Music Industry

Published on June 10th, 2018 | by Jon Bunnies


Elon Musk and the music industry: What he got wrong

Elon “Tony Stark” Musk has an opinion on all areas of tech and culture. He has had something to say about how the music industry is structured when it comes to streaming. This is from

This week, Elon Musk weighed in on a much debated question: Are artists getting ripped off by big streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music? He says yes. Musk’s opinions are kind of inherently interesting, but this one is especially intriguing since we know that — at least at one point — . I’m here to argue that he’s wrong on this question, though. As I’ll try to show, artists’ meager pay is not a result of them being “robbed” by streaming services.

As an example, let’s look at . Grimes. Grimes is a Canadian musician with an impressive following. Her song “Kill V. Maim” has generated 21.5 million streams on Spotify since its release in November 2015. As Musk points out, Grimes and her label only got $0.00397 each time her song was streamed (the label and the artist usually share 50-50). That’s $85,000 in total for a period of almost three years. Sure, that’s not a lot of money. But is Spotify to blame for it?


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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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