Irving Azoff highlighted the gridlock on artist rights in Washington in his June 8 keynote at the annual meeting of NMPA, the music publishers trade association.
“The music industry has never been more powerful and popular and we as an industry have never done a shittier job of rallying together as one industry,” Azoff said. “We should work together to solve the root of the problem” — fair compensation.
“I had one artist who was making $450,000 a year between all of his royalties,” Azoff said. Now after the digital revolution, he is down to making “$40,000 a year.”
But he noted that digital services like Youtube, which have very nice executives working for them, say they are not making any money on their ad-supported services, Azoff noted. “How can you sit there and say we can’t afford a couple of hundred millions of dollars for your industry, when their market cap is worth a half a trillion dollars?”
Azoff noted that the industry has been operating under the consent decree since the 1941. “Anyone with sense would ask, why does the DOJ think we still need a consent decree,” he observed. “I think its deplorable.”
Finally, Azoff noted that no matter what role he played in the industry, as a manger, a promoter, a label executive, “If you do what’s right by the creator” — whether that’s the artist or songwriter — “it will eventually be right for your company as well.”
It would be nice if Google learned that lesson.