The Grammys just snuck in an anti-streaming music message into Monday’s live telecast.
While it was hard to miss, the segment was sandwiched awkwardly between a piano performance by this year’s youngest Grammy nominee, 12-year-old Joey Alexander, and the annual in memoriam segment — both clearly meant to tug at our heartstrings.
“So, what does hearing your favourite song mean to you?” asked Neil Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which awards the Grammys.
He then explained that when people use streaming-music services, the artists and others behind those songs earn “a small fraction of a penny” per song.
“Isn’t a song worth more than a penny?” he asked, as the audience cheered. “You bet. Listen, we all love the convenience and we support technologies like streaming that connects us to that music. But we also have to make sure the creators and artists — like Joey over there — grow up in a world where music is a viable career.”
After Portnow’s statements, rapper Common added, “My comrades of the Recording Academy would like to thank the fans who support our work by going to a concert, subscribing to a music service, collecting vinyl, or speaking out for artists’ rights.”
Streaming-music services, like Spotify and Apple Music, have been rubbing artists the wrong way over the past couple years as they grow. Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Prince, and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke have all publicly expressed their dissatisfaction with revenue models for artists on streaming services.
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