Nile Rodgers Says David Bowie Would Be Ignored by Labels Today
David Bowie’s former collaborator Nile Rodgers believes that the rock legend would have been cast aside in the modern music industry.
Rodgers – who has also enjoyed great success as a record producer and co-founder of the band Chic – recently spoke in front of the U.K.’s House of Commons select committee investigating the music streaming economy. Though he described streaming as “amazing” given its ability to spread music to listeners around the world, he cautioned that inadequate artist payments “has changed things considerably – and not for the better.”
“I’m 71 years old, I’ve been doing this for 50 years of my life,” Rodgers noted. “In 50 years, you would have thought with the advent of all the new technologies, people like me would have a much better life, things would be easier, we’d all profit together, and that’s not the case. There’s something dreadfully wrong with that.”
Why Nile Rodgers Believes David Bowie Would Fail in Today's Industry
Rodgers went on to explain how the streaming industry’s business practices impact music beyond dollars and cents. Record labels, he claimed, are less likely to nurture artists these days because they’re more focussed on finding quick viral hits.
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Bowie, Rodgers pointed out, struggled commercially outside of the U.K. in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He came roaring back with 1983’s Let’s Dance, which Rodgers co-produced.
“[The label] gave him all that time to try and make a hit, he called me up and we made [Let’s Dance],” Rodgers recalled. “They took on this financial responsibility and they would carry the artists they believed in that at some point in time would finally break. Those days are truly over.”
Top 40 Albums of 1983
Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci
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