by Stefan Wyeth | 4,8 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes

 ·  Source: Image by Sam Williams/Pixabay


In a recent interview with Music Business Worldwide, Believe (Tunecore) CEO Denis Ladegaillerie claimed that Major Labels are making moves to reduce streaming revenue for independent artists.


Conversely, Sony Music chairman, Rob Stringer, addressed the issue of the dilution in market share due to the flood of independent music uploads on platforms daily, which he referred to as “flotsam and jetsam.”

So who do you believe?

While both sides of the coin present significant warning signs to companies like Believe and Sony are these forecasts of doom relevant to artists at all? The yearly streaming revenue that the average artist generates is so insubstantial, that it really shouldn’t make much difference either way.

While the concept of prioritizing streaming revenue for major labels may be completely unethical, this is nothing new in the world of big business. When the music industry came to rely upon online services rather than physical sales, these grey areas became increasingly apparent.


Listening to music via streaming services such as Spotify, alongside vinyl listening, has gained great popularity in the last decade.

Marketing over matter?

Every transaction and subscriber matters in the online marketplace and once platforms like Spotify have cornered the market they get to make decisions that impact the rest of us for better or worse.

Chart rigging and payola schemes have been part of the music business for decades, so is it really cause for concern?

Corporate optics rely on creating narratives that support a company’s marketing strategy, therefore it seems obvious that a company like believe would slander major labels like Sony and vice versa.

Is this truly a catastrophic state of affairs or simply a branding skirmish?

I could easily compare these reports to the McDonald’s CEO stating unequivocally that “vegans suck,” but what are your views on the matter? Should we abandon streaming altogether and go back to CD?

Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Sources:
  • Listening to music via streaming services such as Spotify, alongside vinyl listening, has gained great popularity in the last decade.: Bob Malkowski/Gearnews

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12 responses to “Are major labels aiming to reduce streaming revenue for DIY artists?”

    blah says:

    Everybody that earns more than $600 on bandcamp has to pay the IRS now.
    This is such a shitty move… where is the reaction? The future for independant artists is non-US based.

      Jumadda says:

      It also means that artists can and should itemize all their expenses & equipment purchases, depreciating their values in those same taxes over time as losses, like any other business.

      Dan says:

      I’m an electrician. Used to be we could accept PayPal, Venmo or other similar apps as a form of “cash” payment, but that ended last year too. Anything over $600 in transactions has to be reported. So I don’t think the Bandcamp theory holds water here. Coming off of a worldwide pandemic, the government is trying to make money back any place it possibly can.

      I’m not saying I agree with it, I’m just saying that it doesn’t sound like a musicians-only problem.

      theidiotblah says:

      You pay taxes based on total income. Anything over $600 is reported to the IRS, it doesn’t mean you pay taxes on that, again, unless your total income is high enough. I assume someone like you doesn’t earn enough to pay any taxes, based on the ignorance in this comment.

      Dr K Scheider says:

      We have to pay tax on EUR1 of any royalty income in Germany .. so not sure about that i’m afraid.

    Zamorano says:

    The corporates are doing their natural greedy thing, using every means to push the competition out of the market. And here they don’t even need to hide since the anti-monopoly laws don’t seem to apply. It’s the same everywhere where the moneybags are free to run the show, take the basketball Euroleague as another example, they closed off the biggest part of the market and don’t care about any of the national leagues or teams.

    Sirius Lee says:

    Very supportive article. Thanks Stefan, very cool

    Real Artists says:

    Major labels have nothing to do with real art or music and should be banished from collecting royalties or any other kind of revenue. Shame on you, if you work for a major label!!!

      Life and progress continue regardless.. says:

      Agree. There have always been major labels, such as EMI in the 60s, but they responded better to new ideas in the past. Would the Beatles White Album even get a look-in were it recorded by someone in 2022? I doubt it. They
      argued in the 80s that ‘home taping was killing music’, but today the lack or originality, distinctness and popular gravitas is turning people away. Probably most of the people reading this make their own stuff, and probably avoid much of the mainstream releases as they’re little more than ‘a cash cow’ in most cases. You’re right, the big money in music today tries to profit from past musical paradigms and cliches, but has little new to offer than we can’t make ourselves (without payment required)

    Dr K Schneider says:

    Great article ! I don’t usually write comments but I find it incredible that the Sony guy could call independent releases ‘jetsam’ considering the amount of complete musical horse poo Sony and others put us through for decades trying to sell music to the lowest demoninator in desperate attempts to make cash without any creative standards at all. They have no right to take the quality high ground here.

    At least now we don’t have to wait for some clueless A&R guy to give the permission to release original music and I believe the bar has actually been raised as these idiots have gradually lost control. If they had embraced the download revolution at the start they might still be in business. But they probably would have dropped another ball at some stage.

    Going back to CD might mean more income for artists but it just means the same old injustice in the form of Major labels and distribution getting their dirty hands on money they don’t deserve. But hang on isn’t that what spotify are doing already ? I need a beer ….

    Marc says:

    It must be down to the fact that the overheads of storage of so much new music is eating into their profits. I don’t agree calling it Flotsam and Jetsam but no doubt they have produced stats that shows much of the music doesn’t get listened to so they don’t make anything and costs them money to be on the platform. I think it’s meant to act as a deterrent to see if someone comes up with an alternative that takes unprofitable music away from their platforms. Next step will probably be a massive purge of non streamed music “we are writing to you as there has been less than X streams on this track in the last two years”. From there they will start charging hosting fees as well similar to how vinyl and CD distribution warehouses charge for palette space and eventually return the product if it isn’t shifting.

    Yawn on with the majors..... says:

    Does it surprise you? Western society generally divides rich from poor further each year. Music is no different. And the money interests make the mainstream music duller too. There is a non-commercial scene but it’s not about making money, more about interesting music. But paid musicians aren’t going to make a living from a small non-commercial scene. Over time, however, people will get bored to death of commercial music, and they’ll ditch it for something more resonant. At that point, these big money interests in music won’t have anything more interesting to offer, it’ll all be on the outside.

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