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Nikki Sixx: Recording Artists Have Bigger Problems Than Spotify

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Low streaming royalties have been in the news a lot lately, with Taylor Swift sparking a fresh wave of debate after pulling her catalog from Spotify in a dispute over fair payment for artists. As far as Nikki Sixx is concerned, however, that’s only one small part of a much larger problem.

“A lot of artists are talking about Spotify right now, and some might say it’s because they have new albums out,” wrote Sixx in a recently published Facebook post. “It could also be considered a good marketing tool, because, to be honest with you, it gets picked up a lot in the press. Just to be clear, I too have a new album out and a new video for Sixx:A.M.

Adding that “any smart artist should know how to use the Internet,” Sixx continued, “That being said, the pink elephant in the room is that YouTube is playing all of their music and they aren’t getting paid for it. They are making even less money from YouTube than Spotify, so let’s not just target Spotify here.”

For that matter, argued Sixx, before everyone goes overboard trying to fix the problems with new media, they should take care not to forget that the old way of business had plenty of issues of its own — many of which are still hurting artists.

“A big unaddressed issue (and more important, in my opinion) is that artists aren’t getting paid because of a term called ‘breakage,'” he wrote. “That’s where the record companies have equity or take advances from the different streaming companies and never recoup them … These artists should really be talking about that. But I think they may not know, or are afraid that their labels (or distribution companies) won’t promote them if the tell that ‘dirty little secret.'”

Shady practices hurt veterans like Sixx, but they can inflict even deeper damage on younger artists’ careers. “What are we doing to help new artists? We were all new artists once too,” he pointed out. “We’ve been around long enough that we should be addressing these issues to help new artists; exposing the things that are more than just roadblocks, the things that are actually sinkholes.”

Adding that he hopes the press starts focusing on the broader issues facing musicians instead of zeroing in on streaming payouts, Sixx concluded, “We have the power as the artists to raise awareness and change the future of the music business. Let’s use our brains to not only promote our music, but to address the pink elephant in the room.”

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