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BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch Speaks In Defense of Artist Rights

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch has taken to the pages of one of Germany’s leading broadsheet newspapers, Die Welt, to reflect on the wave of artist activism sweeping the music industry – and to lend hi

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch Speaks In Defense of Artist Rights

By External Source

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch has taken to the pages of one of Germany’s leading broadsheet newspapers, Die Welt, to reflect on the wave of artist activism sweeping the music industry – and to lend his support.


In an op-ed comment piece published on Saturday, May 15, Masuch wrote, “Never before, in my 40 years in the music industry has there been such a concentrated wave of artist disaffection.” The core answer, he said, “is to be found in the music industry itself, which has been woefully slow to modernize in the streaming age.”

What follows, in part, is taken from the op-ed he penned that can be read in full on the  BMG Global website.

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Never before, in my 40 years in the music industry has there been such a concentrated wave of artist disaffection. Which raises the question, why now? And what is to be done about it?

The catalyst is of course the pandemic. The closure of live venues has deprived many musicians of the bulk of their income. Government support has been woefully inadequate.

Anger has been exacerbated by the billions made by corporate interests even as many artists are struggling to pay their rent. Some record companies and streaming services are seeing their valuations soar to the tens of billions. None of them have yet announced they will share any of their cash windfall with the artists and songwriters who made it possible.

Artist anger is understandable, but what can be done to address it?

The core answer I believe is to be found in the music industry itself, which has been woefully slow to modernise in the streaming age.

The cliché of the all-powerful record mogul who makes or breaks careers needs to be consigned to history.

The music industry needs to accept that in this new world it is a service provider to artists. It is they who make the music, and it is they who deserve the lion’s share of the proceeds. After all, without musicians, there is no music industry. That means a fresh look at the division of revenue. For every €9.99 monthly subscription to a streaming service often only €1.60 or less may go to the people responsible for the music, the rest being soaked up by the record company, the music publisher, the streaming service and of course the Government.

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At the same time, we need to review the historic ratio which values the recording at more than three times the value of the song.

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