Snoop Dogg is fed up with the current state of the music industry. During a candid sit down with former Apple Music Creative Director Larry Jackson, the 51-year-old hip-hop veteran slammed the streaming industry, which has become a crucial part of how many artists are paid by digital music sites like Spotify and Apple.
Due to the complex structure of streaming, the “Doggyland” rapper argued that many artists in today’s field are having a hard time making a living off of digital music sales.
“Streaming got to get their s*** together ’cause I don’t understand how you get paid off of that s***,” Snoop Dogg said during an interview with Jackson at the Milken Institute Global Conference.
“Can someone explain to me how you can get a billion streams and not get a million dollars? That s*** don’t make sense to me.”
After an applause and a few laughs from the audience, the “Beautiful” hitmaker continued to slam the unfair practices of streaming. “I don’t know who the f*** running the streaming industry — if you’re in here or not — but n—-, you gotta give us some information on how the f*** to track this money down. Becuase the shit doesn’t add up. That’s the gripe with a lot of us artists that do major numbers with streams, that it doesn’t add up to the money.”
To break it down for the audience, Snoop Dogg recalled the early days of his success as a rapper in the ’90s. The hip-hop star told Jackson that his physical records would sell millions of copies and that he would retrieve a clear percentage of the earnings compensatory to sales earned. But with streaming, the Grammy Award-winner argued that it was difficult to tell how artists should be paid.
“So, if I sell how many streams, how much money do I get? It’s not working for the artists right now,” Snoop said. “I just want to speak to that in the music industry. That’s f**** up and we need to find a way to figure that out,” he added to Jackson. The father and famous toker also compared the disastrous streaming debacle to the writer’s strike currently going on in Hollywood. “The writers are striking because streaming. They can’t get paid!” he noted.
The problem with streaming.
AUSA Todayreport from 2020 found that artists earn as little as $0.0033 per stream on certain platforms. Many services don’t pay per stream, but rather through a system based on “stream share.” For artists distributing their music on Spotify, this payment could vary depending on how music is streamed or agreements with licensors, according to the company’s website.
A study by The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers found that artists were paid an average of just over half a cent per stream in 2018 and under a third of a cent in 2020. The average artist’s pay rate declined 43 percent over two years. Snoop is right. How could anyone maintain a living with that chump change?
After the clip went viral, many Twitter users echoed similar sentiments about the injustice of streaming.
“Hundreds of millions of streams and the payout be like $47.18 for it,” one Twitter user wrote. “These artists need to go on strike too smh.”
Another fan penned, “In time, it will be revealed that streaming was the biggest scam/scheme in creator history. Who audits the streams? Is 1 billion streams really 1 billion and not 10 billion? Wake up folks!”
A third user suggested that the industry go back to “selling physical copies” of CDs and records.
“Make these music streaming services start losing artists, listeners, and money. That’s the only way I can see anything changing for any artist out there trying to get their money up,” they added.