter with a major label and indie artist, a label executive, producer, manager and now owner of Musik and Film Records.

Share in
Tagged in