Revenue made by the music industry has peaked for the first time in 12 years, but apparently, artists aren’t getting shown any love.
According to Business Insider, the music industry generated $43 billion in revenue in 2017, but artists themselves only took home about 12 percent of that. The $43 billion marks a revenue peak last recorded in 2006—and yet, little has changed in the way the wealth is distributed since then.
An Aug. 6 study cited by the publication shows that the increase in revenue is largely due to the fact that music ads, music publishing and licensing, live music and subscription streaming are at all-time highs. However, artists lose a large chunk of change because it’s expensive to keep up with the costs of radio and satellite distributors, as well as streaming platforms.
In fact, the study concluded that artists were getting the most of their 12 percent revenue intake from live performances.
Artists like Chance The Rapper have previously spoken out about the pitfalls of getting involved with major labels, and the confusion surrounding the weight of streaming songs and projects for RIAA certification and Grammy nominations.
Chance himself made history in being the first artist to earn a Grammy for a streaming-only project after campaigning to get the Grammys to recognize free music—like on streaming services like SoundCloud.
“I don’t agree with the way labels are set up. I don’t agree that anybody should sign 360 deals or sign away their publishing or take most of the infrastructure that’s included in a formal deal,” he said in a 2016 interview.
Researchers in this new study provided a few alternatives to rectify this. They believe one of the ways to rectify the polarization in industry/artist wealth is for “existing web-based distribution firms could organically morph into music labels (by targeting younger, less established artists).” Essentially, they suggest that platforms like Apple or Spotify could become their own labels.
In light of the new study, some artists like Meek Mill and Lupe Fiasco have voiced their responses. Peep their posts below.