Greg Puciato (The Black Queen, Killer be Killed, ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan) recently spoke with Kerrang! about his brand new solo album, being an independent artist, and streaming services. Puciato said the conversation around streaming needs to be a lot more nuanced than it, because things aren't black and white. Which can be hard to recognize given Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's recent comments and the justifiably negative opinions surrounding them.
"Well, I mean, [payout from streaming] not exactly peanuts," said Puciato. "It's not as black and white as people say, and I get really annoyed with the idea that Spotify and Apple are these demons luring artists into some kind of feudal system. It's not. They do pay out. The problem with Spotify and Apple is that the way they pay out is incorrect. The model they use is that everybody's money is in this pool. It's as if Justin Bieber gets a percentage of my sales. Right? But it's not actually fair.
"What should happen is when people deliberately play tracks, their money should only be given to those artists. If I do nothing but play an artist for a month, then my 10-dollar subscription money should all go to that artist. They're Congressionally mandated to raise royalty rates, and we do have to hold them accountable, especially because there's no strong unions in music. But we can't gut them, either.
"You don't want to go back to torrenting. The only reason we got on top of torrenting is that something out-convenienced it. We're not there yet with streaming royalties, but it's not peanuts, man. As someone who releases my own stuff, I tell you, it's not peanuts."
Puciato also touched on the fact that some artists getting screwed out of good streaming royalties are ones whose money is mostly going to the label.
"Labels are more to blame than ever for maintaining that conversation, because labels are putting artists in deals where they're paying them peanuts from the streaming royalties. If the money was coming straight from Spotify or Apple to the artist, they wouldn't think it was peanuts.
"If someone like Rhianna uploaded just one of her songs on her own, she could live off of that streaming money for the rest of her life. Just one. And that's at current rates.
"But the problem is that people start conversations where it's 'The Man vs. The Artist'. Tech is inherently neither a good thing nor bad thing, but it needs to be held accountable.
"It's not just that these companies are replacing downloads; they're kind of replacing radio, the way that people find out about things. It's really tricky, and it's delicate – how do you grow something, and all the artists grow their royalties, without bankrupting the company?
"If we lose one, another has a monopoly. That's the problem; a nuanced conversation is difficult to have. It's a lot easier to be like, 'Fuck Spotify! They don't pay shit!' Well, yeah, they don't pay shit compared to a CD in 1995, and they don't pay shit compared to Bandcamp, that's for sure. But it's always going to be a struggle."
Read the full interview here. You can also buy Puciato's debut solo album Child Soldier: Creator of God here.